July is Idaho Beef Month!
This special designation recognizes the tremendous impact the Idaho Beef Industry has had on local communities and the economy of Idaho and is a legacy that has been carried forward by ranching families for generations. Idaho beef strengthens communities and contributes to strong bodies as well.
Did you know that beef is not only delicious, it is also a significant source of many important nutrients? Check out these fast facts to learn how beef contributes to a healthy diet.
- A 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides 10 essential nutrients in about 170 calories, including high quality protein, zinc, iron and B vitamins. No other protein source offers the same nutrient mix.
- According to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, beef contributes approximately 5 percent of total calories to Americans’ diets while contributing more than 5 percent of these essential nutrients: potassium (6.1%), phosphorus (7.3%), iron (8%), vitamin B6 (9.2%), niacin (9.9%), protein (15.2%), zinc (23.1%), and vitamin B12 (25%).
- Beef is a protein powerhouse.
- A 3-ounce serving of beef delivers 25 grams of high-quality protein, which is essential for building and maintaining strength, for both your mind and body.
- You would need to eat 3 cups, or 666 calories, of quinoa, per RACC (Reference Amount Customarily Consumed), which is 140g, to get the same amount of protein (25 grams) as in 3 oz. of cooked beef, which is about 170 calories.
- The nutrients in beef promote health throughout life.
- Protein, iron, zinc and B-vitamins in beef help ensure young children start life strong, building healthy bodies and brains.
- Protein is especially important as we age. After 50 years of age, adults are at risk for losing muscle mass, leading to falls and frailty that affect their ability to age independently.
- Many cuts of beef qualify as lean.
- Nearly 40 cuts of beef – including some of the most popular cuts such as sirloin – are lean as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), meaning they contain less than 10 grams total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per 100 grams (3½ oz), cooked, and per RACC (Reference Amount Customarily Consumed), which is 85 grams (3 oz).
- Recent research has shown that lean beef, as part of a heart-healthy diet, can support cardiovascular health.
- Beef’s high-quality protein, iron, and zinc strengthen a healthy diet and are a nutrient-rich complement to the nutrients found in produce like vegetables and fruits. An approachable way to build a healthy plate that includes beef is to first anchor your plate with protein, fill at least half of the plate with colorful vegetables and fruits and incorporate fiber-rich carbohydrates.
Healthy Beef Recipes
Throughout the month of July, celebrate Idaho’s beef industry and let your taste buds be your guide to a variety of delicious beef creations. Visit IDBeef.org for recipes and tips to make Idaho Beef Month a fabulous and flavorful celebration!
Tips for Delicious Grilled Steaks
So, what better way to celebrate Idaho Beef Month than to fire up the grill and create some summertime magic in your own back yard? Launch your BBQ adventure with a few pointers from the pros at Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. that will help you create grilled steaks that are juicy and delicious.
Select Your Cut. Beef is versatile! You won’t go wrong with all-time favorites such as T-bone, Tenderloin and Top Sirloin. Why not try taking your grilling game up a notch with a cut you might not be as familiar with, like a juicy Flat Iron or a lean, flavorful Flank Steak.
Elevate those flavors. Marinades and rubs are a great way to take beef to the next level with minimal effort. Tender beef cuts can be marinated for as little as 15 minutes and up to 2 hours. For less tender cuts, marinating for at least six hours, but not more than 24 hours, will do the trick.
For inspiration and recipes, peruse the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Flavor Boosting Rubs & Marinades collection.
Fire it Up. Make sure your grill is clean (to prevent flare-ups) and the rack is well-oiled (to prevent sticking). Medium and steady wins the race. When it comes to cooking beef, there is no need to rush the process by using any higher heat than medium. Cooking at a medium heat allows beef to achieve caramelization while still developing rich flavors and avoiding charring.
Grill to perfection. Use an ovenproof or instant-read thermometer to monitor doneness, and let it go – don’t flip the steaks too much. One flip usually does the trick; however, you should take care to avoid charring or burning and be ready to turn down the heat (or move to a cooler spot on the grill) if necessary. Keep in mind the internal temperature will continue to rise for a few minutes after coming off the grill.
