Megan Callahan, MS, RD, LD
Hy-Vee Corporate Registered Dietitian

June 27, 2020

It’s time to celebrate this great land we live in, the USA – and what better way to celebrate than to have a backyard barbecue? Family, friends, fireworks and – of course – food is the perfect combination as we celebrate! To help you stay on the healthy track this summer, follow these dietitian-recommended tips!

Summer is the perfect time to indulge in the “rainbow” of summer produce! With a variety of antioxidants and healthy nutrients, now is the time to dive into the all the colors of the rainbow. Here’s a quick rundown of how colors from fruits and vegetables can impact your health:

• Green: protects against cancer and maintain good cardiovascular health. Best choices: kiwi, broccoli, spinach and kale

• Orange & Yellow: healthy for the skin, strengthen the immune system and help maintain healthy vision by reducing the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Best choices: oranges, apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, corn and squash, bell peppers

• Purple/Blue: help with short-term memory loss. Best choices: blueberries, blackberries, prunes and plums

• Red: lowers the risk of prostate & ovarian cancers and cardiovascular disease. Best choices: tomatoes, watermelon, ruby red grapefruit and guava

• White/Tan/Brown: reduce the risk of cancer. Best choices: potatoes, cauliflower, mushrooms and onions.

Also, think about those side dishes, appetizers and main dishes to keep yourself on a healthy track during your backyard barbecue. Pack your cooler with crisp, raw veggies, such as cucumbers, carrots, celery, asparagus tips, cherry tomatoes and radishes or even a big leafy salad. Don’t forget dip! Hummus, salsa, fat-free bean dip or low-fat yogurt with herbs and spices make the perfect healthy dip to accompany your veggies. And explore different entrée options. Instead of a high-fat brat, try a lower-fat chicken sausage or veggie burger. Another delicious burger option would be ground buffalo, chicken or turkey.

Often the relaxed atmosphere of a backyard barbecue also includes high-calorie or alcoholic beverages. Therefore, think about choosing healthier liquid calories. When drinking beverages during your social gathering, make the majority of your liquids low- or no-calorie beverages. Water, unsweetened tea, Hy-Vee Water Coolers or Crystal Light mixes are great choices. If you consume alcohol, alternate with water and practice portion recommendations including 1 alcoholic beverage per day for women and 2 for men (a 5 oz. glass of wine is one alcoholic beverage). And last, get up and move! Move away from the food table and focus on socializing rather than eating. Take part in backyard or park activities: badminton, volleyball, horseshoes, swimming, tennis, Frisbee or simply a walk on the trail!

Grill-Roasted Potatoes and Peppers
Serves 6
All you need:
1 (1.5-lb) pkg Hy-Vee Smart Bites potatoes
2 tbsp Gustare Vita garlic flavored olive oil, divided
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp coarse-ground black pepper
1½ cups Hy-Vee Short Cuts bell pepper strips
½ tbsp garlic olive oil

All you do:

  1. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat.
  2. Microwave potatoes in their package for 5 minutes; cut potatoes in half.
  3. Drizzle potatoes with 1½ tablespoons garlic olive oil; toss. Add rosemary, sea salt and black pepper; toss to coat. Place potatoes in grill basket. Grill 3 minutes.
  4. Toss bell pepper strips with remaining ½ tablespoon olive oil. Add to basket. Grill 3 to 5 minutes more or just until peppers are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.

Recipe source: Seasons magazine June 2020 The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.