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Summer in Savannah means sometimes-annoying heat and humidity, but it also brings the fun of picnics, backyard parties, and family BBQs.

Like all Southern traditions, food is front and center – and plentiful. Food is love, friends and family are love, so more food for friends and family is often deemed better.

Unfortunately, many of our favorite Southern foods contain a lot of unhealthy, saturated “bad” fat that contributes to Chatham County’s collective weight being far greater than what is healthy for all of us.

Small steps are the key to making healthy changes over time. Here are a few small steps you can take:

• Eat fruits and vegetables every day. They taste extra good when they’re fresh.

• Take time to plan meals. That reduces the temptation to grab unhealthy food when you’re hungry.

• Add whole grain breads and cereals to your meals. For example, try sprinkling rolled oats on yogurt or add rolled oats to ground turkey when making meatballs.

• Watch how much you eat. At restaurants, you might be served an unhealthy amount of food. That doesn’t mean you have to eat all that food, right then! Share your order with a friend or take the extra home.

• Drink more water. Try adding some lemon, lime, cucumber, or mint to flavor your water – and if you want to try sparkling water, go for it. Make it fun!

• Choose lower fat proteins, such as chicken without skin, and limit fried foods by enjoying baked potatoes with salsa rather than French fries.

• Think moderation, not deprivation. When the potluck picnic table offers your VFF (Very Favorite Food), help yourself to a reasonable serving and savor the taste.

The Canyon Ranch Institute Savannah Partnership (CRISP) is dedicated to helping everyone in our community live a healthier life. You can join us by choosing one of these healthy recipes for your next summer party or family meal.

The following recipes were prepared by the Canyon Ranch Culinary Team and are used with permission.

HOMESTYLE BBQ SAUCE

Use this tangy BBQ sauce on chicken without the skin, your favorite steamed fish, tofu, or lean pork tenderloin.

Servings: 16 (2 tablespoons each)

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 50

Sodium 49 mg

Fat Trace

Cholesterol 0 mg

Protein Trace

Carbohydrates 13 grams

Fiber Trace

Ingredients:

½ cup diced onions

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 ½ teaspoons chili powder

½ cup brewed coffee

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

½ cup beer

1 ½ tablespoons molasses

1 ½ cups low-sodium ketchup

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

½ teaspoon liquid smoke

Instructions:

1. Lightly coat a small sauté pan with canola oil. Sauté onion and garlic over medium heat until soft and slightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until sauce begins to thicken, about 5 to 10 minutes.

POTATO & LEMON DILL POTATO SALAD

Servings: 16 (1/2 cup each)

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 110

Sodium 133 mg.

Fat 4 grams

Cholesterol 8 mg.

Protein 2 grams

Carbohydrates 16 grams

Fiber 1 gram

Ingredients:

3 pounds red bliss potatoes

1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions*

3/4 cup low-fat sour cream

1/4 cup canola oil mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons freshly chopped dill

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

*Substitute Vidalia onion chopped small if you prefer a more "onion-ey" taste.

Instructions:

1. Quarter the red bliss potatoes and place in a steamer basket in a large saucepan. Steam over boiling water for 10 to 20 minutes or until cooked through. Cool completely.

2. In a large bowl, mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper. Add the potatoes and scallions and toss until potatoes are well coated.

GEORGIA PEACH COBBLER

Servings: 12

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 170

Sodium 266 mg

Fat 8 grams

Cholesterol 21 mg

Protein 3 grams

Carbohydrates 23 grams

Fiber 1 gram

Ingredients: Biscuits:

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup whole-wheat flour

1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt

4 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

1/3 cup low-fat cream cheese

¾ cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons heavy cream

3 tablespoons cane sugar

1½ pounds fresh peaches, peeled and sliced

1 teaspoon orange peel

½ cup heavy cream

Instructions:

1. Lightly coat a baking sheet with canola oil spray. In a large mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients.

2. Cut butter and cream cheese into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter. Add buttermilk and mix with a fork until just combined.

3. Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently just until dough forms. Roll out dough to ¾-inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cutter, form 12 biscuits and arrange about 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Place biscuits in refrigerator until completely chilled.

4. Preheat oven to 400F.

5. Remove biscuits from refrigerator and lightly brush tops with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.

6. In a large bowl, toss together peaches and orange peel. Evenly divide peaches between 12 8-ounce ramekins. Place 1 biscuit on top of peaches. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until biscuit is golden brown.

7. Pour heavy cream into a small bowl and whip with electric mixer on high until stiff peaks form.

8. Garnish each cobbler with 1 tablespoon whipped cream.

Note: Using ramekins is a great way to develop a sense of the amount of the dessert in a single serving.

More by Kelly Shannon

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