Healthy Food Substitutions for Summer Picnics

Enjoy the culinary delights of the barbecue without paying with your health.

Summertime conjures up images of fresh fruit, iced tea and other cool treats. Instead, we find ourselves pigging out on burgers and soda, then regretting it later. Avoid the sodium, trans fats (cholesterol) and sugar of many summer favorites by trying these substitutions.

Instead of beef products…
Turkey dogs, chicken sausages and veggie burgers are healthy alternatives to red meat and beef. Recipes for bean burgers abound and have satisfying flavor and texture.

Instead of barbecue sauce…
Most barbecue sauces contain loads of sugar. Instead, grill some flavorful veggies and fruit to pile on your main course. Tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms and onions are just a few options. Spice-encrusted meat adds sophistication to ordinary grill recipes.

Barbeque foods are often paired with fatty, salty condiments and sides that put on pounds. Check out these suggestions.

Instead of potato salad…
Use low-fat mayo or, better yet, dilute mayo with plain yogurt. Spinach or mixed greens smothered in pesto and whole wheat pasta salad tossed with a vinaigrette are your best bets for high fiber content and low cholesterol.

Instead of potato chips and sour cream dip…
Hunt the supermarket aisles for baked sweet potato chips or pita crisps, light on the salt. Skip the the onion dip; stir grated garlic, lemon juice and your favorite spices into Greek yogurt and dig in. Hummus and guacamole are big crowd pleasers and are packed with nutrients, especially when homemade.

Instead of sweet tea, lemonade or ice cream…
Offer pure fruit smoothies or freeze fruit juice into ice cubes to add flavor to your water. Use sweet fruits and berries as your dessert.

Make a resolution to stay healthy this summer and stick with it. Think before you eat! Call Denton Regional Medical Center to find a physician at 1-855-477-DRMC (3762) or learn more about our services by visiting us online.

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