Appetizers and finger foods can be the most exciting part of a meal – sometimes they even steal the show from the main dish itself. In the summertime, chips and dips might be convenient but they aren’t always the healthiest pair.
Next time you need a healthier appetizer or hors d’oeuvre, ditch the bag of chips and store-bought salsa and make slimmer versions of your favorite meal starters.
Instead of Ranch or Onion Dip…
Blue Cheese Dip. Most prepackaged dips and mixes have a lot of calories, fat, sodium and even sugar. Making your own, especially one perfect for the Atkins Diet, is a healthier alternative to your store-bought standby.
It’s that time of year – time to break out the barbecue and invite your friends and neighbors over for a cookout. Spring and summer are prime time for great food, good friends – and great food to celebrate the warm weather.
Of course, we all know that with summer on the horizon, bathing suit season is just around the corner. Don’t undo all of the hard work you’ve done at the gym this year. To keep your diet balanced, celebrity nutritionist Carl Germano, RD, CDN, shared five simple swaps to keep you eating great tasting foods – and looking and feeling great.
Instead of: Beef Burger or Sliders with Cheese
Try: Turkey Sliders with sliced tomato
Ground turkey breast is leaner than most types of ground beef and sliced tomato will offer a powerful punch of lycopene – without the saturated fat in most cheeses. If you must have cheese, try a sprinkling of feta, which is lower in fat and calories than most varieties.
Wisconsin might be known for its cheese production but there is more to the Badger State than saturated fat. With the Green Bay Packers taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers in this weekend’s Super Bowl, waist watching Wisconsin fans are probably racking their brains to develop Super Bowl menus that don’t revolve around the words cheddar, Swiss and Roquefort.
Though cheese is certainly a staple in many game day dishes, you don’t have to go queso-crazy this week if you’re a Packers fan looking to pay homage to your favorite team. We did some digging and found a handful of recipes and snack suggestions to help you root for Aaron Rodgers and his clan without having to spend the rest of the week on a treadmill.
Fall and winter mean a lot of things, but amidst all the holiday talk we can’t forget about tailgate parties! The typical football-party fare is filled with calories but you can pull it all together and leave many of those calories behind! Don’t forget that when you make your own food, you control what goes into each recipe!
Chips and dip can be slimmed down with a few tricks.
- When making dips, avoid using mayonnaise, cream cheese and sour cream. I like to substitute greek yogurt in my recipes and most people hardly know the difference. Guacamole, salsa, and hummus are all delicious, healthy and easy to make!
- Serve your homemade dips with crudites instead of chips. Carrots, celery, cucumber, bell peppers and other crunchy veggies can be just as fun to dip and dunk!
- If you’re surrounded by the vegetable-wary, just make sure you buy baked chips. Go one step further (and that much closer to healthy hors d’oeuvres) by making your own. Buy pita bread, cut it into small triangles, add some seasoning and bake them. It’s simple and you can control how much salt you add.
Alcohol plays a big part at football parties, but it also plays a big part in ruining diets.
- Blue Moon is a good craft beer that’s relatively low in calories at only about 100 calories per serving.
- Lime and orange slices go a long way to improve the taste of light beer.
- Instead of using traditional mixers for cocktails, consider making your own and using less sugar. I found the simple combination of orange-flavored vodka mixed with some sparkling water and a Crystal Light packet to be surprisingly delicious.
Main courses pack a huge calorie-punch because of all the carbs and fats that are usually included. Instead of blowing your diet, keep in mind:
- Anything made with beef (tacos, burgers, chili and steak) can be made with bison meat as a lower fat, higher protein option.
- Turkey and tofu are also good alternatives. Turkey dogs, tofu dogs and low-sodium, nitrate-free hot dogs are all available at most grocery stores.
- If your meal includes carbs such as rice, noodles, buns or rolls be sure you go for the 100% whole wheat options.
Some healthy tailgating recipes to try:
Turkey and Black Bean Chili
Italian Turkey Burgers
Jillian Michael’s Guacamole
Roasted Red Pepper Dip
Apple Cinnamon Fruit Dip
Easy Baked Beans
I’m sure most Americans had a hot dog yesterday. Some might have had two. Joey Chestnut? He ate 54. In just ten minutes at the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, he stepped up to the table and won once again by consuming 54 hot dogs (with buns) in the time it takes to cook a few on the grill.
There’s one word to sum up this gastronomic spectacle: gross.
There’s also one number to sum it up: 16,052.
That’s the number of calories consumed in 54 Nathan’s hot dogs and 54 buns. That’s more than eight days worth of calories. (more…)
Still think you can’t afford to eat healthy? Think again! Hands down one of my greatest pet peeves is when people say they can’t afford to eat healthy. Whether it’s choosing a $1 candy bar in lieu of a 17 cent banana or buying a $3 coffee instead of a 50 cent low fat yogurt, people make food choices every day that don’t make nutrition a priority. But would you ever think that salmon, which is rich in omega-3 healthy fats to promote heart health and brain health, would be cheaper than hot dogs made with who knows what?
Check out this table that cost-compares sources of protein. Salmon comes out well above hot dogs, ground beef and ham for “cost per pound.”
I’ve got kids. We spend lots of time at the pool, which means that we spend lots of time eating at summer time barbecues. For most of my kids, just like many children in America, this means one thing – hot dogs! There’s nothing more social than a cookout, and nothing more ubiquitous than hot dogs on the grill. Yummy, easy to cook, classic, and convenient to eat. But we all know (or should know!) that they aren’t the best choice for out daily intake. So I ask, is there a way to keep them in your diet and reduce the harm? Let’s take a look. (more…)
Clearly no one signs up for an eating contest of any kind with the goal of minding their portion sizes. For participants in the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, an annual 4th of July event, the more you eat the better. Each year two men continually beat the rest of the contestants and battle it out for the infamous hot dog title.
We all know that whatever is in a hot dog is questionable, but do you think Joey Chestnut, of the U.S., and Takeu Kobayashi, of Japan, have ever stopped to read the food label on their pile of hot dogs? We think not. The folks at CalorieLab did the math and calculated exactly what the nutritional aftermath looks like when you eat 66 hot dogs on 66 buns (the total consumed by Chestnut in the 2007 event). (more…)