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

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

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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