Healthy & Weight Loss Friendly July 4th Cookouts
Our favorite summer holiday is fast approaching! Hopefully you have your cookout menu selected, but if you don’t, here are some delightfully healthy and weight loss friendly options you can incorporate that everyone is sure to enjoy!
Of course everyone’s go-to classic cookout is the burger, but by using reduced fat mayo and whole wheat buns along with other veggies as toppings, you are increasing the nutritional value without compromising the flavor. If you have vegetarians in your party you can substitute grilled portabella mushrooms, and if you prefer you can make burgers with ground turkey instead of beef.
Our Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts team in Texas has adapted some recipes from EatingWell.com to help you to have a healthy and weight loss friendly 4th of July cookout.
“Fajita” Burgers: Makes 4 servings.
- 1 pound 90%-lean ground beef
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chile in adobo
- 1/2 cup shredded reduced fat Monterey Jack cheese
- 4 whole wheat buns or French style rolls
- 2 roasted Anaheim or poblano peppers
- 1 cup shredded green cabbage
- 4 slices tomato
- 4 thin slices red onion
- Preheat grill to medium-high.
- Place beef, 1/4 cup cilantro, onion, scallions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Gently combine, without over mixing, until evenly incorporated. Form into 4 equal patties, about 1/2 inch thick and oval-shaped to match the rolls.
- Combine the remaining 1/2 cup cilantro, mayonnaise, lime juice and chipotle in a small bowl.
- Peel the roasted peppers, halve lengthwise and remove the seeds.
- Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the burgers until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165°F, about 6 minutes per side. Top with cheese and cook until it is melted, about 1 minute more.
- Assemble the burgers on toasted rolls with the chipotle mayonnaise, half a roasted pepper, cabbage, tomato and onion.
Another dish we often see at cookouts is potato salad. It is often a summer cookout favorite, but the traditional way of making it can be high in calories and high in fat. We have a simple, and still delicious version of potato salad that is low in fat and calories but still has all the taste.
Red, White and Blue Potato salad. Makes 4 ½ cups
- 2 pounds baby potatoes, a mix of white and blue (or purple)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers, rinsed
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- Place potatoes in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and cover with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a cutting board. Let cool for 20 minutes.
- Whisk lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Cut the potatoes in half, add to the bowl and toss to coat.
- Just before serving, add peppers, scallions and mint to the salad and toss gently.
Finally, who could forget about our all American favorite dessert, pie! Traditional pies are typically high in sugar and fat, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a way around that. This recipe uses the natural sweetness from the blueberries and uses walnuts in the crust for a nutty and savory flavor. You can also try different berries and see which one you like better. Be creative this 4th and try something different, where your family and friends wont know it’s healthy and weight loss friendly!
Blueberry Tart with Walnut Crust. Makes 12 servings
- 1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted (see Tip)
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see Note)
- 1 large egg white
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil
- Pinch of salt
- 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, preferably grade B, divided
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- To prepare crust: Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Coarsely chop walnuts in a food processor. Add graham cracker crumbs and process until the mixture looks like fine crumbs.
- Whisk egg white in a medium bowl until frothy. Add the crumb mixture, butter, oil and salt; toss to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan. Set the pan on a baking sheet. Bake until dry and slightly darker around the edges, about 8 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
- To prepare filling: Beat cream cheese, sour cream and 1/4 cup maple syrup in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. When the crust is cool, spread the filling evenly into it, being careful not to break up the delicate crust. Arrange blueberries on the filling, pressing lightly so they set in. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup over the berries. Chill for at least 1 hour to firm up.
With these recipes you can enjoy the holiday without jeopardizing a healthy lifestyle or your weight loss goals.