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Idaho Beef Month

hamburgers, hot dogs, and vegetable kabobs on an open BBQ grill
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.


Idaho Beef Council Logo

For more information on Idaho’s beef industry, visit IDBeef.org


Matters of the Heart

two hands holding a construction paper heart

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.

Prevent diabetes.

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.

Manage 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
  • Vacuuming
  • Water aerobics
  • Softball or baseball

Examples of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity:

  • Hiking uphill
  • Running
  • Shoveling heavy snow
  • CrossFit

Remember to have a positive relationship with your heart to ensure healthy relationships with loved ones all year long!


References:
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.

Healthy Eating Basics

Personal insight from Pete Petersen, an Idaho Department of Health & Welfare employee who has maintained a 115 pound weight loss for nearly 7 years!

I was morbidly obese most of 30 years and obese most of my life.  Partly due to predisposition, I faced a number of severe health crises.  However, I lost over 115 lbs about 7 years ago, and have kept it off. 

Throughout my health journey I often heard people say, “It’s too expensive to eat healthy.” But is it?  What really constitutes eating healthy or “food security?”

According to the World Health Organization, there are now more people in the world who are malnourished due to being overweight than malnourished from being underweight.  How can that be?  If you were to eat two gallons of mac and cheese every day, and nothing else, you could be considered malnourished because you are not getting important vitamins and minerals from nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables.  Before long you might even accumulate additional medical costs or lose work time.

Food security is not about getting enough food to eat, it is about getting enough of the essential nutrients and fiber your body and mind need to function well.  It is the foundation for health. The MyPlate graphic can help you choose combinations of food to get those essential nutrients.  It’s a pretty simple visual representation of a healthy, balanced diet and it doesn’t have to be expensive.


MyPlate is a reminder to find your healthy eating style.

Let’s start simple (my economical variation): if you include at least one serving of fruit, two servings of vegetables,  two servings of whole grains, one serving of dairy (or the nutritional equivalent) and one serving of protein every day, you will be doing much better than most Americans. 

For better health results, aim to eat a variety of plants.  While I am not vegetarian, I do not eat a lot of meat.  Most of my protein comes from plant based foods.  Beans and brown rice are a complete protein when paired together.  Quinoa is a complete protein by itself.  Brown rice and old fashioned rolled oats are great sources of whole grains.  They are easy and quick to prepare, and very inexpensive, especially in bulk.

I also avoid refined or simple carbohydrates and sugars as much as possible.  They are usually more expensive, more addictive, and detrimental to both physical and mental health.  On the other hand, complex carbohydrates, like oats, sweet potatoes, and brown rice, are an essential piece of our foundation for better health.

When I lost weight, I was familiar with the starvation diets that had been around for years.  I knew that would not work for me.  While I am not at all vegan, I love a quote by one who is: “Here’s the secret to weight loss: It’s all about crowding out, not cutting out.” Kathy Freston

As a last piece of humor, I’ll share something I recently read on social media: “I want to lose weight but don’t want to get caught up in one of those “eat right and exercise” scams.”

Healthy Eating While Vacationing

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.

Care for Your Colon!

Colorectal cancer is preventable and treatable when detected early. There are certain risk factors that affect a person’s chance of getting cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors cannot be changed, such as a person’s age or family history. Other factors can be controlled to minimize a person’s risk for getting cancer. There are six factors that have been linked to colorectal cancer.

1. Eat a Healthy Diet: A diet high in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains has been linked to decreased risk of colorectal cancer. Add a variety of vegetables and fruit to your daily diet. Replace refined grain products made with white flour with whole grains like oats, spelt, and whole wheat.

2. Stay Active: Regular physical activity can significantly lower your risk of getting colorectal cancer. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. It all adds up, so it’s okay to start small by adding just a few minutes of movement at a time.

3. Watch Your Weight: Being overweight or obese increases your risk of getting colorectal cancer. Eating a balanced diet and staying physically active can help you reach or maintain a healthy weight.

4. Don’t Smoke: Smokers are more likely than non-smokers to develop and die from colorectal cancer. If you smoke and you want to quit, see the American Cancer Society’s Guide to Quitting Smoking or visit Idaho’s ProjectFilter.org.

5. Limit Alcohol: Colon cancer has been linked to heavy drinking. It is recommended to limit alcohol to no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women. A single drink amounts to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of hard liquor.

6. Get Screened: Screening tests detect cancer before symptoms develop. Colon screenings often find growths called polyps that can be removed before they turn into cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that individuals over 50 years old get screened for colorectal cancer. Depending on family history and other risk factors, there are a variety of tests that screen for colorectal cancers. Talk with your doctor to learn more.

Mom was right.

