The Rapidian

A Memorial Day your health will remember

One of the top three cook-out days of the year, Memorial Day is a day to celebrate outdoors with family, food and friends. You can make your celebration fun AND Healthy by making a few simple choices.

Focusing on Healthy Living

Being healthy means more than simply being physically active. It’s about maintaining a balanced spirit, mind and body. The Y is a place where you can work toward that balance by challenging yourself to learn a new skill or hobby, fostering connections with friends through our lifelong learning programs, or bringing your loved ones closer together through our many family-centered activities. At the Y, it’s not about the activity you choose as much as it is about the benefits of living healthier on the inside as well as the outside.

One of the top three cook-out days of the year, Memorial Day is a day to celebrate outdoors with family, food and friends. You can make your celebration fun AND Healthy by making a few simple choices.

Preparing simple, tasty picnic fare from home is a good way to avoid the extra fats, calories and sodium found in convenience foods.

Make your side dishes green… and red, orange, yellow, purple and more by serving green leafy salads or fruit salads. A combination of baby spinach or mixed greens tossed with fresh fruit and a light vinaigrette is a simple and healthy alternative to mayonnaise-based salads. Pre-packaged pasta and potato salads in the deli section are loaded with fat and sodium. Make your own at home by tossing whole wheat pasta or red skinned potatoes with broccoli, tomatoes, fresh basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Proper handling methods are a must. Food borne illnesses can really spoil a Memorial Day cook-out. Keep your food safe by transporting your cold foods in a cooler filled with ice to ensure the temperature is at or below 41°F. Cold foods are safe to eat for up to six hours as long as the temperature never exceeds 70°F. Once it reaches either of those limits, throw it out. Unless you have a way to keep hot food at 135°F or higher, stop serving and throw it out after 4 hours.

Fire-up a healthier grill

Simple swaps such as turkey brats, skinless chicken or lean, beef-cuts can reduce fats and calories (pork brats: 25 grams fat and 283 calories; turkey brats: 10 grams fat and 170 calories). While 100% whole grain buns have the same calorie count as white, you reap the energy of increased protein, fiber, B vitamins and iron.

Try grilling fruits like pineapple slices, nectarines, peaches or plums – the natural sugars caramelize with the heat and give them great flavor.  Fruits are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber – and they’re low in calories.

A healthier cook-out provides long-term benefits and short-term success. Happy cooking! For more ideas on how you can prepare a healthier Memorial Day celebration, contact [email protected].

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