Rest & Relax. It’s hard to wait but resting the meat before serving prevents all those tasty juices from draining onto your plate. For most cuts, about five minutes will do then it’s time to sit back and enjoy!
Slicing your steak? If you’re slicing the steak before serving, be sure to cut across the grain. For a drool-worthy finish to your steaks, consider topping them off with compound butter or serving with a sauce.
For more information on Idaho’s beef industry, visit IDBeef.org
By: Chef Brenda Wattles, RDN and The Idaho Bean Commission
According to the Idaho Bean Commission, the number one reason to eat Idaho’s beans is due to our rich volcanic soil and clean mountain water that produces the “highest quality, disease-free bean seed in the world.” If that isn’t reason enough, Registered Dietitian and Chef Brenda Wattles adds five more reasons to eat our local, healthy food.
Beans are Versatile
There are ten varieties of beans grown in Idaho. All of which have their own flavor profile and texture that offer numerous ways to prepare them. Beans can be served as a main course or a side dish. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, beans can be considered as a main protein entree or a side vegetable. That is versatility at its best!
Beans are Easy to Prepare
Whether you are cooking them dried or straight from the can, they are easy! Dried takes a little longer, but the process is simple (*see instructions below). Once they are cooked and ready to go, add them to soups, hummus, salads, or even smoothies! Visit the Idaho Bean Commission’s website for recipes ideas.
Beans are Inexpensive
If you are looking to save money on your grocery bill, beans are a great cost-conscious alternative! Adding them to your menu as a main dish protein can cut your budget tremendously. Chef Brenda recommends making homemade black bean burgers, hearty vegetarian chili, or topping entrée size salads with beans as your main protein source.
Beans are a Protein and a Fiber-Rich Superfood
Most Americans are getting enough protein. However, they are often deficient by about 10 grams of fiber a day. By adding one cup of cooked beans to their diet, they will be adding about 12-16 grams of fiber a day. Additionally, beans are high in antioxidants. They are also low in calories and saturated fat.
Beans are Excellent for Weight Loss
One cup of canned black beans is only 218 calories! Not only are they low in calories, they provide lots of bulk during digestion. So, they will keep you full longer! Adding beans to your diet is one of the best ways to get a variety of nutrients for such a small number of calories.
*How to Prepare Dried Beans
Rinse and drain one pound of dry beans. Discard damaged beans and any foreign material. Place in sauce pan and cover with 6 cups water. Either soak overnight or boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover, and soak for one to four hours. Discard soaking water. Replace with clean water and cook beans at a low boil for one to two hours, until beans are tender.
By: Jackie Amende, MS, RDN, LD, University of Idaho FCS Extension Educator
If you are road tripping or traveling abroad to a new and exciting place, you can still enjoy all the fun foods that come with traveling without compromising your healthful eating plan. Here are some tips for your upcoming summer vacation:
- Focus on portion sizes. You don’t have to avoid those new and exciting foods that come with traveling. Share large food portions with your travel partner or go with the small size for just yourself.
- Keep your regular meal times on vacation. It can be easy to graze on food all day while on vacation but try to stick with your usual eating pattern.
- Watch what you’re drinking. Focus on water or other unsweetened beverages. Skip the sweetened and various adult beverages which are often loaded with unnecessary calories.
- Pack non-perishable foods with you. Dried fruit, nuts, and pretzels make for relatively healthy snacks that are nutrient-rich. These non-perishable foods are perfect for a quick snack to satisfy you until your next scheduled meal time.
- If you are road tripping, pack a cooler with fresh pre-cut vegetables and fruits. Try slicing some bell peppers and cutting up some celery sticks. In addition, keep whole fruit or sliced fruit ready to go.
- Be physically active! Get outside and walk to enjoy the sites where you are vacationing. If you are on a road trip, schedule frequent stops where you can get out, stretch your legs, and take a short walk.
