Canada Day often marks the start of the social summer food season! Here are 5 tips to keep your picnics, BBQ’s and get-togethers healthy and tasty.
Balance Heavier Food with Lighter Fare: If you’re a fan of BBQ’d meats such as sausage, beef burgers, ribs or marbled meats, consider pairing them with a large spinach salad or fresh grilled vegetables instead of starchier sides. If it’s a classic creamy potato salad or pasta salad you’re after, consider adding a leaner protein such as chicken or chickpeas and add lots of greens to round out the meal.
Go with the Grill: Take advantage of some healthy grill-specific foods such as:
- vegetable kebobs – skewer bell peppers, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and onions together to make a rainbow of colours on each kebab. Marinate in olive oil, italian seasoning and a dash of salt and pepper before grilling
- foil-wrapped roasted root vegetables – dice sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, carrots and/or baby potatoes and place over some tin foil. Drizzle with olive or avocado oil, garlic, salt and ground pepper. Loosely wrap the foil into a packet before placing on the grill.
- grilled fruit – slice a peach in half, take out the pit and sprinkle with a little brown sugar and cinnamon. Place cut side down on a clean grill for a few minutes until light grill marks appear on the fruit. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, yogurt or mascarpone cheese drizzled with honey
Prioritize Protein: Wild salmon or salmon burgers, chicken, turkey, bison, eggs, edamame, tofu and plant-based vegetable burgers are all excellent options. Protein helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day while providing key nutrients to optimize your health.
Smart Snacks: Bring something healthy for everybody to enjoy! Pre-cut vegetables with hummus or tzaziki, whole grain tortilla or bean chips with guacamole and salsa, popcorn, nuts, energy balls and fresh seasonal fruit like berries are all fun additions.
Timing is Everything: Keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold. Outdoor events often involve a buffet of food. How long is it safe for food to sit out? The general rule of thumb is 2 hours before foods should be put back in the fridge, cooler or freezer. When in doubt, throw it out!
For more tips on healthy summer foods and meal ideas, join our Registered Dietitians for a Nutrition Tour of your local Save-on-Foods. Nutrition Tours are for groups of 7 or more, and they are free! Submit your request at www.saveonfoods.com/nutrition-tours
Crystal Higgins, RD. Crystal has been a nutrition tour leader since the Cambie Street Save-On-Foods opened in Vancouver in 2008. She is passionate about empowering tour participants to make informed choices to select healthy foods that best fit their lifestyle. Crystal is a marathon runner and enjoys experimenting with new foods and recipes. She loves to talk about how to incorporate fresh seasonal foods, tips for weight management, eating for energy and how to make food feel good! Join her at one of the North Vancouver Save-On-Foods locations for a nutrition tour.
FB: Crystal Higgins