Game Plan: Create a tasty – and healthy – tailgating menu.
Defensive Strategy: Keep great taste without sacrificing flavor. Nothing should be so low calorie or low fat that it ends up low flavor. Tackle tasteless foods before they end up in the field of play.
Offensive Strategy: Add more nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables to dishes. Use whole grains, lean meats and boneless, skinless poultry where feasible. Focus on flavor.
Formation: Front and center with plenty of in-season apples in every dish. Apples add fiber, especially the cholesterol-lowering soluble type, as well as lots of disease-fighting antioxidants. One in particular, quercetin, is being studied extensively and may help reduce risk of some cancers and possibly even Alzheimer’s disease.
Touchdown: Traditional tailgating-favorites such as baked beans, salad and pizza filled with great taste and good health!
Game Winner: 100 percent success with Maple Apple Baked Beans, Apple Salad With Dried Cherries and Toasted Pecans and BBQ Chicken Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Apples.
Extra Points: Score extra points with your family by intercepting boring weeknight meals with these flavor- and nutrient-rich dishes.
Read on to learn smart selection and storage tips and nutritional benefits of these recipes. Click the link to view the recipe.
Maple Apple Baked Beans
• Vidalia onions are the most widely available sweet onion. Other sweet varieties include Maui, Walla Walla, Oso Sweet and Rio Sweet.
• Store fresh whole onions in a cool, dark, dry place and use within four weeks. No need to refrigerate until they’re cut. Use cut onions within three days.
• Apples absorb refrigerator odors easily, so store them in a plastic bag away from foods with strong odors.
• Choose Granny Smith, the most tart apple variety, to balance the sweet ingredients in this baked bean dish.
• Ground ancho chile pepper can be found next to all the other herbs and spices in the baking aisle.
• Apple and great northern beans both provide soluble fiber, the type that helps lower cholesterol and enhance heart health.
• Drain and rinse canned great northern beans to slash up to 40% of the salt/sodium.
• Use lots of onions in baked beans – they provide natural nutrients to fight heart disease, cancer and help keep your bones healthy.
Apple Pecan Cherry Salad
• Crisp, sweet apple varieties work best in salads. Try Jonagold, Jonathan, Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp or Braeburn.
• Dried tart cherries are easily found in aisles next to raisins and dried fruits.
• Choose any favorite light mayonnaise, preferably with no more than 4 grams fat per tablespoon.
• Keep pecans – and all nuts – as fresh as possible. Store them in the freezer in airtight bags or containers. (The oils in all nuts can become rancid over time with exposure to air.)
• Toasting pecans enhances their natural flavors. Toasting nuts is so easy, too. Simply place chopped nuts in a single layer on a large-rimmed baking sheet. Place on middle rack in a 350° oven and toast 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once during cooking time.
• Apple skin contains a considerable amount of the apple’s phytonutrients and fiber, so try not to peel apples before cooking or eating.
• Dried tart cherries contain powerful antioxidants that help fight heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Plus, the natural nutrients in cherries, called anthocyanins, contain anti-inflammatory properties to help relieve pain from arthritis and gout, as well as muscle and joint soreness after exercise.
• Pecans contain heart-healthy fats along with antioxidants to help fight disease and lower cholesterol. Emerging research shows that pecans can help with weight control efforts.
BBQ Chicken Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Apples
• Adding a little butter along with the oil in the skillet helps provide that rich, caramelized flavor to the onions.
• Traditional white or yellow onions, such as Spanish or Bermuda, work best with this pizza.
• Use Granny Smith apples if you prefer a tarter apple flavor to balance the sweet sauce. Other apples such as Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Fuji, Gala and Golden Delicious, work extremely well on this pizza.
• Convenient pre-baked whole wheat pizza crusts are easily found in most supermarkets today, either in the produce department, bread aisle or near the pizza supplies.
• If you can’t find smoked Gouda in the deli cheese case, substitute all mozzarella or part provolone. But try not to skip the smoked Gouda – it adds a rich, deep, smoky flavor.
• Add chopped jalapeño peppers for additional zesty spice if desired.
• Absolutely all five nutrient-rich food groups (grains, vegetables, fruits, milk/cheese and meat/protein) are represented in this pizza!
• You’re on your way to eating more whole grains every day if you make this pizza with whole wheat crust instead of white.
|About the Author: Registered dietitian Kim Galeaz is an Indianapolis-based writer and culinary-nutrition consultant to the food, beverage and agriculture industry. She also blogs at The Dietitian Does dessert … Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, Too.|