Note: The following is one of a series of articles from the Canyon Ranch Institute dedicated to showing people how to live healthier and encouraging folks to take small steps to adjust their lifestyle.
Summer in southeast Georgia 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 often is deemed better.
Unfortunately, many of our favorite Southern foods often contain a lot of unhealthy, saturated “bad” fat that contributes to the area’s collective weight being far greater than what is healthy for all of us. Fortunately, summer also means fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful and affordable. So, let’s blend the joy of summertime socials with making healthy choices.
Making a healthy change, even a small one, takes a little planning. Small steps are key to making healthy changes over time and are necessary to create a healthier you. 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, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat all that food right then. Share your order with a friend, or take the extra home for another meal. That’s also a way to save money.
• 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.
• 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 very favorite food, help yourself to a reasonable serving and savor the taste. Do not deny yourself joy in food, but do politely decline too much food.
The Canyon Ranch Institute Savannah Partnership, or CRISP, is dedicated to helping everyone in our community live a healthier life. You can join them by choosing one of these healthy recipes for your next summer party or family meal. Take a small step toward better health today!
Potato and Lemon Dill Potato Salad
Servings: 16 (1/2 cup each)
3 pounds red potatoes
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions or chopped Vidalia onion
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
Quarter the red 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.
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.
Nutrition information per serving: 110 calories; 4 g fat;
8 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 133 mg sodium.
Georgia Peach Cobbler
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
4 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1/3 cup low-fat cream cheese
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons cane sugar
1 1/2 pounds fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon orange peel
1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with canola oil spray. In a large mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients.
Cut butter and cream cheese into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter. Add buttermilk and mix with a fork until just combined.
Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently just until dough forms. Roll out dough to 3/4-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.
Remove biscuits from refrigerator and lightly brush tops with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.
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 biscuits are golden brown.
Pour heavy cream into a small bowl and whip with electric mixer on high until stiff peaks form. Garnish each cobbler with 1 tablespoon whipped cream.
Nutrition information per serving: 170 calories; 8 g fat; 21 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 1 g fiber; 266 mg sodium.
Kim Floyd, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.; Joycelyn Cornthwaite, M.S., R.D., L.D., CDE; and Kelly Shannon work with the Canyon Ranch Institute. If you're interested in joining the effort to create a healthier community, call CRI in Savannah at (912) 443-3264, tweet @CRIHealthyWorld or email CRI@canyonranchinstitute.org.