Patriotic Eats All Year Round

By Austin McEvoy

You don’t have to limit your favorite Fourth of July dishes to just one day a year. You can still create patriotic recipes with American specialties all 365 days if you use nutritious ingredients. Whether you are cooking for friends or family, you can still stay faithful to your healthy lifestyle by trying some of these remixes to American fare favorites.

A Better Burger

It is found in nearly every fast-food restaurant across the nation. It is the cornerstone of American cuisine. It is the burger. Hamburgers have developed a bad rep over the years, but when prepared the right way, they can actually be quite nutritious.

Traditional hamburgers are made with beef, which has a high amount of “bad” fat. A three ounce ground beef patty has an average fat content of 15 percent according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Of that 15 percent, there are 4.5 grams of saturated fat. Jennie-O Extra Lean Ground Turkey, on the other hand, has only 0.5 grams of saturated fat per serving.

Another traditional burger ingredient that can be substituted is the white bread bun. Sandwich your lean patty between a whole wheat bun instead. If you are on a gluten-free diet, or are just watching your carbs, you can go even farther and swap the bun for a lettuce leaf and make a lettuce wrap burger.

For those who like to blanket their burgers with a little cheese, head chef of Lovin’ Spoonfuls, Peg Raisglid, recommends Daiya, a vegan cheese alternative made out of tapioca. A cheddar-flavored slice has less fat and about half as much sodium as traditional cheddar cheese.

“Most customers can’t even taste the difference,” Raisglid said. Raisglid has a degree in chemical engineering and likes to play with traditional recipes to make vegan alternatives.

A Healthier Hot Dog

A hot dog on a bun with ketchup and mustard is predictable. Mix it up and surprise your guests with hot dog shish kabobs. This recipe only requires a hot dog, vegetables, and a stick. Cut up the hot dog and the vegetables into bit sized pieces and them slide them onto the stick, alternating the between veggie and meat.

If you want more protein without adding extra fat, Raisglid recommends Tofurky Beer Brats. A Tofurky brat has half as much fat as a Johnsonville beef brat and has three times more protein per serving.

Once the meat and vegetables are assembled on the stick, throw them on the grill. For extra flavor drizzle on some of your favorite marinade, like spicy mango or mesquite barbecue.

A Calorie Conscious Chip

It’s true what they say about potato chips. You can’t eat just one. Most people don’t know that the serving size for Lay’s Classic Potato Chips is only one ounce. That tiny ounce is packed with 150 calories. An entire medium-sized sweet potato, however, is only 105 calories, according to the USDA.

You can easily can turn that raw sweet potato into your own flavorful chips. First, cut the potato into thin slices. Next, you can either bake the potato slices in the oven with a little salt, of cook them in a skillet with a splash of olive oil. If you are in the mood for something spicy, add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Or if you are in the mood for something sweet, add a dash of brown sugar and cinnamon.

A Salubrious Slaw

Although coleslaw does contain nutrient rich vegetables, those vegetables are also drenched in mayonnaise. Spare yourself the fat calories and try carrot coleslaw, an innovative take on the traditional coleslaw recipe.

Carrot coleslaw is a popular side dish at Raisglid’s restaurant. The simple dish is composed of thin carrots slices, cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts. Serve it up next to the main course, or save it for dessert.

A Diet-Friendly Dessert

Instead of buying sugar saturated popsicles, make your own healthy alternative with fruit instead. To do so you will need some fresh fruit, popsicle sticks, and vanilla Greek yogurt.

Start by placing the fruit on sticks and the dip them into the Greek yogurt. For a little extra flavor, try drizzling some antioxidant-rich dark chocolate over the dipped fruit. Once dipped and drizzled, place the fruit on a tray lined with plastic wrap and it put in the freezer. This recipe works especially well with bananas and strawberries.

Categories: Your Nutrition

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