You can have a Nutritious & Flavourful Summer Cookout!
A traditional BBQ feast may consist of a cheeseburger, hot dog, scoop of potato salad, handful of chips, cup of lemonade and piece of pie for dessert. Of course, it is fine to indulge now and then but there are healthier food options that make an equally delicious BBQ feast.
Some easy swaps can include a ground turkey burger for a ground beef burger, a lean poultry sausage for a beef sausage, skinless chicken breasts and chicken/fish-veggie kebabs for fatty cuts of steak or ribs. Pre-made coleslaw, macaroni salads and potato salads are often calorie-laden and high in sodium. Instead of these high calorie and high sodium salads, whip up some homemade salads. Below is a recipe for a re-styled potato salad that will make your taste buds dance!
Adding flavour to lean meats can be done without drenching them in oil or sauces high in sugar and sodium. Dry rubs work great on protein. Flavourful ingredients that make great dry rubs include chili powder, oregano, thyme, garlic, ginger, lemon zest, cumin, ground turmeric and cayenne. A homemade teriyaki sauce can include white wine, sugar, low sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, lemon, and ginger root – easy and delicious!
Making your own marinades is best as this helps control the fat and sodium content. A basic blend of oil, lemon or lime juice and herbs is all you need as a base. If you would like an Asian flair, try some reduced-sodium soy sauce, grated ginger and garlic. For a South-Western flavour, use cumin, chilies, and cilantro. Honey with mustard is another simple, yet flavourful, option.
Healthier side dishes that pair nicely with grilled meat include roasted potatoes (yellow and sweet), quinoa and whole grain couscous salads. And don’t forget about veggies! Grilling your favourite veggies can be as easy as brushing them with just a little olive oil or threading them onto kebabs. Portobello mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, asparagus, onion and bell peppers all work wonderful! Did you ever try tomatoes on the grill? Placing your tomato skin side down and drizzling with olive oil, placing fresh basil on top and sprinkling with parmesan cheese is flavourful and looks beautiful on your plate.
A nutritious cookout must still include dessert. A healthy swap to your piece of pie or sundae is grilled fruit! Pineapple, peaches, nectarines, and plums work really well on the grill. You may even decide to drizzle chocolate on this grilled fruit because after all, all foods can fit!
Re-Styled Potato Salad
1/2 pound small red-skinned potatoes, quartered
1/2 pound (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped celery
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Combine red and sweet potatoes with oil on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; toss to coat.
3. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
4. Combine buttermilk and next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; mix well. Add potatoes and celery; toss well. Serve immediately.
By Aisha Khedheri,
Dietitian with Public Health in Saint John, NB
Recent headlines report that cutting back on sodium could save as many as 50,000 lives over 10 years in the United States. According to a study in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, Canadians eat as much as 90% more sodium than Health Canada’s recommended maximum of 2,300 mg per day. If Canadians could cut back to an adequate intake of 1,500 mg of sodium or less, it could lead to 30% less strokes and heart disease (Sodium 101).
You may think you’re doing well at cutting back on salt by simply avoiding the salt shaker and using less salt when you cook. Unfortunately, a large amount of the salt we consume is hidden in fast foods and processed/packaged foods.
So, how can you make a difference?
By Wendy Scott
As anyone with health related dietary issues knows, the holidays can be deadly. As a firm believer in “all things in moderation” I do believe that you should sometimes enjoy a little taste of the sweet things in life. During the holiday season there are so many temptations that can make life very stressful for someone who must, because of serious health issues, be cautious about what they consume. Whether it is allergies, diabetes or a fat-restricted diet, it is very difficult to know what you are eating when it has been prepared by someone else, not to mention the temptation of all the goodies constantly being offered this time of the year. I am one of the lucky ones, my issues are solely that what I eat ends up on my rump and when I diet, my cleavage evaporates. A pain in the body image, yes. Fatal? No! Last December 22nd, my husband discovered that he had coronary artery disease that required a quintuple bypass. We had always eaten in a healthy fashion, tried to exercise on a regular basis and thought we were doing things right. Wrong! More changes were on the horizon.
That aside, this year we are determined to survive the holidays and enjoy them! I wish I could tell you that there is a magic bullet that will render you impervious to succulent sweets and decadent dinners. Alas, there isn’t and even during the holidays you have to be vigilant about what you eat if your health is a concern. One of the tricks we use is that if we are going out for cocktails, we make sure we have a light, health conscious meal beforehand as this makes it easier to resist overdoing the snacking. We can have a treat or two and be satisfied. Another trick is to alternate cocktails with ice water or sparkling water. Or, make that glass of wine a spritzer. You will be cutting your calorie and sugar intake by half, ditto the fat if eggnog is your poison. Enjoy a no-guilt turkey dinner by making careful choices of offerings, go lightly with sauces and gravies. Finally, don’t skip the exercise, even a brisk ten minute walk around the block is better than nothing, especially if your issues are heart disease or diabetes.
Moderation is the key to avoiding a holiday hangover, whether it be from alcohol, fats, carbs or sugar.
******* DINNER SALAD FOR TWO *******
One large handful fresh baby spinach
One large handful romaine lettuce
Six ounces diced or shredded chicken or lean pork (either hot or cold so great for using up leftovers)
Four inch piece of cucumber, sliced
Handful of fresh mushrooms, sliced (you can lightly sauté in olive oil or leave fresh)
One fresh spaghetti nest, cooked in boiling water for three minutes and chopped into bite-sized pieces. (I usually buy Compliments brand or you can use 1 cup of any type of pasta you prefer)
¼ cup of dried cranberries (sweetened or not)
2 tbsp toasted, hulled sunflower seeds
Toss together in a large bowl, drizzle with not more than two teaspoons of walnut oil (rich in Omega 6) and grate a one inch square cube of parmesan reggiano over the salad and season with freshly grated salt and pepper. Toss well and enjoy a meal that will be satisfying and healthy!
Whether you suffer from high cholesterol, diabetes or high triglycerides, this salad is a winner and I never find it filling out my new size 8 jeans.
Wendy Scott is an instructor at the Rothesay Superstore Cooking School. She and her husband, Mark, own an upholstery business, Road & River Upholstery, in the Valley. A lifelong cook from a long line of great cooks, Wendy has recently turned her focus to healthy cooking following her husband’s recent health issues. By doing research and developing recipes specifically for his needs, Wendy has seen Mark’s cholesterol and triglyceride levels have changed dramatically.