Over the years, especially these past few when I’ve been a nutrition columnist, I’ve lost my taste for much traditional backyard barbecue fare. The gloppy potato salads, the greasy burgers, the fatty desserts don’t appeal to me any more. But I don’t want to be a barbecue snob; nor do I want to be one of those people who nibble on carrot sticks throughout the festivities.
So I was happy to get the chance to talk with registered dietitian, cookbook author and Food Network star Ellie Krieger this week. Krieger, known for finding better-for-you versions of foods you love, gave me lots of great ideas for 4th of July cookouts featuring foods that are yummy without being too high in calories and fat. You can see her suggestions in this week’s “Eat, Drink and Be Healthy” column.
When I was preparing to write that column, I touched base with Danielle Omar, a Fairfax, Virginia-based nutritionist who two years ago helped me craft a day’s diet that met all the requirements of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Omar was off on vacation, but she was happy to share her prime directives for healthful summer-holiday dining. As this attests, she’s big on grilling miniature bell peppers these days. Beyond that, she suggests:
My best tip for grilling is to season! Without salt, pepper and other herbs and spices you really don't get the flavor that makes grilled food so tasty. Also, the antioxidants in herbs like rosemary, basil, and thyme can help decrease the negative effects of grilling meats at high temps.
I imagine some of you Checkup readers have tackled the challenge of preparing delicious — but healthful — summer cookout meals. Please take a moment to share some of your secrets. I haven’t planned my 4th of July feast yet; I may just incorporate your suggestions!