It’s that time of year when the zucchini starts popping up in backyard gardens. Here are 25 delicious ways to prepare this summertime staple!
- Add it to a salad
- Add it to a smoothie
- Bake it
- Eat if for dessert
- Eat it for breakfast
- Eat it raw
- Freeze it for later
- Fritter it
- Grill it
- Hasselback it
- Layer it in lasagna
- Make a pie
- Make chips
- Make ratatouille
- Make vegetarian “meat”balls
- Make zoodles
- Make zucchini bread
- Marinate it
- Mash it
- Pickle it
- Roast it
- Roll it
- Stuff it
- Turn it into oven fries
- Turn it into salsa
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: Mimi Fetzer RD, LD, with The Idaho Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke Prevention Program
February is a time for love, relationships, and matters of the heart. That includes the relationship we have with our heart health. The heart pumps blood to all parts of the body. Blood carries oxygen, nutrition, hormones, and removes waste. The best way to strengthen the relationship with our heart is to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Tips for a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle:
Reduce sodium and saturated fat intake. Instead, enjoy nutritious foods.
The heart needs a combination of nutrients to function at its best. Consuming a variety of different fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, lean protein, and low-fat dairy is the best way to get these nutrients. Too much of certain nutrients, such as sodium and saturated fat, can place stress on the heart.
Examples of high sodium and saturated fatty foods include:
- Pizza such as pepperoni with full fat cheese.
- Frozen meals.
- Processed meats such as bacon, sausage, lunch meats and hot dogs.
- Snacks such as chips, jerky and shelf-stable cakes.
Quit smoking and vaping tobacco products.
Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. It can damage the blood cells that transport essential nutrients and compromise the function and structure of the cardiovascular system.1 Medical studies suggest cigarette and e-cigarette smoking result in abnormalities of blood flow to the heart.
For those who are ready to quit, there are resources on the Project Filter Website or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Project Filter has expert quit coaches and free patches, gum or lozenges to support people on their quit journey.
Having pre-diabetes or diabetes impacts how much glucose is in the bloodstream. Over time, high blood glucose levels can damage blood vessels causing the heart to work harder to pump blood throughout the body.2
To find out if you or a loved one is at risk for prediabetes, take the Prediabetes Risk Quiz. The results can inform conversations with your healthcare provider and encourage appropriate lifestyle changes. Diabetes Prevention Programs are offered throughout the state to decrease your risk for diabetes. This program is led by trained Lifestyle Coaches who guide a group of individuals through a series of interactive sessions. Each session features different techniques to help adopt a healthy lifestyle and prevent or delay diabetes.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, talk with your healthcare provider about diabetes management and participating in a Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support Program. This program is delivered by trained healthcare professionals who can discuss how nutrition, medication, and physical activity can help manage diabetes and result in a healthy heart.
Engage in consistent physical activity.
Regular physical activity strengthens the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body. 3 Physical activity can also help to manage tobacco cravings resulting in smoking cessation and reduce blood glucose levels. Each week adults should exercise for 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) if it is moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) if it is vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activity:
- Fast paced walking
- Water aerobics
- Softball or baseball
Examples of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity:
- Hiking uphill
- Shoveling heavy snow
Remember to have a positive relationship with your heart to ensure healthy relationships with loved ones all year long!
1. Smoking and Your Heart. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/smoking-and-your-heart. Accessed January 15, 2020.
2. Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/heart-disease-stroke Accessed January 15, 2020.
3. Physical Activity and Your Heart. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/physical-activity-and-your-heart Accessed January 15, 2020.