Grilled Vegetable Packets

Serving Size: 3/4 cup | Serves: 5

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini, small (sliced)
  • 2 yellow squash, small (sliced)
  • 4 red potatoes, small (scrubbed well and sliced)
  • 1/2 red onion (sliced)
  • 1/2 bell pepper (red or green, seeded and sliced)
  • 1/4 cup Italian salad dressing, light
  • salt and pepper (optional, to taste)

Directions:

  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Heat grill to medium heat or 350°F.
  3. Wash vegetables and slice.
  4. Toss in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss until vegetables are coated.
  5. Tear 2 large squares of aluminum foil and place half of the vegetable mixture on each piece. Place an equal piece of foil over the top of the vegetable mixture and fold bottom piece with top sheet to form a packet.
  6. Place on heated grill for 20–30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. If you don’t have a grill, bake Veggie Packets in the oven at 400°F for 20–30 minutes.
  7. Before you open the packets, poke holes in the foil with a fork. Be careful opening the foil because the steam will be very hot and could burn you!
  8. Empty vegetables onto serving plate or serve from foil packets.

Nutrition information per serving:
133 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 144mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 5g sugar, 4g protein. This recipe is courtesy of MyPlate website, USDA MyPlate Recipes, www.myplate.gov/myplate-kitchen/recipes.

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.

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

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.

Vegetable Fried Rice

Plate of fried rice and egg roll

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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 spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu

Beef Stew

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Serves: 5

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds stew meat (beef chuck)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup onion, chopped (1 medium)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped (4 large carrots)
  • 1 cup celery, chopped (2 large stalks celery)
  • 2 cups potatoes, chopped (2 medium)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions:

  1. Spray a large stockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Heat stockpot over medium high heat. Add stew meat. Sprinkle salt and ground black pepper over the meat. Cook and stir for 3 minutes.
  2. Add onion and garlic powder. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add broth, carrots, celery, potatoes, and rosemary. Cover with a lid. Cook for 45–60 minutes, or until meat is tender.
  4. Stir together water and cornstarch. Add to stew. Stir until thickened (1–2 minutes).

Nutrition information per serving:
280 calories, 6g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 85mg cholesterol, 430mg sodium, 23g total carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 5g sugar, 33g 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 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

Thai Curry Chicken

Serving Size: 1 cup chicken curry, 1/3 cup rice | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup instant brown rice
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste*
  • 1 cup light coconut milk (about 1/2 of 13.5 ounce can)
  • 1 cup chopped spinach

Directions:

  1. Cook instant brown rice according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Spray a large frying pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add chicken, onion, carrots, ground black pepper, and salt. Cook over medium high heat for 8 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low. Stir in curry paste and coconut milk. (*This dish is spicy. For less spice, use less curry paste or add a little more coconut milk.)
  5. Simmer for 5–10 minutes until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.
  6. Stir in spinach. Simmer for 3 minutes more, stirring frequently.
  7. Serve curry over brown rice.

Nutrition information per serving:

290 calories, 7g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 85mg cholesterol, 390mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 5g total sugars, 28g 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

Vegetable Soup with Kale and Lentils

Serving Size: 1 1/3 cups | Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons oil (canola or olive)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot (sliced 1/8 inch thick)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic (minced)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup dry yellow or brown lentils
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil or Italian seasoning
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) no-sodium-added diced tomatoes or 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bunch kale (about 7 ounces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, carrot, garlic. Cook 5 minutes.
  3. Add water to pot. Heat to boiling.
  4. Rinse lentils in colander with water. Add to pot, simmer 20 minutes. Do not drain.
  5. Add chicken broth, dried basil or Italian seasoning, and tomatoes. Cover and cook for 5–10 minutes.
  6. Rinse kale leaves; cut out the main stems and discard. Cut leaves into 1” pieces.
  7. Stir kale, salt, and ground black pepper into lentil mixture. Return to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, simmer for 3 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving:
200 calories, 5g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 170mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrate, 12g fiber, 4g sugar, 11g 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

Categories