Meadville Tribune

Our Generation

July 20, 2009

OUR HEALTH(Local): Healthy summer side dishes -Rosanne Rust

By Rosanne Rust

Summer is in full swing. Taking care of your health needs is a full time job, and do to it properly, you cannot make excuses every time a barbeque, graduation party, or picnic rolls around, but you can still have fun and enjoy what you eat.

The main dish at a picnic or barbeque is usually not so bad. Sure hot dogs are not the best food in the world, but if you enjoy them, and only eat one, fine. The important thing is to balance out the not-so-nutritious foods with more nutritious ones. If you have high blood cholesterol, you can also try some of the turkey dogs or “light” version hot dogs. Hamburgers or ribs can also fit into a healthy diet in moderation. Choose extra lean ground beef or buffalo for your burgers whenever possible, and try more chicken barbeque recipes for your cookouts too.

So with the entrée in check, take a new look at your side dishes. You can easily rack up hundreds of calories on high fat side dishes such as traditional macaroni salads, coleslaw, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, or high sugar gelatin-type salads. So if you are in charge of the next gathering, offer some healthy side dishes for everybody’s sake. Try a light new recipe that can help balance out the meat portion of the barbeque, and offer your guests the vitamins, minerals and fiber they need. When you look through recipes, look for some that include some fresh vegetables, or incorporate your own chopped veggies into dishes. Try potato salads or coleslaw that uses a vinegar and oil-based dressing instead of the creamy type.

In addition, simple is often best. Don’t have time to go to a lot of trouble? Just put out a bowl of freshly washed plums, peaches, grapes and cherries for everyone to grab. The traditional watermelon slices are delicious and nutritious too.

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