You are what you eat. That thought goes through my mind while lying in bed after a “bad eating day” when everything I ate seemed to miss the mark. The awful truth, we really are what we eat. Our Moms were right.  The bottom line is the nutritional content of what we eat determines the composition of our cell membranes, bone marrow, blood, and hormones. Oh-oh! Some of us may have Cheetos intertwined in our cell membranes…just sayin. Its scary to think our medical destiny could be determined more by our forks and our feet than by anything else! One option is “clean eating” but it requires that you train yourself to read ingredient and nutrition labels. The fewer the ingredients and the closer to “whole” a food is, the better it most likely is for your body. Check out these resources… Think about treating your body like the high-performance machine it is. Feed it the right fuel. You won’t be sorry!

Damage control?

“I love the holidays but I want to practice damage control this year…” my coworker stated as she left my office. It sounds fairly clinical, but it’s true. The magic of the Season can lead one down the path of destruction and compromise! What gets compromised? – nutrition, budget, sleep habits, exercise, YOU! I did a quick review of my last two weeks. I traded away two trips to the gym to finish holiday house decorations. I traded away at least three trips to the grocery store for after-work holiday get-togethers. Tonight I am trading sleep time and relaxation to get the holiday cards written. UGH! There’s hope – you can stop the madness. Practice damage control…
  • Make a budget for entertainment, food, and gifts
  • Schedule exercise; put it on your calendar
  • Prepare at least one healthy meal every day
  • Quit the “clean plate club”
  • Eat slowly; savor your food
  • Have a plan before you arrive at a buffet or office potluck
  • Meet with friends around events, not food
  • Let go of perfectionism!
  • Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should; guard your time
  • De-stress with three yoga tips
  • Slow down, take a breath; be in the moment, not on your way to the next moment!
Share what you do for damage control during the Holidays.

Ready for fall cleanup?

I spend lots of time in September/October getting the house ready for fall and winter. As I was struggling to clean the rain gutters this weekend, it occurred to me I should be putting equally as much time into fall cleanup and winter prep for my body…you know, a little medical self-care. At the very least, I should have a plan. Do you have a winter plan? Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Dust off your fitness club membership
  • Check your walking shoes for a good fit
  • Locate your walking hat, gloves, and flashing safety lights
  • Call your walking partner; set a date
  • Refresh your sunscreen (yes, you still need to wear it!)
  • Get your cholesterol and glucose (blood sugar) checked
  • Have your blood pressure checked
  • Write down your weight and waist measures; measure against them every 1-2 months
  • Get a flu shot!
  • Check your immunizations…shingles, tetanus, pneumonia
  • Schedule your preventive health checks: teeth cleaning, PSA, mammogram, pap smear, colonoscopy
  • Stock your pantry with high energy foods
Make your list; take good care of you!  Go into winter feeling good; you’re much more apt to have a healthy spring. What’s your plan to prepare your body for winter?

Put a little heart in your day.

There are many day-to-day things I take for granted. My heart is one of them. I met my heart last summer during an echocardiogram. I was amazed. I could see it and hear it. I watched the blood flow in and out. It was a bit like meeting a best friend, but a friend I had ignored for some time. That afternoon I took my heart to the gym. We “talked” in the car on the way over about stress and nutrition – and mostly about the “e” word – exercise. I vowed to pay more attention, and I have. So, how’s your relationship with your heart? It’s American Heart Month and a perfect time to renew that friendship. You can start by using some of the great tips on Heart Health.  Attend one of the heart health workshops this month. Get your cholesterol checked. Don’t just sit there; put a little heart in your day. February is a good month to re-kindle your friendship with your heart.

Last-minute gifts…with a healthy twist!

We’re getting down to the wire on holiday shopping. If you’re still searching for that perfect gift idea…think health! There are many, many health and wellness gifts that promote activity, good nutrition, and de-stressing. Couldn’t we all use that? There are great holiday gift ideas on the Mayo Clinic site…things I had never thought of like food games, canning starter sets, and more. Clean eating is the big buzz and there are cookbooks on Amazon that might be perfect along with lots of 100 calorie snack packs for stocking stuffers. Want to get your kids more active? Give gifts that encourage movement…balls, jump ropes, pedometers, bikes, skate boards. Create gift certificates for fun family activities. How about getting more active in the office? Resistance bands, free weights, pedometers, heart rate monitors, walking shoes, workout DVD’s…all belong in the office. De-stress gifts are everywhere – yoga mats, stress squeeze balls, massage coupons, manicures, scented oils, relaxation music. The list is endless. So put away the fudge recipe and the caramel corn bag. Let’s get back to stuffing that stocking with a new toothbrush, dental floss, and an orange. Who knew my parents were light years ahead of the game?! What healthy last-minute gifts do you have?