Diabetes and Nutrition
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Memorial Day weekend gives us a chance to reflect and celebrate. For many, it’s the unofficial start of summer, complete with the sound of splashing from opened pools and the smells of fired-up grills.
And this Memorial Day, as we slowly move beyond the pandemic, people are ready to gather and enjoy some delicious food. How can you be mindful of your health while also enjoying your Memorial Day meal to the fullest?
Use the grill to your advantage
Alicia Buterbaugh, a licensed dietitian, says to spice up healthier options on the grill. A certified diabetes and education specialist (CDCES), Buterbaugh recommends focusing on lean meats and even plant-based eating.
“We have all had corn on the grill, but what about portobello mushrooms, vegetarian tacos, or polenta with grilled zucchini and summer squash?” Buterbaugh asks. “Grilling can add depth of flavor to ingredients you can get from your own garden.”
Grilling food offers great health benefits:
- It lets excess fat drip off the grates, so you consume less fat.
- It helps vegetables and meats retain more of their nutrients.
- It gives food a rich flavor, helping you cut back on unhealthy flavor enhancers like salt and butter.
Choose lean meats and veggies
Thinking about grilling meat? Stick to lean meats like skinless chicken and fish. For extra flavor, Buterbaugh recommends using a marinade that includes garlic, spices, and other herbs.
If your heart is set on burgers and hot dogs—and who can blame you—there are healthier (and still tasty) alternatives. Consider low-fat turkey or chicken, bean burgers, or veggie dogs.
Instead of chips, mac and cheese, and fries as the typical sides, consider vegetables as a healthy alternative for tasty sides. Throw them on the grill for added flavor.
Buterbaugh says not to worry if you are uncertain about any of these recommendations.
“If you are new to some of these ideas, a quick internet search will lead you to recipes for grilled romaine lettuce, grilled peaches, and grilled tomatoes that you can use in a salsa or even use to make tomato soup,” she says.
You can still enjoy your holiday while being good to yourself and your body.
Want more advice? Talk to your doctor or a licensed dietician who can get you on the right track for eating healthy.