With these healthful eating tips, food safety is still a priority, especially if you’re road tripping. Bringing perishable foods with you like meats and cheeses may cause some unwanted foodborne illnesses if these items are not stored properly. Don’t store perishable foods unrefrigerated for longer than 2 hours. If stored in a cooler, make sure coolers are 40 degrees or cooler. In addition, don’t leave your cooler directly in the sun or in the trunk of your car on road trips. Putting the cooler in the backseat of the car will generally be cooler than the trunk. Finally, keep hand sanitizer or moist towelettes with you if you don’t have access to a restroom to wash your hands before and after eating. Now, enjoy your trip!
Want to learn more about healthy eating and/or food safety? University of Idaho Extension teaches many classes and programs in the area, like Eating Healthy on a Budget, Nutrition for Healthy Aging, Diabetes Prevention Program, Dining with Diabetes, and more. Check out the Canyon County UI Extension website at https://www.uidaho.edu/extension/county/canyon/family-consumer or call 208-459-6003 for more information.
These three simple tips for summer food safety apply all year round! However they are especially important to keep in mind during the summer months when warmer temperatures cause foodborne germs to flourish.
Use a Thermometer: A thermometer is the number one way to ensure that foods are cooked to the correct temperature to destroy germs that can cause food poisoning. The color of a food, like the inside of a hamburger, is not a reliable way to check that it has been cooked to the proper temperature.
- Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures
- Beef, Pork, Lamb, & Veal (steaks, roasts, and chops): 145 °F with a 3 minute rest time
- Ground meats: 160 °F
- Whole poultry, poultry breasts, & ground poultry: 165 °F
Keep ‘em Separated: …raw foods and cooked foods, that is! To prevent cross-contamination keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from other foods in your refrigerator. It is a best practice to keep raw foods on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator so juices do not drip on any ready-to-eat food or produce. Never reuse items that have come in contact with raw meat or poultry for cooked food. Always use clean plates and utensils when serving foods once they’re cooked.
Avoid the Danger Zone: Most bacteria grow rapidly between 40 °F and 140 °F. This temperature range is known as the “Danger Zone.” If left in the Danger Zone bacteria in food can reach dangerous levels. That is why it is important to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Never let perishable foods sit out for more than two hours. In hot weather (above 90 °F), food should NEVER sit out for more than one hour.
More information and resources about summer food safety can be found at foodsafety.gov.
- Refrigerator science experiments
- Outdated condiments
- Smelly dishcloths and dirty towels
- Dirty cutting boards
- Lack of hand and dish soap
- Smelly/dirty sponges and scrubbies
- Handprints on cupboards
- Mold in the water spigot
- Grime in the coffee pot
- Dirty faucet handles
- Dirty door handles on fridges and microwaves
- Exploded food on microwave walls
- Moldy/dirty drain catchers/plugs
- Put someone in charge of kitchen cleanup
- Create a roster of revolving care takers
- Confiscate the offensive “stuff” and throw it
- Get a dishwasher
- Call in a professional cleaner
- More ideas…
- Go to bed! Get ½ hour to an hour more sleep than you are currently getting
- Floss your teeth – daily
- Brush your teeth – twice daily, not once but twice
- Move it, move it, move it throughout the day. Stand more, walk more, fidget more. Don’t save it for the gym.
- Wear your seat belt, always.
- Make an appointment for that one preventive health check you have been avoiding
- Give up the tobacco
- Do something every day that brings you pleasure…read, laugh, sing, nap, meditate, relax
- Buy a good pair of walking shoes and use them
- Know your blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose numbers; write them down
- We are what we eat. Cut back on one of your less healthy food addictions…sweets, fats, breads…
- Sugary drinks are just plain bad. Stop it.
- Fooducate it’s like having a dietitian on speed dial; scan barcodes. FREE
- WebMD Pain Coach helps you manage your chronic pain; FREE
- MyFitnessPal is an amazing tool – I can’t believe it’s free; FREE
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC) health information at your fingertips; FREE
- American Heart Walking Paths create, find, track walking paths; FREE