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Put a fresh twist on your classic "Fourth of July" American picnic fare

July 02, 2015
Burgers on a barbeque

SPRINGFIELD - The weather looks good for the three-day Fourth of July holiday, and with no rain in sight, that means family picnics aplenty in backyards and parks across the country.

Grills will be covered with all-American foods like hot dogs and hamburgers cooking over the open fire, and bowls (being kept cool to prevent spoilage) will be filled with mayonnaise-laden cole slaw and (high carb) potato and macaroni salads. And, don’t forget the fried chicken.

Many will also celebrate our nation’s birthday with an ice cold beer or two, while others will down sugary sodas, lemonade and sweet tea to keep cool and quench their thirst.

And, to top it all off, the ultimate home baked all-American dessert – apple pie.

It’s a one-day weight watcher’s nightmare. But, it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of ways to enjoy picnicking without taking a day off from eating right and watching your waistline.

Sheila Sullivan, rdrd, a registered dietitian in Food and Nutrition Services at Baystate Medical Center offers the following healthful and helpful tips to consider, while still enjoying a “tasteful” Fourth of July feast:

  • Have a variety of burgers on your grill. Along with lean ground beef, offer your guests turkey burgers and veggie burgers.
  • Grill your vegetables! Brush olive oil and seasonings on your favorite vegetables such as summer squash, red, green, and yellow peppers, and onions, skewer and grill.
  • Rather than having all heavily mayo’d salads, use a small amount of olive oil dressing on your vegetable salads. In addition, add a fresh fruit salad to the table.
  • For dessert, try angel food cake with fresh strawberries topped with vanilla Greek yogurt.