So for awhile now – I have been using the University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s food and nutrition website for handouts and ideas for my cooking class at work.
But then I thought…why not use it for my blog.
According to them> June is National:
-Beef Steak Month (Did someday say steak?)
-Dairy Month (Got Milk?)
-Ice Tea Month
-Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month (Five A Day!)
-Men’s Health Month
-Turkey Lovers Month
Hey June, you’re kind of a big deal.
Then within June there are specific DAYS to celebrate!!!! Such as:
June 3: Egg Day
June 4: Cheese Day
June 7: Chocolate Ice Cream Day
June 10: Herbs and Spices Day
June 13: Kitchen Klutzes of America Day (This will require further investigation)
June 17: Eat all your Vegetables Day
June 18: Picnic Day
June 21: First Day of Summer
So in the month of June – I will be posting A LOT of recipes and ideas to help you get AT LEAST five a day (5 as in 5 servings of fruits/vegetables), and ways to celebrate these other days!!
So really quick, lets talk about Steak and Eggs.
Both of these guys get a pretty bad rap for being negative nancies to your cholesterol. And in the wrong portions – they won’t do you any favors. However, when enjoyed in moderation in the diet – they are fantastic ways to add in protein, iron & zinc (moreso steak), as well as vitamin A & choline (eggs).
Let’s chat eggs first.
I for one, love eggs. They are my go-to protein source for breakfast next to almond butter.
In one large egg you get:
Total Fat: 5 g
Saturated fat 1.5 g
Cholesterol: 185 mg
Potassium: 70 mg
Sodium: 70 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 0 g
Protein: 6 g
Eggs (as in the full egg – including the yolk) are a good way to get Vitamin A (one of the antioxidant vitamins), and choline. Choline is a water soluble essential nutrient, it plays a role in metabolic function, cognitive function, and fat metabolism. It’s a good guy to have around – especially because it is not made in your body – you need to get it from your diet. But of course you can get choline from other sources like: cauliflower, beef liver, broccoli, cod (fish), spinach, soy beans, milk, tofu, beans, and chicken.
So why do people think eggs are bad?
Because of the amount of dietary cholesterol they contain. Once upon a time it was believed that the cholesterol we ingest (dietary cholesterol) is what really impacts our heart health and cholesterol levels. Therefore – eggs became protein outlaws.
But over time – (read: decades) research has shown that your intake of fats – like saturated and trans fats, even simple & refined carbs are really what can damn your heart health and cholesterol.
Research pretty strongly indicates that eating one egg a day will not result in increased blood cholesterol levels by itself (meaning you could be eating plenty of other things that are doing that).
So ditch your egg substitute and eat that whole beautiful egg.
Hardboiled eggs are a great way to add some protein into a carb heavy breakfast or snack!
Did somebody say Steak?
So June is also National Beef Steak month, red meat is another food that gets a bad rap for being “bad” for heart health. I see so many people who are just willing to cut it out of their diet – and I’m sure some of the more pure dietitians are ok with that – but I wouldn’t be, and some of my clients aren’t either.
What many people do not realize is that in terms of both beef and pork – there are more fatty cuts, and leaner cuts.
So what do I mean when I say “lean”? Well I am referring to the USDA’s definition of lean, which is:
– A cut of beef in a 3 1/2 oz serving (~100 g) that contains less than:
*10 g total fat
*4.5 g saturated fat
*95 mg of cholesterol
Then there is also the distinction of “extra-lean” or “very-lean” which is a 3 1/2 oz cut/serving that contains less than:
*5 g total fat
*2 g saturated fat
*95 mg cholesterol
HOWEVER, it is still important to read the labels on your meat – these distinctions as lean/very lean are NOT same as grading the meat. The grading of the meat is voluntary from the manufacturers – the “grade” is making reference to the quality of the meat as a whole – using specific criteria – the grades are choice, select, and prime. Again these are not making ANY reference to the fat content.
If you have questions about lean/very lean meats ask your butcher at your grocery store – and if you’re dining out – especially at a steak restaurant your server should be able to make solid recommendations – especially if you are inquiring about a lower fat option.
Some of the very lean cuts are:
Eye of round roast steak
Sirloin tip side steak
Top & Bottom round roast & steak
Top sirloin steak
Another important thing I have learned is that some of these cuts go by different names – for instance a boneless top sirloin steak can be referred to a Strip Steak, or a New York Strip.
If you’re trying to save some cash – wait until you see a sale on these meats at the store – then pounce, and freeze what you won’t use right away. Or buy smaller pieces as you will eat them.
In terms of your animal treatment preferences (cage free, grass fed) – I have not seen any research that suggests these treatments impact the nutrient content of eggs or beef. It is merely how you feel about the matter. Does the treatment of chickens (i.e. living in a cage or free roaming) bother you? If so then maybe you will want to buy cage free eggs, if you prefer your cow ate a more “natural diet” (i.e. grass vs grain), you can opt for the grass fed. However, these will not change the nutrient content. If you are someone who is focusing on trying to maintain a “clean” lifestyle then you will likely opt for the cage free and grass fed.
Stay tuned for more recipes, and updates about health & nutrition – especially in the month of June!