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, blogs.extension.iastate.edu/answerline.
  • Questions about grill safety? Read Safe Summertime Grilling, blogs.extension.iastate.edu/answerline.

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.

Easy Roasted Veggies

Serving Size: 1 cup | Serves: 5

Roasted vegetables in a bowl

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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 spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

Mediterranean Tuna-Spinach Salad

Serving Size: 1 cup tuna salad, 2 cups spinach, 1 orange | Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 1-1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 5 ounce can chunk light tuna in water, drained
  • 4 Kalamata olives(pitted and chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 cups baby spinach, cleaned
  • 1 medium orange (peeled or sliced)

Directions:

  1. Whisk tahini, lemon juice, and water in a bowl.
  2. Add tuna, olives, feta, and parsley; stir to combine.
  3. Serve the tuna salad over the spinach, with the orange on the side.

Nutrition information per serving:
376 calories; 21g fat; 5.2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 46mg cholesterol, 664.8mg sodium, 26.2g carbohydrates, 5.8g dietary fiber, 14g sugar, 25.7g protein

This recipe is courtesy of EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2016.

Mobile Food Pantry

One in 14 Iowans is facing hunger. Iowa has many resources to help, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, dhs.iowa.gov/food-assistance, food banks, and food pantries—including mobile pantries!

Iowa Food Bank’s mobile pantry operates in 30 counties; many provide a drive-thru option. How does the mobile food pantry work?

  • Trucks deliver produce, meat, bread, and nonperishable items to the prearranged site.
  • Local volunteers set up a farmers market-style distribution system.
  • Food is given to people in need at the scheduled time.
  • Participants stay in the vehicle and unlock the trunk or backseat.
  • Volunteers safely place a prepackaged food box or bag in the designated area.
  • Volunteers reset the space to its original condition when the food is gone.

To see if there is a mobile food pantry near you, family, or friends who may be in need, visit Food Bank of Iowa, go.iastate.edu/RZLEVJ.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffin

Serving Size: 1 muffin | Serves: 12

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray or line it with muffin liners.
  2. Stir oats, milk, oil, and brown sugar together in a medium bowl. Let oats soak in wet ingredients for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a small bowl. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Divide the batter into the muffin tins. Bake until the muffins are golden and a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 14–16 minutes.
  6. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Nutrition information per serving:
170 calories, 8g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 200mg sodium, 23g total carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 10g sugar, 3g protein. This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

Balanced Approach Toward Health

Cutting vegetables

Have you ever started a diet? You may start off strong but before long are back to your old habits. Why does that happen? For many, the diet is often extreme or complicated. For others, we try to change too much all at once.

Ditch the diet mindset. Instead, try a balanced approach to food and eating. When we have a realistic approach, we can improve our health, supply our body the nutrients it needs, and be satisfied with what and how much we eat.

Start by adding one healthy habit at a time. A great place to begin is the MyPlate healthy eating food plan:

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables—think variety and make it colorful.
  • Make half your grains whole grains (e.g., whole wheat bread, oatmeal).
  • Choose low-fat and fat-free dairy products.
  • Vary your protein—poultry, seafood, meat, eggs, nuts, and beans.

Set realistic and achievable goals, and remember that if you slip up one day not to dwell on it; just move on with your health goals in mind.

For more information on Key Nutrients for health, download our Key Nutrients handout, store.extension.iastate.edu/Product/4184.

What Is the Keto Diet?

The Keto (Ketogenic) diet promotes weight loss by causing ketosis. Ketosis is when the body breaks down fat for energy. This happens every day, depending on what and how often we eat, but the keto diet increases ketosis frequency, which can lead to weight loss.

moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are restricted to 50 grams or less per day. For reference, a large apple has 25 grams, half a cup of beans 22 grams, and 1 cup pasta 45 grams. Those on a Keto diet are restricting grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, and yogurt.

Cutting board with vegetables

What’s the problem? First, the body needs carbohydrates for energy. Second, restricting carbohydrate intake to 50 grams or less can reduce the amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fiber from plant foods (i.e., fruits, vegetables, whole grains). It is not for people with issues with their pancreas, kidneys, liver, or thyroid.

Is it safe for someone with diabetes? That depends on the type of diabetes as well as other health conditions a person has. It is possible the Keto diet may help with weight loss and blood glucose control, but sometimes it makes diabetes worse. People with diabetes should consult their diabetes care team before making any dietary changes, including Keto.

Source: Eat Right, go.iastate.edu/LLRMCR

Autumn Soup

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Serves: 6

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 1 butternut squash (about 4 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon oil (canola, olive, vegetable)
  • 1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 apples (peeled, cored, and sliced; about 2 cups)
  • 4 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 ounces low fat cream cheese, cubed

Directions:

  1. Wash squash and pat dry with paper towel. Prick skin 6–8 times with a knife or fork. Place on a microwave safe plate and microwave for 5 minutes.
  2. Cool squash enough to touch it, then cut off top and bottom of squash. Cut off peel and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Cut squash into cubes.
  3. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add squash, apples, and broth. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover and cook for 25 minutes until squash and apples are tender.
  5. Blend soup until smooth using a blender or food processor.
  6. Return soup to saucepan and add cream cheese. Cook and stir with a whisk until cheese is smooth.

Nutrition information per serving:
210 calories, 7g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 440mg sodium, 35g total carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 12g sugar, 6g protein. This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s SpendSmart. EatSmart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

What Is a Plant-based Diet?

plant-based bowl of food

Plant-based diets are growing in popularity. Eating plant foods may protect from chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

The goal of a plant-based diet is to consume more whole plant foods—like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains—that will provide adequate nutrition overall.

Some people may choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, while others may just eat one meatless meal a week. Eating a vegetarian diet means not eating flesh foods (meat, poultry, seafood, wild game) and may or may not exclude eggs or dairy products. A vegan diet excludes all flesh foods, eggs, and dairy products and may also exclude honey.

There are many plant-based foods that make eating a plant-based diet easy. Check out this list of meat alternative products, www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/1021p42.shtml, on the market.

Be a smart shopper, though! Choose mostly whole and minimally processed food from a variety of food groups to have a well-balanced diet.

Sources:
Eat Right, www.eatrightpro.org
Eating Well, www.eatingwell.com

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