The sun is finally shining and the warm weather promises to put us all in a better mood. Just in time for Memorial Day and the celebrations that typically accompany this holiday. Many families will be celebrating Memorial Day with picnics, outdoor grilling and other gatherings with food. This Memorial Day, it is possible to enjoy your culinary creations and be healthy. Here are a few tips:
- Kabobs. You can pre-assemble kabobs that have red peppers or cherry tomatoes; green pepper, yellow or orange peppers. You can also use big chunks of celery, onions, mushroom, squash and other vegetables. Spritz some olive oil before grilling and enjoy the wonders of grilled vegetables. You can grill zucchini, eggplant and even fennel bulbs.
- Choose lean protein. You may choose to add some protein to your kabobs such as chicken, fish or extra firm tofu. Shrimp are an awesome addition to your kabobs, just be aware that they will cook much faster than your veggies or other lean protein.
- Fun with fruit. Try adding fruit to your kabobs. Try watermelon (yes, watermelon), peaches or nectarines, mango or pineapple. They will add a little sweetness and lots of flavor to your kabobs. Strawberries can be grilled too, but they take just a few seconds at best to cook.
- Be corny. Grilled corn is so good! According to Bobby Flay (a well known chef), the best way to grill corn is to pull down (but do not tear off) the outer husks of the corn. Strip away the silk and fold back the husks. Place ears of corn in a large bowl of cold water with 1 tablespoon of salt. Let soak for at least 10 minutes. Remove corn from water and shake off excess. Place corn on the grill and close the cover. Grill for 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Remove husks just prior to eating.
- Fruity sauces. Puree apples, berries, peaches, mangos or pears in a blender for a thick, sweet sauce to use on grilled or broiled seafood or poultry. Try marinating your chicken kabob with a sweet fruit marinade. Pineapple contains a natural meat tenderizer so you can use pureed pineapple to marinate your meats.
- Smoothies. Use fruit, yogurt and natural juices to create your own fruity concoctions. Add spinach, kale or carrots too for a super power smoothie, an alternative to sodas.
However you enjoy celebrating Memorial Day, keep in mind this holiday is about respect, honoring those that have served and spending time with family. Make it a safe one!
Submitted by Julia Salomon, nutrition educator and corporate dietitian.