Get Fired Up! Grill What’s in Season

Vegetable kabobs on grill

Warm weather is a wonderful time to fire up the grill. From asparagus to early zucchini or grilled chicken with mushrooms, onions, and peppers, using your grill to make the most of the summer crop of vegetables adds a variety of colors to summer meals! Did you know that there are several different ways to grill perfect vegetables? Check out the tips below!

  • Directly on the grill. On a gas grill, preheat the grill to medium heat, about 375°F. Marinate your veggies or season them with your favorite spices and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Put your seasoned vegetables on the grill in a single layer, placing the ones that take the longest to cook in the back of the grill. Close the lid and let the vegetables cook for ~20 minutes. After 10 minutes, open the lid and flip the vegetables until done to your liking.
  • Kabobs. A kabob is made by skewering pieces of meat and/or vegetables and then grilling them. Grilling kabobs is a great way to grill a bunch of vegetables together! Toss vegetables in desired sauce and seasonings. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before threading on the vegetables to avoid burning. Combine vegetables with similar cooking times onto skewers (peppers, onions, zucchini, tomatoes). Place skewers on the grill over medium heat. Grill for 20 minutes or until you can easily stick a fork through the vegetable.
  • Foil packets. This way of grilling requires no pots and pans to scrub! To create foil packets, place ingredients in the center of the foil and tightly seal the packet to trap the steam inside. You can serve the packets directly from the grill or stack them in the refrigerator until you are ready to use. Check out this month’s recipe!
  • Grill basket. Using this method is similar to a foil packet but easier. A grill basket is a wire container made out of large-weave mesh. You can use it to hold food while cooking on a grill. For more information, check out this Iowa State University Extension article on Grilling those summer veggies,
  • Questions about grill safety? Read Safe Summertime Grilling,

Wireless EBT Project

Iowans with limited incomes receiving SNAP have access to locally grown farm-fresh food at selected farmers markets with the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services’ Wireless EBT Project. This project provides wireless machines to farmers across the state. This allows farmers to accept SNAP EBT, MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express cards. The program is a win-win for Iowans! You can use your EBT, credit, or debit card to purchase food at the farmers markets, making it easy to access fresh local Iowa food. The project helps farmers sell their products to people that may not have been able to buy them before. For more information and to see if you qualify for SNAP, call the hotline number, 1-855-944-3663.

Check out your local farmers market to see if they participate in the Wireless EBT Project.

Plan Your Move

The health benefits of regular physical activity are well known, but many of us do not make it a part of our daily routine. Are you active for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week, or 150 minutes a week? Do you engage in muscle strengthening activity 2 days each week? If not, check out these tips:

  • Keep track! Schedule time on your calendar for at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days each week. Find activities you enjoy like taking a walk outside or going for a swim.
  • Ask for a partner to join you. Enjoy time with friends and family when you are active. Find an exercise partner to support you and hold you accountable.
  • Join a fitness class. Joining a class can help you stick with it.
  • Find activities you can do all year. Find an indoor place to walk like the grocery store or Walmart or watch an online exercise video when it isn’t nice outside.
Two people walking

Easy Roasted Veggies

Serving Size: 1 cup | Serves: 5

Roasted vegetables in a bowl


  • 5 cups of vegetables cut into uniform sized pieces (carrots, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, winter squash)
  • 1 tablespoon oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Spread vegetables evenly in a single layer on the pan.
  4. Sprinkle oil on the vegetables. Stir. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, ground black pepper, and salt. Stir.
  5. Bake for 20-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Bake until vegetables are tender.

Nutrition information per serving:
Nutrition Information per serving: 90 calories, 3 g total fat, 0 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium, 16 g total carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 2 g protein. This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit

Diet and Inflammation

Man with an upset stomach

A diet focused on eating more plant-based foods and less saturated fats will help lower chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can lead to disease. Choose anti-inflammatory foods to improve your health and well-being, lower your risk for disease, and improve your quality of life. Plant-based foods, such as berries and dark leafy vegetables, have anti-inflammatory properties. Base your diet on whole, nutrient-dense foods that contain antioxidants, and avoid highly processed products high in added sugar and fat. Your anti-inflammatory diet should provide a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat.

Foods to eat more of include the following:

  • Whole Grains: 3 servings/day; whole grains have brain healthy B vitamins and are a great source of fiber.
  • Green Leafy Veggies: 6+ servings/week; dark leafy greens are nutrient packed with antioxidants and high in vitamins A, C, and K, all of which have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Other Veggies: 1 serving+/day; other vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are cruciferous vegetables that protect against cell damage in our bodies.
  • Berries: 2+ servings/week; berries get their superpowers from their bright colors that fight inflammation and cell damage.

