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Keep Dad Healthy on his Big Day

Registered dietitian Becky Varner has healthy ideas for feeding dad on Father's Day.
BY BECKY VARNER Published: June 12, 2013

Father's Day is Sunday, and a great gift to offer any dad is encouragement to eat healthier. When it comes to eating, more isn't necessarily better; healthier is better. Show dad just how much you care by offering a delicious and nutritious meal to celebrate his special day. It will leave him feeling satisfied instead of stuffed and he will enjoy his day more.

A great way to celebrate is a healthier cookout and outdoor party for dad. Offer him several healthy choices to cook on the grill and surprise him with healthy side dishes. Let him choose a lean main dish to get the flavor he wants but help him out by serving smaller portions. Lean steak, pork chops, chicken breast, burgers using lean ground beef, salmon filets or kabobs made with shrimp or chunks of chicken or lean beef are all great options. Fire up the grill and give dad another choice: He gets to cook if he wants to and you get to cook if he doesn't.

If he chooses a burger remember that burgers can be very high in calories and fat if they are made with high-fat ground beef and are loaded with high-fat ingredients. Here are some tips to make a healthier burger:

Use 90 percent lean and 10 percent fat ground beef or leaner. Pay attention to the portion size. A 3-ounce cooked burger (4 ounces raw weight) is about the size of a computer mouse or a deck of cards.

Flatten it out to make it look bigger. Choose a whole wheat bun instead of a refined grain bun to include a serving of whole grain for dad. Instead of a high-fat spread like mayonnaise or other fat based dressing or sauce go for low-fat version of mayonnaise, Miracle Whip or hummus or try plain or seasoned mustard.

Instead of adding bacon add a variety of colors of vegetables such as green leaf lettuce, mushrooms, thinly sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and purple onion.

Choose a reduced-fat cheese slice instead of a full-fat cheese.

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Corn Salad with Fresh Basil

Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves

3 cups canned no salt added corn, drained (or frozen can be blanched and drained)

1 cup red bell pepper cut in approximately 1 inch long by ¼ inch wide slices

1 sprig basil for garnish, if desired

• Combine oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and chopped basil in a medium-size bowl and stir to mix.

• Add corn and red bell pepper strips. Toss gently to mix well.

• Pour into serving dish and garnish with fresh basil sprig.

Nutrition Information: This recipe makes 6 servings. Each serving contains approximately 114 calories and 5 grams fat.

Fruit Salad with Minted Lime Dressing

Makes 6 servings

1 cup quartered fresh strawberries

1 cup cantaloupe melon balls, approximately 1 inch in diameter

1 cup fresh pineapple chunks

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

• Combine strawberries, cantaloupe and pineapple in a medium-size bowl.

• Combine lime juice, honey and fresh mint in a small bowl and stir to mix well. Drizzle over fruit and toss gently to coat.

• Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information: This recipe makes 6 servings. Each serving contains approximately 52 calories and no fat.

Cabbage Slaw with Almonds

Makes 8 servings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

½ cup sliced almonds

8 cups slaw mix

• Combine oil, sugar, vinegar and almonds in a small bowl and mix well to make dressing.

• Place slaw mix in a large bowl. Pour dressing over slaw mix and toss to coat.

• Refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour to allow flavors to blend. Stir again just before serving.

Nutrition Information: This recipe makes 8 servings. Each serving contains approximately 97 calories and 7 grams fat.

Learn with Lunch

Becky will teach Learn with Lunch and Brunch classes at noon Tuesday at the Buy For Less in Midwest City; at noon June 25 at the 2500 N. Pennsylvania location and at 9:30 a.m. June 19 at Uptown Grocery Co. in Edmond. Class size is limited, call 302-6273 ext. 332 for reservations.


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