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Rethinking a Summer Staple for July 4th

As the weather heats up, outdoor grills come out of hiding. July 4th gatherings often center around cooking in the great outdoors. And what holiday party would be complete without a hot, perfectly grilled burger. Consider these modifications to build a better, healthier burger.US_Flag

Choose your meat wisely. If ground beef is a must, choose a leaner variety such as ground sirloin. Ground sirloin or, even better, 93%/7% lean beef deliver great beef flavor but with less total and saturated fats. Ground turkey breast or even buffalo are other good options but will require some tricks to ensure a juicy burger. Try adding some slow cooked onions to the meat prior to making your patties. Or add cooked spinach (squeezed dry) and feta for a Mediterranean style burger.

Burgers
Go fishing. Fish burgers will provide even less saturated fat and more of the heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Roughly chop a cooked skinned salmon filet or sushi grade tuna steak and gently mix with scallions and other desired seasonings. Don’t over handle the fish however or you’ll end up with a mushy burger. If you have time, allow the patties to chill in the refrigerator before cooking so that they hold their shape. Or add an egg and breadcrumbs to bind the patty. Brush the grill grates with olive oil to prevent the burger from sticking.

Veg out. Frozen veggie burgers can be a great alternative if chosen wisely. Look for burgers with less than 500 mg of sodium per serving. Read the ingredient list and be sure you can identify most of the ingredients listed. “Textured vegetable protein” refers to the soy protein often used in veggie burgers. Veggie burgers should provide 5 g protein per serving if they are to be the only protein source at your meal. Another healthy and delicious vegetarian option is a grilled portabella mushroom cap. Combine garlic, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, brush over the portabella cap and let sit for 30 minutes prior to grilling for a meaty taste.

tomatos green bowlPile on the veggies. The skies the limit when adding veggies to top off your burger. Tomato season perfectly coincides with grilling season. Romaine lettuce adds the perfect crunch. And grilled or raw, pile on the onion of your choice.

Banish the bun. Why not serve your burger wrapped in a lettuce leaf or on top of fresh salad greens. If using the basic bun, serve our burger open faced or choose whole wheat buns with > 2 g fiber per serving.

The Diabetes Epidemic

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows that the number of Americans with diabetes is increasing – and that 1 in 4 people don’t even know they have it. The details of the report are outlined in this story from NBC Nightly News.

Summer Time is Grilling Time

By Laura Stepp, MA, RD, LD at LMC

With longer days and warmer temperatures, we start to look to our outdoor grills for preparing tasty meals. We especially like to cook meat on the grill. One of the best meats we can grill is seafood. We are recommended to eat two or more servings of seafood a week for the heart healthy benefits fish can provide. Luckily, we are blessed to live so close to the coast with its variety of fresh seafood offerings. However, you may have heard to beware of some fish or to pick “sustainable choices.”

What is Sustainable Choice Seafood? It’s fish that is caught or farmed in a manner that considers the long-term vitality of the species. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch website has pocket guides that can be downloaded and printed for each region of the country that lists best choice, good alternative, and fish/seafood to avoid that may be overfished or come from areas of the world where there is concern for how the fish are caught or raised. For the more tech savvy, there is a downloadable app: mobile.seafoodwatch.org

In our region some of the best choices and good alternatives are found off the coast of the Carolinas: Shrimp, Oysters, Cod, Halibut, Red Snapper, Grouper and Flounder just to name a few. The best part about serving seafood is the ability to get it to your plate fast.

Blog_-_summer_grill_seafood_May_30.doc__Read-Only___Compatibility_Mode_Grilled Fish with Garlic Marinade

    Ingredients

• 1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen fish steaks or fillets (such as tuna, sea bass, swordfish, or salmon), cut 1 inch thick
• 6 garlic, peeled and quartered
• 1/2 onion, quartered
• 1/2 red sweet pepper, quartered and seeded
• 1/4 cup dry white wine
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons ketchup
• 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
• 1 1/2 cups fresh arugula or spinach (optional)

    Directions

1. Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry. Place fish in a shallow dish. Set aside. For marinade, in a blender or food processor combine the garlic, onion, sweet pepper, wine, oil, ketchup, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Cover and blend or process until finely chopped; stir in the cilantro.
2. Transfer half of the marinade to a small bowl; cover and chill until ready to serve. Spoon remaining marinade over fish; turn fish to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours, turning fish occasionally.
3. Drain fish, discarding marinade. Grill fish on the greased rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 8 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork, gently turning once halfway through grilling time. If desired, serve fish over arugula or spinach. Top with reserved pepper mixture.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.