Fourth of July BBQ “Re-do”

Grilling season is upon us! The weather is warm, families are enjoying the time outside, spring/summer produce is almost at is peak. With this, many take advantage of the season and turn to meal preparation outside. Though the grill can be a fantastic way to prepare foods, it also can be a trap for “un-heart healthy” options. This year, when planning your Fourth of July BBQ, think of it as a BBQ Re-do. Rather than continue the typical favorites with mayonnaise-based salads and high-fat meats, use these tips from FEED.

When we think about those beloved outdoor parties, we may think about mouth-watering grilled burgers, brats, and hot dogs. The beauty of the grill is that it can infuse its unmistakable smoky flavor into any protein you like! Here are some tips for healthy summer grilling:

Look for Lean – Choose beef that is at least 85% lean. Mix in various spices and fresh herbs and create a flavor explosion!. Your guests won’t even know they are eating a low-fat version.
Go for the Gobble – Turkey burgers are great grilling choices; they are lower in fat than beef, but look out for brands that are high in sodium.
Work in the Whole Grains – Rather than the traditional white buns, provide your guests with whole grain buns and bread choices. Look for dietary fiber > 3g per serving. Choose high fiber sides such as whole grain pasta, brown rice, or quinoa; check out our recipe for fiber-filled Quinoa and Black Bean Salad.
Swap the Sides – Summer is time to choose tons of veggie and fruit toppings in various colors. Try foods such as jalapenos, avocado (heart-healthy fat), banana peppers, sautéed mushrooms, and cucumbers to complement your grilled meats. Additionally, use your grill to make sides such as grilled red onion, bell peppers, and even fruits such as peaches, pineapple, papaya, and mango.
Feast on Fish – Rather than the traditional hot dogs and hamburgers for your Fourth of July Feast, choose fresh salmon, halibut, or even tilapia or cod. Use cedar planks or wrap your fish in foil for a heart-healthy BBQ swap.

Attending a party, and not be bringing your own food? Never fear! Use these tips to reduce your calories, but still enjoy the holiday.

Pick the Poultry – Choose grilled chicken breast rather than a beef burger
Have only Half – Split your burger in half and fill the rest of your plate with fruits and veggies. You will still feel included in the festivities without totally derailing your diet.
Create a Color Collage – Load up your plate with fiber-packed veggies like grilled bell peppers and broccoli and antioxidant-rich fruits like blueberries and strawberries to create a rainbow of superfoods! Your body will thank you!
Fill up on Fresh – Eat fresh fruits until you feel full to prevent dominating the desserts! Fruits fill you up, with fewer calories, because of their high water content, and they contain fiber that will keep you feeling full throughout the evening.

BBQ’s do not have to include noshing on foods high in sugar and fat, causing you to fast for weeks to get “back on track.” Use these tips from FEED and conquer the curse of the summer holidays!

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

1 1/2 cups pre-rinsed quinoa
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed if using canned beans
1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups cooked corn (cut from about 2 large ears)
3/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
2 TBSP fresh chopped Italian parsley

For dressing
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

In a saucepan of salted boiling water cook quinoa for 10 minutes. Drain quinoa in sieve and rinse under cold water. Set sieve over a saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam quinoa, covered with a kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes (check water level in kettle occasionally, adding water if necessary).

While quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl, toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to
taste.Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and cool. Add beans, corn, bell pepper, parsley and coriander and toss well.

Make dressing: In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, and cumin and add oil in a stream, whisking. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.

Lara Field MS, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian and Specialist in Pediatrics with over a decade of clinical and client experience. When she’s not actively working to keep her clients healthy, she’s a busy mother of two active boys and loves testing new recipes in her kitchen. Follow her on Instagram to see her recipe ideas, product suggestions, and see how she manages a healthy lifestyle @larafield.