How to Store Wine to Get the Best of It

Contributed by Aude Watrelot, PhD

Did you know Iowa has 98 wineries? Whether you enjoy a glass of Iowa wine or that of another location, how you store and serve wine impacts the flavors and overall enjoyment. Chill sparkling wine, white wine, and a rosé wine between 50°F and 54°F before being opened. Store reds at cool/room temperature to reduce the burning sensation of alcohol that can be perceived if the wine is too warm. Storing red wines in a cold room (less than 50°F) could make it seem more bitter and acidic.

Once you have opened a bottle of wine, make sure to follow these guidelines for maintaining the quality.

  1. Remove the air from the bottle before storing by using an air pump or by replacing the air with inert gas. Too much oxygen can cause the open wine to start getting a nutty, bruised apple smell and a brown color.
  2. Refrigerate white and rosé wine and store red wine in a cool room. Sometimes refrigerated wine will have some crystals at the bottom of the bottle. These are not harmful for consumption. They’re just due to the colder temperature.
  3. Follow these storage times after opening:
    -Sparkling wine—up to three days
    -White wine or rosé wine—up to five days
    -Red wines—up to seven days
    -Fortified wines like port or sherry—up to 4 weeks

Remember, alcohol should be consumed in moderation and only by adults ages 21 years and older. Visit
Your Life Iowa,, for information, resources, and treatment for alcohol or drug use.

Resources to Help You Move More

Getting regular exercise and physical activity benefits everyone, including those with Parkinson’s disease. Being physically active can improve your mood, help you focus, reduce stress, and improve sleep. Adults need a mix of aerobic (such as walking or biking) and muscle-strengthening activity to stay healthy. Aim for at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week and muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days per week. Move Your Way®,, provides tools and resources to make your personalized activity plan.

Vegetable Fried Rice

Plate of fried rice and egg roll

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Serves: 4


  • 2 tablespoons oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 3 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 3 cups brown rice (cooked and cooled)
  • 2 cups frozen vegetables (e.g., carrots, peas, corn, mixed veggies, etc.), thawed
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray or use 1 tablespoon oil. Add eggs. Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until eggs are firm. Set eggs aside on a plate.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon oil, if needed, to the skillet. Heat over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook and stir for 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in rice, vegetables, and soy sauce. Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until heated through. Stir in eggs.

Nutrition information per serving:
350 calories, 12g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 140mg cholesterol, 380mg sodium, 49g total carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 4g sugar, 12g protein. This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit

April Is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month

Hands of older person

Parkinson’s disease affects an estimated 1 million Americans. This number is growing daily. Iowa is ranked 33rd for Parkinson’s disease rates. Parkinson’s disease is a type of movement disorder. People with Parkinson’s disease may have a variety of symptoms that can make it hard to diagnose. Early signs of Parkinson’s disease could include the following:

  • Tremor or slight shaking in your finger, thumb, hand, or chin. Shaking while at rest is a common early sign of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Small Handwriting. You may notice your writing is smaller than in the past.
  • Loss of smell of certain foods.
  • Trouble sleeping or sudden movements and acting out dreams while asleep.
  • Difficulty moving or walking because of stiffness that doesn’t go away.
  • Constipation and difficulty swallowing due to how the disease affects muscles and nerves.
  • Speech changes such as a soft or low voice that is a change from your typical voice.
  • Facial masking or reduced face expression.
  • Dizziness or fainting, which can be a sign of low blood pressure and can be linked to the disease.
  • Stooping or difficulty standing up straight.

If you have two or more of the signs above you should consider making an appointment with your health care provider. Learn more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments by attending A Journey Through Parkinson’s Disease class,

National Institute on Aging,
Parkinson’s Foundation,
American Parkinson Disease Association,

Physical Activity at Your Fingertips

Physical activity apps allow people to work out at home while still following guided workouts and being motivated by a trainer or instructor. Here are some factors to consider before downloading:

  1. Credible instructors. For safety purposes and best results, choose an app with workouts that are created or led by certified fitness experts.
  2. Fitness goals. Select an app that caters to your exercise needs
  3. Budget. While some are totally free, most apps require a monthly subscription cost.
  4. Equipment needed. Most apps offer classes that require some equipment, like yoga blocks, dumbbells, or kettlebells. Look for an app with classes that are compatible with your current home gym setup.
  5. User reviews. Reading what other users think can be valuable as you decide whether a workout app will be the right fit for you.

There’s nothing wrong with trying out a few fitness apps before settling on one—the most important thing is that it helps you reach your goals safely and effectively. One such app is Spend Smart. Eat Smart., In addition to recipes, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. app has a variety of physical activity videos. There are seated and standing workouts, and minimal equipment is needed. Workouts are 20 minutes or less.

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