Memorial Day is fast approaching. It’s a day set aside to honor the men and women who died in military service. As we anticipate the beginning of lazy summer days at the beach, hot dogs on the grill, late nights and frozen treats, many communities celebrate the festivities with picnics. If you aren’t careful, you could easily eat a day – or more – worth of fat and calories in just one meal. Take this easy quiz and see how knowledgeable you are when it comes to making healthy choices at your picnic.
1.) I want to have a yummy, yet low-fat main dish. Which is a better choice?
- A grilled hot dog on a bun
- An eight-ounce hamburger on a bun
- Two chicken drumsticks with skin
Answer: All three choices have over 300 calories. Remove the skin from the chicken legs, lose the bun from the plain burger, or bring your own chicken breast to grill. There are also low-fat hot dogs, veggie dogs, veggie burgers and turkey burgers that make delicious meals.
2.) My side dish choice should be:
- Potato salad
- Three-bean salad
Answer: Choose the three-bean salad. Higher in fiber and flavor, thanks to the vinaigrette, three-bean salad is lower in calories, since it has no mayonnaise. A creamy salad is most often a higher calorie choice.
3.) The lowest-calorie condiment for my hot dog is:
Answer: Ketchup has the most calories, with an ounce being almost 30 calories. Sweet pickle relish (the most popular) has about 20 calories for a tablespoon (you tend to put more on than mustard or ketchup). But, French’s mustard has zero calories for a teaspoon serving. The key, as always is watch your portion sizes.
4.) No picnic is complete without a sweet. Should you choose:
- An ice cream sandwich
- Two Rocket popsicles
- One slice of chocolate cake
No question – choose the popsicles. Although they are empty of nutrition, each popsicle contains about 40 calories and takes a long time to eat, helping to satisfy your cravings.
If you are attending a Memorial Day picnic, plan to bring along some foods that are healthier choices to share. Carrot sticks and hummus, baked tortilla chips and salsa, cold sliced watermelon, and corn on the cob (no butter!) are all great choices.