Summer Indulgence

Summer has officially arrived, which means backyard barbeques and weekend picnics. Put a fresh, healthy spin on these summer classics by modifying ingredients to bolster nutrition and reduce extra calories:

Fried chicken. A finger-licking mainstay, this battered bird is hefty when it comes to salt, trans-fats, and calories. Instead of take-out, make it at home. Crush up whole grain crackers or stale whole grain bread, mix with flaxseed, ground nuts, and your favorite seasonings, and sprinkle over egg-washed poultry. Bake rather than fry.

Potato salad. A creamy side favorite, potato salad isn’t friendly to your waistline. But substitute Dijon mustard and yogurt for mayonnaise and throw in a few veggies (try diced bell peppers, onions, and celery) to cut fat and calories while enhancing nutrition power. Kick up the spice with curry or cayenne pepper — a natural decongestant and pain reliever thought to reduce infections and aid cardiovascular health.

Cheeseburgers. A juicy burger may be delicious, but not necessarily nutritious. Swap out the beef with leaner ground turkey breast. Stick to whole wheat buns, and skip the normal condiments. Opt instead for salsa, which not only adds zest but infuses your patty with lycopene, vitamin C, and chili capsaicin — thought to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

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