Saba Zahid, RD
Patient Experience Manager
Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer and many picnics, barbeques, and camp-fire gatherings with friends and family. Here are some tips to make your Memorial Day weekend and all your summer gatherings healthier.
- Choose Fresh. While the traditional pastas, potato salads, and beans are staples at a picnics and barbecues, these dishes tend to be fat- and salt-laden. Opt for fresh fruit and fresh veggies as healthier alternatives. Try a fresh veggie platter with a hummus dip or a mixed berry salad dressed with mint and a splash of orange juice. Another tasty option is to grill fruits and vegetables. Brush a light layer of olive oil over fruits before grilling. Bananas, peaches, and watermelon are all “grill-able” fruits. Toss vegetables in a light coating of oil, salt, and pepper before putting them on the grill. Try corn, asparagus, and even eggplant on the grill.
- Portions and Balance. If you can’t do without your picnic favorites, try smaller portions of the high-calorie, high-fat options and be sure to save room on the plate for the healthier choices. This way you can still enjoy your favorite foods while adding some of the healthier options to your meal.
- Go Lean. Although fattier meats make for tasty barbequing, they are not so healthy for us. Leaner meat choices, including poultry, lean ground beef, and pork tenderloin can be equally as enjoyable. Marinating your choice of lean meat for 24 hours before cooking not only adds lots of flavor but it also helps tenderize the meat.
- Keep it Cool. If you’re planning on dining outdoors, be sure to keep foods cold in order to prevent bacterial growth which can cause food poisoning. Many traditional Memorial Day dishes such as pasta salads and potato salads contain salad dressing or mayonnaise, which can spoil quickly at warm temperatures. User a cooler filled with chunks of ice to keep dishes cool until you are ready to eat. Food that is sitting unrefrigerated for more than two hours should be thrown away.