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Healthy 4th Food Ideas!

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         Diet Buddy - Monday, July 2, 2007
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Healthy 4th Food Ideas!

Hi There Buddies...

The 4th of July is all about celebrations, parades, 
fireworks and of course gatherings and cook-outs. And while 
we all enjoy getting together with friends and family, it's 
more than likely the foods that are barbecuing on the 
grill that can be the cause of our diet slip-ups.

Oh yesss... the aroma of teriyaki chicken and sizzling 
steaks or the taste of dripping butter on your corn or 
baked potato can be more than enough to tempt even the 
most dedicated of us dieters out there, but not to worry... 
we can still enjoy our favorite summer cookouts and mouth-
watering foods with a little bit of effort and know-how. 

Thanks to Emily Battaglia from Lifescript online, she'll 
show us some easy ways to make our favorite meats, fish, 
vegetables, fruits, side salads, and desserts a little more 
nutritious, while maintaining all the goodness of a true 
blue (and red and white) 4th of July celebration...
  
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Calling all Meatheads!

What is a 4th of July celebration without hamburgers and 
hot dogs?  These are always a favorite at any barbecue but 
healthier options exist.  While hamburger meat can be quite 
healthy when you choose lean ground beef, it's the extra 
condiments and buns that pack the fat punch.  Try wrapping 
the hamburger patty inside pieces of Romaine lettuce or 
place it in a whole wheat bun to add nutrition and cut down 
on the calories.

Lay off the mayonnaise, ketchup and cheese on your 
hamburgers and hot dogs and opt for healthier condiment 
options like mustard or fresh salsa.  For a more nutritious 
piece of meat that provides protein, iron and zinc, pick 
cuts from the round or loin.  Or for an extra healthy main 
course, grill chicken or a piece of fresh fish, like salmon 
or tilapia.

Squeeze fresh lemon juice on the fish and wrap it in foil 
for a tender and flavorful main course.

Keep in mind that grilling hamburgers and hot dogs is 
always a healthier alternative than pan frying. Grilling 
your meats allows a good portion of fatty grease to drip 
away from the meat, reducing the fat content even further 
than pan-frying lean cuts alone.

Think Rainbow!

Summer produces the best and widest variety of fruits 
and vegetables, so it's only natural that you should 
incorporate these fresh, seasonal favorites into your 
4th of July food menu. Grilled veggies are especially 
delicious on a shich-kebob or just grilled alongside the 
meat.  Thread onions, tomatoes, red bell peppers, and 
pineapple chunks onto the metal or wooden skewers. 

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You can marinate the veggies in olive oil infused with 
garlic and onion before grilling to add flavor.  Favorite 
summer grilled veggies include asparagus, zucchini and 
eggplant.

For a tasty corn on the cob minus the butter, mix olive 
oil, fresh lime juice and chili powder into a plastic bag, 
add the grilled corn on the cob, shake well to coat, and 
serve hot.  For fruit, try grilling peaches, pineapple or 
even plums right on the barbecue, or just toss together a 
cool and refreshing fruit salad.

Simple and Sumptuous Sides!

Potato salad, macaroni salad and coleslaw are classically 
drenched in mayonnaise, especially if they're store-bought. 
For a healthier 4th of July side dish, make a homemade 
pasta salad with low-calorie Italian dressing or olive 
oil and a splash of vinegar and herbs.

Mix with feta cheese, onions, broccoli, and bell peppers. 
Instead of mayonnaise as the base of a potato or macaroni 
salad or coleslaw, substitute fat-free plain yogurt and 
Dijon mustard for a low-fat salad dressing.

Throw together a quick and easy fruit salad using fresh 
chunks of pineapple, strawberries, grapes, honeydews, and 
cantaloupes and sprinkle coconut flakes and raisins on top.  
Toss a salad with spinach leaves and a summer mix, and 
top with carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes and a homemade 
vinaigrette dressing. 

Suckers for Sauce!

Beware of barbecue sauces and their high amounts of sugars 
and molasses. Think before soaking your chicken in teriyaki 
sauce because it is high in sugar and sodium.  For a 
healthier marinade, stick with a blend of herbs, spices, 
olive oil, and red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice as 
the base.  Look for a marinade with no chemicals or preser-
vatives added and be conscious of the amount of sodium it 
contains.

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Delightful Desserts!

Does Cool Whip always seem to star in your 4th of July 
food finale?  For more nutritious desserts, incorporate 
fresh fruits into your pies, pastries and cakes.  To 
bring out the patriot in anyone, top angel food cake 
with fresh strawberries or red Jell-O with fresh blue-
berries and Cool Whip Lite.  If you don't feel like baking 
anything, slice up fresh juicy watermelons and watch the 
guests devour this party favorite. 

                             ~

It isn't that difficult to substitute the foods we eat with 
healthier and lighter versions.  With all the different 
products available to us now, foods can be just as sizzling 
and tasty as always, with less sodium, less fat and 
less calories, which is good for our heart, our body and 
our scale.

Did You Know ???

* It is estimated that there were 2.5 million people living 
  in the colonies in July 1776.

* The projected number of U.S. residents will be 302 
  million by July 4, 2007.

* The estimated amount of hot dogs eaten by Americans on 
  the 4th of July is 150 million.

* There is a 49% chance that the beans on an American 
  plate for a 4th of July picnic came from North Dakota or 
  Michigan.

* There is a 60 % chance that the corn on the cob eaten 
  by an American for a 4th of July picnic came from 
  California, Florida, Georgia or New York.

* One-half of the potatoes made for chips or salad at an 
  Independence Day cookout were grown in Idaho or 
  Washington.

* The fireworks imported from China into the United States 
  were valued at $216 million, in 2006.

Have a great and safe 4th of July everyone !!!


Note*  

In last weeks column there was a spellcheck error: 

15. Breakstone's and Knudsen LiveActive Cottage Cheese...

Get the same benefits of probiotic yogurt - without the 
yogurt. This is the first cottage cheese product to contain 
INULIN, (NOT insulin) - a prebiotic soluble fiber that 
serves as a food source for the good bacteria in your 
digestive system and helps relieve bloating, gas, and 
irritability.  Some studies have shown that inulin may also 
help your body absorb calcium better.
Per serving - 90 cal, 2 g fat, 380 mg sodium    

Disclaimer: Since I am not a medical professional any 
statements in this column are strictly based on research I 
have done and should not be misconstrued as medical advice. 

                            ****  

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