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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.

You Are What You Wheat

As part of our “Take 5 for Heart Health” campaign, LMC dietitian Laura Stepp was a guest on WIS-TV this week to talk about whole grains. Check out her interview and the great information she shared in the link below.

Here is a picture of Laura with WIS news anchor Dawndy Mercer Plank after the interview.

photo[4]

Eat Right: Color Your Plate with Salad

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers some excellent tips for building delicious and nutritious salads. Try one today!

Arugula & Grissini
Pack more nutrition into your day with a colorful main dish or side salad. Keep basic ingredients on hand for a quick addition to any meal. Encourage kids to eat more vegetables by setting out ingredients to make their own salad creations. Or, let them choose individual items with salad dressing as a dip. Mix and match ingredients by choosing one or more foods from each list below. Consider flavor, texture and color. Add a light salad dressing and enjoy!

Start with Leafy Greens
Arugola
Green or Read leaf lettuce
Iceberg Lettuce
Boston or Bibb lettuce
Mixed greens
Napa cabbage
Radicchio
Romaine
Spinach

broccoliSelect from Vegetables, Fruits and Beans
(chopped, diced, shredded, sliced or whole)

Vegetables
Artichoke hearts
Bean sprouts
Beets
Bell pepper
Broccoli or cauliflower
Carrots
Celery
Corn
Cucumbers
Onions
Peas
Radishes
Sugar snap peas
Tomatoes
Water chestnuts
Zucchini

fruit_2Fruits
Dried cranberries or cherries
Apple
Blueberries
Grapes
Mandarin oranges
Melon
Pears
Raisins
Strawberries

Beans
Black beans
Chickpeas
Edamame (soybeans)
Kidney or red beans
Navy or white beans

Sprinkle on Extras

Cheese
Blue cheese
Cheddar
Feta
Mozzarella
Parmesan

peanuts3Nuts
Almonds
Cashews
Peanuts
Pecans
Walnuts

Other
Avocado
Bacon bits
Chow mein noodles
Croutons
Olives
Sunflower seeds

For a Main Dish Salad
Beef
Chicken
Ham
Hard-cooked egg
Salmon
Shrimp
Tofu
Tuna
Turkey

Suggested combinations
~Romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, avocado and shrimp
~Mixed greens, chicken strips, melon, walnuts and feta cheese
~Spinach, red onion, mandarin oranges and sliced almonds