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BBQ Season is here…Let’s Make It Healthy this Year!


In July, we celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday. We also celebrate warm weather by being outside as much as possible which means lots of outdoor cooking and entertaining. When we think of BBQ season, we usually associate it with unhealthy foods. The following tips will help you to enjoy BBQ season without compromising taste or quality! It’s so much easier than you think.

1. Go Lean. When selecting your meats, choose from the lean variety. Choosing poultry over beef is a leaner choice. If you are going with beef, make sure to choose a leaner cut such as top sirloin or go with a steak which contains less marbling. If you are purchasing ground meat for hamburgers, make sure to choose lean or extra-lean. Bottom line, portion control will be your friend and a portion should be no bigger than the size and thickness of the palm of your hand.

2. Grain Fed Beef vs. Grass Fed Beef. What a cow eats can have major effect on the nutrient composition of the beef. Grass-fed beef usually contains less total fat than grain-fed beef, which means that gram for gram, grass-fed beef contains fewer calories. The composition of the fatty acids is also quite different, containing up to five times more Omega 3’s and about twice as much CLA.

3. Whole Grain is the New White. If you are having buns, choose a whole grain bun. Whole grain buns are higher in fibre and just as tasty as white buns. The fibre will help to fill you up more, which means you will eat less overall.

4. Skip the Starchy Sides and load up on the salads and veggies! Skip the potatoes, and offer a large selection of salads and veggies. Try a summer salad with berries and goat cheese and throw a ton of veggies on the grill I like to do peppers, onions and portobello mushrooms and they seem to be a hit! (See recipe below)

5. Desert the Usual Desserts. Try something different and make homemade “Paletas” (Mexican popsicles). Adult and kids will all enjoy and the best part is you can make them in advance. You can have fun with these and do any combination of fruit and they come out beautiful! (See recipe below)

6. Food Safety. Part of a healthy BBQ is following food safety principles in order to avoid food borne illness.

  • Wash your hands – always wash your hands with soap and water before handling food. Also wash your hands after handling raw meats, fish and poultry to prevent cross contamination. Harmful bacteria can easily contaminate your cooked meats or your veggies if you do not wash your hands after handling the raw meat.

  • Rinse – always rinse your meat, fish and poultry in cool water before cooking. This will remove potential bacteria, which may have been in the package.

  • Avoid room temperature thawing or marinating. Always thaw and marinate in the refrigerator to avoid harmful bacterial growth. Bacteria thrive in the warmer, room temperature.

  • Cook appropriately – you want to cook hot dogs, burgers, chicken, and kabobs until the juices run clear and there is no more pink.

7. Choose recipes which are both healthy and delicious!

See the recipes below and try them out at your next BBQ!

Turkey Burgers

Juicy and delicious! Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 egg

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 small onion, grated

¼ cup dry breadcrumbs

2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

½ tsp each of salt and pepper

1 lb (500 g) lean ground turkey

4 Whole-grain hamburger buns

Instructions:

Place egg, water and lemon juice in bowl and whisk together. Stir in onion, breadcrumbs, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix in ground turkey until well combined. Shape into 4, ½ inch thick patties. Place on lightly greased grill over medium high. Close lid and cook 5 minutes, flip burgers. Close lid again and cook another 5 minutes. Burgers are cooked when there is no pink and juices run clear. Toast buns on BBQ for best flavour.

Asian Slaw

A spin on the traditional coleslaw! You can make this ahead of time and it will keep for 24 hours. Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

8 cups shredded cabbage (green or napa)

3 carrots, julienned

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp each of chopped fresh coriander and basil

Dressing:

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp vegetable oil

¼ tsp salt

Instructions:

Toss together cabbage, carrots and salt, let stand for 20 minutes. Mix sugar with 2 tbsp water and microwave for 30 seconds to dissolve. Let cool. Whisk in lemon juice, rice vinegar, oil and salt. Toss cabbage mixture with coriander and basil. Sprinkle dressing on top and toss well. Refrigerate for minimum 1 hour (can be up to 4 hours) to let flavours set in.

Easy & Delicious Grilled Veggies

So easy and so good!

Ingredients:

Portobello mushrooms

Peppers (mixed colours), quartered

Onion, sliced into thick rings

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Salt, pepper

Instructions:

1. Put veggies into large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, balsamic, salt & pepper and toss to combine

2. Put veggies straight onto grill, cook approx. 10 min, flipping half way.

Summer Berrylicious Salad

Excellent summer salad, which goes over well at any BBQ! Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

Baby spinach, 1 large container

1 cup Thinly sliced strawberries

1 cup Blueberries

½ cup toasted walnuts

½ cup goat cheese (optional)

Dressing:

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

1 Tsp maple syrup

½ tsp of each sea salt and ground black pepper

1 tsp freshly chopped garlic

Instructions:

Place all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously. Place all salad ingredients except goat cheese into a large bowl, sprinkle with dressing and toss. Sprinkle with goat cheese if desired.

Corn & Bean Salad

Refreshing, delicious and packed with fibre! The fibre will be very filling so it eliminates the need for any starchy sides. This is a great second salad option to pair with either a green salad or a coleslaw. Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

2 cans Mixed bean medley

2 cobs of corn, steamed for 4 minutes and Kernals removed

1 cup Cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup Cucumber, skin removed and diced

1 Avocado, diced

1/2 cup Radish, diced

1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing:

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

3 Tbsp rice vinegar

3 Tbsp olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Instructions:

  1. Assemble salad ingredients in bowl

  2. Combine dressing ingredients in jar and shake vigorously

  3. Toss salad with dressing. Can make in advance and store in refrigerator.

Homemade Paletas (Mexican Popsicles)

No popsicle molds required!

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana, sliced

  • 1.5 cups strawberries, chop half of them (and set aside)

  • 1 cup blueberries

  • ¾ cup raspberries

  • 1.5 cups vanilla Greek yogurt

Instructions:

  1. Blend together banana, ½ type of each fruit and yogurt.

  2. Add remainder of fruit and stir.

  3. Pour into bread tin and put 12 popsicle sticks into mixture, spread evenly apart.

  4. Freeze overnight. Take out of freezer and enjoy!

#recipes #healthyeating #registereddietitian #nutritioncounselling

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