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.
Using a food thermometer when cooking meat, poultry or fish to be sure it reaches a safe minimum internal temperature is the key to reduce the risk of food poisoning. Also keep raw meat, poultry, seafood and their raw juices separate from ready-to-eat foods such as fruits and vegetables. Always use separate plates, cooking utensils and cutting boards when handling the raw and cooked food.
Here are some flavorful summer side dishes to perfectly complement his main dish grilled choice.
Grilled fruits and vegetables are great summer sides and add color and flavor as well as a variety of nutrients. One way to do this is to make vegetable and/or fruit kabobs with red, yellow, orange or green bell pepper pieces, cherry tomatoes, pineapple chunks, onion wedges, mushrooms and other favorites.
Simply thread on skewers, baste with a little olive oil with or without your favorite seasoning and grill over medium heat 12 to 15 minutes until tender.
This is a great way to make add fruits and vegetables to his plate.
Grilled onions and mushrooms are also a great topping for steaks, chops, chicken breasts, burgers and some seafood.
Grilled fruit such as sliced pineapple, mango chunks and peach halves can be prepared by grilling on low heat until the fruit is hot and slightly golden. Serve with a spoonful of vanilla fat-free yogurt and a sprinkling of toasted almonds.
Of course, fresh watermelon slices are a great side also.
Here are three great summer side dishes that are delicious with most anything cooked on the grill.
Corn Salad with Fresh Basil
Makes 6 servings
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
• 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 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 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
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½ cup sliced almonds
8 cups slaw mix
• 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.