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Wed, July 08

Guest column: Summer means healthy, good eating

Friday, June 21 marked the beginning of summer, a season full of family, fun, long hot days, barbecues and food and beverages galore. All that food and drink can wreak havoc on our diets and our waistlines. The good news is, it doesn't have to. Why not make healthier options available for yourself and your guests?

Always choose 80-90% lean ground beef (grass fed is best because it does not contain hormones or antibiotics) for your burgers. Lean ground turkey makes a great tasting low fat burger. Be creative when mixing your fresh ground meats. You can add Dijon mustard, onions, fresh garlic, and a small amount of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. For a no carb option, wrap your burgers in romaine or iceberg lettuce with all the veggies you want. For a light bread option, try Ezekiel 4:9 Prophet's pocket bread. Remember to always choose sprouted whole grain wheat buns over white flour enriched buns.

Another summertime favorite is the all American hot dog! Believe me, there are healthier options you can choose in the hot dog department. Look for pure beef hot dogs that are free from antibiotics, hormones, and nitrates. You should be able to read the ingredients label and know exactly what each ingredient is. Again, choose the healthier sprouted whole grain hot dog buns.

Stay away from the side salads that are made with mayonnaise. A healthier option for potato, macaroni and all other salads is to use 0 percent Greek yogurt or extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar instead of mayonnaise.

Although alcohol should only be consumed in moderation, there are some options for cocktails that will help cut calories and sugars while you sip them in the warm weather with family and friends. Stay away from store bought mixers that are filled with sugar. Instead, use freshly squeezed lime juice, honey and pure orange extract to make a perfect guilt-free margarita. For a light summer spritzer try one ounce of your favorite wine mixed with Perrier water. You can even muddle the wine and Perrier with fresh fruits and herbs to create a tantalizing treat for your taste buds. Five of these cocktails equal only one glass of wine. Amazing!

Most importantly, enjoy your summer! Make the time to spend time with your loved ones and create wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. There is no better time than now to get outside. Take a leisure walk with the family, friends and your four-legged friends. If you can, get your heart rate elevated by walking at a faster pace or a slow paced jog. Aim for at least 30-45 minutes a day.

Here are a couple of recipes for you to enjoy this summer:

Skinny Orange Rita

1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons honey

1/8 teaspoon pure orange extract

Ice

Shake well in shaker cup until honey is dissolved. Serve over ice and make sure to skip the salt! Your heart will appreciate it because salt makes you retain water.

Red Potato Salad

4 cups red potatoes, cut in small pieces

2 hard boiled eggs, diced (optional)

1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely diced

1/4 cup red onion, finely diced

3 scallions, diced

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp 0 percent Greek yogurt

dash of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Boil potatoes in lightly salted water until cooked through and soft. Drain and let cool.

While the potatoes are boiling, combine the red onion, green pepper, mustard, olive oil, vinegar and 0 percent Greek yogurt, season with salt and pepper. Mix well and let set while the potatoes cook. Once the potatoes are done and cool, mix together and add the scallions and additional sea salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to serve.

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