Happy 4th of July everyone!! I hope you all are able to get out and enjoy some festivities; however, it is important to help healthy options in mind…especially if you are creating the main grilling course or a side dish or two.
Now, unfortunately I probably won’t be able to grill out today (hectic schedules and traffic are more than likely to ruin our plans for later on), but here are some delicious alternatives to some classic cook-out staples:
First, choose your ground meat (i.e. beef, chicken, turkey, etc.)- the leaner the better. Always allow yourself to splurge on the leaner meats. Grab and chop up your favorite vegetables into small pieces, and roll them into your ground meat patties. I made these back on Memorial Day, and they turned out fantastic! I used 99% lean ground turkey, chopped up some assorted bell peppers, onions, and jalapenos, and rolled the ingredients together into a pattie.
Not only does this help with portion control of your meat, but it also can help keep things a little less messy if you anything like me. I love to pack in as many veggies as possible onto my sandwiches and burgers, so this technique really helps to prevent a ton of messy spillage!
This recipe is very easy – and includes far less fat and calories than your traditional egg salad. Take about 12 hard boiled eggs (HBE) and remove the yolk. Discard 9 of the yolks and set 3 to the side. Rinse and chop up 4 celery stalks into tiny pieces. Chop up the egg whites into tiny pieces, and toss into a mixing bowl. Add in 5 tablespoons of hummus (I used Tribe’s Roasted Red Pepper), as well as the celery bits. Sprinkle in about 2 teaspoons of paprika, then take the egg yolks and finely chop it up so that it becomes a powdery consistency and sprinkle it over your mixture.
Use a spoon to mash everything together. If you find it to be a little bland, add in a little more hummus and paprika. Then to finish it off, dash in some ground pepper to taste. The key here is to avoid using mayonnaise at all costs, as well as cut down on the egg yolks. Yes, egg yolks do provide you with your amino acids; however, you do not want to over-do it.
I got this idea from Food Network’s “Hungry Girl.” Depending on how many people you are planning to feed – use about half the amount of regular potatoes that you would normally use. From here, replace it with a secret ingredient…cauliflower! Now, my mom was a total sceptic when I told her about this (she claims to hate this veggie)…so I did a little experiment with her. I took a piece of steamed cauliflower, had her close her eyes, put it in her mouth, and had her chew – and she couldn’t even tell the difference!
For this potato side dish, all you need to do is bring a pot of water to a boil and allow the potatoes to sit in the water for about 15 minutes – or until you can smoothly pierce it with a knife. While the potatoes are boiling, utilize this time to steam your cauliflower. You can remove the skin if you’d like before mashing it, but I prefer to leave the skin on (FYI the skin of potatoes have bunch of extra nutrients!). You may add milk (try not to add butter), but make sure the dairy is at least skim, that way you are not adding any unnecessary saturated fats.
From here, you can add in anything (within reason) to those smashed taters. For example, you can toss in some garlic, ground pepper, and even some green beans!
I hope you all have a wonderfully safe 4th of July – and remember to opt for the healthiest choice when given the opportunity. It is your body, fuel it with nutrient-rich items…not fat-laden ones! Also, go easy on the condiments…especially the relish (sugar) and mayo (ew). And lastly, when choosing your American beverage…make it a light if you plan on having more than one 😉
Happy independence day!! 🙂