And most of us are going to barbeques, picnics, parties and potlucks this summer. However I also cannot tell you how often I have individuals who come to tell me about the restrictions they are putting on themselves when attending summer parties, out of fear of “blowing their diet.” Or, they avoid eating at these functions because of the guilt factor. Ie. I am a diet, so all these foods are off limits.
I think it’s because I am a dietitian, which has the word “diet” in it - others assume that I will praise them for going carb-free/fat-free/dairy-free/paleo/all-natural/whole 30/wheat-free/GMO-free/meat-free/sugar-free/fruitarian/salt-free*… etc. And I don’t usually do.
*Note: These restrictions are not necessary poor choices. Some people have diets they need to follow for real, diagnosed medical reasons. However, there are many individuals who may be misinformed about what is healthy for them due to the plethora of nutrition information on the Internet. As a licensed registered dietitian, apart of my role to help clear up any misinformation people hear.
So, for Hamburger Day on July 28th, I share some helpful tips and tricks for you to have delicious, but still healthier bbqs and summer parties. In case you cannot catch my TV segment, or you prefer reading over watching a video, here are the tips below:
1. Start With Veggies
Think vegetables are boring? Think again!
Vegetables taste fantastic when grilled, with just a few simple ingredients. Here is an easy method to enjoy more vegetables off the grill [RECIPE]. I like using bell peppers, zucchini and eggplant. Chop them large enough so they do not fall through the barbeque grates.
Brush your vegetables with canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I like using canola oil for its heart healthy monounsaturated fat profile and high smoke point of 242°C, which makes it great for grilling! You can also read more about canola oil for grilling here.
Grill until they have nice grill marks, about 3-5 minutes per side.
You can also use asparagus, like here:
RECIPE: Grilled Asparagus
2. Try Lighter, Made-Over Traditional BBQ Sides
Here is a made-over, Asian-style coleslaw that I discuss on the show. Using canola oil, and made with Chinese cabbage, this unique slaw is a lighter, and more creative way to enjoy more vegetables on Hamburger Day. Because canola oil has a neutral taste, the bold Asian flavours of this dish really shine through! Get the Asian-Style Cabbage Slaw here.
RECIPE: Asian-Style Cabbage Slaw
3. Fill Half Your Plate With Veggies
Here is a tip that works for both adults and children:
Think of your plate like a clock. Fill 12:00 – 6:00 with vegetables.
4. Make Your Own Hamburgers
Tip #1: Use Lean Ontario Ground Beef
Lean Ontario beef has nutrients that we need every day, including high quality protein to help build and repair your body; iron for oxygen-carrying red blood cells; zinc for repair and growth and vitamin B12 to form DNA.
I find lean ground beef works very well for hamburgers. It is not too lean (like extra lean) and still has enough fat so it does not sacrifice flavour.
Tip #2: Use Canadian Mushrooms
Nutritionally, mushrooms contain B vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid; minerals such as selenium, copper, and potassium; both soluble and insoluble fibre and vitamin D!
Tip #3: Blend and Extend with Beef + Mushrooms 50/50
Finely chopped mushrooms look similar and blend seamlessly with ground beef, so classics can be satisfying without losing taste or sacrificing texture!
RECIPE: Blended Classic Beef Burgers
Find the recipe for this nutritious technique from my TV segment on Classic Beef Burgers here.
Nutritionally, mushrooms + beef are a powerful combination, providing important nutrients like iron, zinc, vitamin D, potassium, B vitamins and the antioxidants selenium and ergothioneine.
For more information on the Blend and Extend with Ontario Beef and Canada Mushrooms, check out blendandextend.ca.
For Vegetarians and Vegans, try Mushroom Burgers!
With one more month of summer to go, you got to make the most of grilling season! I hope these tips and techniques will help you have healthier Hamburger Day!