The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends choosing a variety of protein foods, which include seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products and unsalted nuts and seeds.
Dietary fats are found in protein sources of both animal and plant origin. Fatty acids in fats are categorized as saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated and fats contain a mixture of these fatty acids.
Most fats that have a high percentage of saturated fatty acids are solid at room temperature and are referred to as solid fats. Those containing more unsaturated fatty acids are usually liquid at room temperature and are referred to as oils.
Solid fats are found mostly in animal foods but can be made from vegetable oils through a process called hydrogenation. Most animal fats tend to have a higher proportion of saturated fatty acids with the major exception being seafood.
Plant foods tend to have a higher proportion of unsaturated fatty acids. A strong body of evidence indicates that a higher intake of most dietary saturated fatty acids is associated with higher levels of blood total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Higher total and LDL cholesterol levels are risk factors for heart disease.
There are many great sources of protein, and they vary considerably in fat content. This is the time of the year that many people start cooking a lot more on the grill and often choose a variety of cuts of beef.
There are many lean cuts of beef with some of the leanest including round steaks and roasts (eye of the round, top round, bottom round and round tip), top loin, top sirloin, and chuck shoulder and arm roasts.
But what about when you want a nice juicy marbled large steak right off the grill? MyPlate shows how to fit foods from all food groups into a healthful diet. Half of the plate should include vegetables and fruits, the other half of the plate protein and grains and a serving of dairy to complete the meal.
The first thing to think about is portion size. Think petite. Get the flavor you desire but have a smaller portion! Why not share that steak with your spouse or a friend? Here's a hint — cut it in half from side to side to create a thinner but nicely shaped steak, instead of from top to bottom, to create two portions. Plan other foods to add to that steak to make a complete meal.
We added a whole grain roll to complete that side of the plate but brown rice or a whole grain pasta salad would also be good choices. Then make the other half of the plate vegetables and fruit. We added berry compote on top of our steak. A large green salad with fruit such as mandarin orange segments and some berries is a great choice. Add a cooked vegetable like steamed yellow squash or carrots.
Then add a dairy — perhaps pudding made with skim milk for dessert — and you have a great plate.
Another idea is to create two or more meals from the steak. This saves a lot of time when preparing another meal. A great choice is to use part of the steak to cook kebabs on the grill. Long metal skewers that are flat, rather than round, seem to work the best. Some foods tend to move around on the round skewers. Also, wooden skewers can burn or break over the high temperature of the grill.
Cut the steak into cubes and place between various vegetables on the skewer. There are many vegetables that work well on kebabs but some are easier to skewer than others. Mushroom caps and cherry tomatoes are easy to skewer. Trim asparagus tips into approximately 1½ inch pieces and run the skewer through the middle. Pea pods and purple onion chunks can also be used.
Some people like to skewer 1½ inch lengths of fresh corn cobs. Top sirloin is an excellent choice for using with kebabs because it is less expensive than some cuts, relatively lean, has great flavor and can easily be cubed, marinated if desired, and skewered. There is no reason to use a more expensive cut. Complement the meal with a lovely arrangement of cooked summer squash, sauteed green beans or vegetable medley plus fruit, such as melon chunks or broiled pineapple slices. Brown rice or a whole grain roll and a cup of yogurt for dessert completes MyPlate.
Summer salads are another wonderful way to use part of a cooked steak. This sirloin with sugar snap pea and pasta salad is taken off the www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com website and is seen in The Healthy Beef Cookbook, published by John Wiley & Sons. In this recipe, the steak is broiled in the oven but it could also be cooked on the grill.
Sirloin with sugar Snap Pea and Pasta Salad
Recipe makes 4 servings
1 boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut ¾ inch thick (about 1 pound)
2 cups fresh sugar snap peas
2 cups cooked gemelli or corkscrew pasta
1 cup grape or teardrop tomatoes, cut in halves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Source: Becky Varner; ingredients provided by Uptown Grocery Co.
Learn with Lunch
Becky will teach a Learn with Lunch Cooking Class featuring “Summer Salads and Soup” including Cucumber & Tomato Salad with Cilantro, Poppy Seed Fruit Salad and Shrimp Gumbo at noon Tuesday at Buy For Less, 10011 SE 15th in Midwest City. She will also teach a Learn with Brunch Cooking Class at 9:30 a.m. May 16 at Uptown Grocery Co., 1230 W Covell in Edmond, and the menu includes Poppy Seed Fruit Salad, Guacamole Pinwheels and Red Pepper Mango Crostini.
Class size is limited, call 302-6273 ext. 332 for reservations.