Like many American holidays, a Fourth of July celebration for many is tied to food – and usually not the nutritious kind. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In this week’s Vital Signs, Lona Sandon of UT Southwestern Medical Center shares suggestions for healthier eating with KERA’s Sam Baker, beginning with burgers and hot dogs.
Lona Sandon's Fourth of July Healthy Eating Tips
- Choose healthy meats for grilling such as salmon, tilapia, and extra lean ground beef.
- Avoid charring – charring creates HCA’s, or cancer-causing agents.
- Make your grill more colorful by adding fruit and/or vegetable kabobs
- Serve a red, white, and blue salad – strawberries, feta cheese, and blueberries atop spinach.
- Replace mayonnaise-heavy potato salad with a spiral pasta and fresh vegetable salad tossed in lightvinaigrette.
- Stay hydrated! Drink water, or create a fresh beverage by pouring sparkling water over watermelon ice cubes (frozen, pureed watermelon).
- Keep cold foods cold (under 40 degrees) by packing plenty of ice around them or keeping them in a cooler with ice.
- Cook meats to the proper temperature – typically at least 165 degrees.
- Don’t let food sit out for more than an hour in hot temperatures.
- Use clean utensils and plates for cooked food – don’t put cooked meats on the same plate used to prepare raw meat.
- Wipe down all picnic surfaces before putting food down and/or eating.
- Lona Sandon, MEd, RD – Clinical nutrition professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center
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