Lighten Up Your Summer Barbecues

We’re at the peak of summer barbecue season, which typically involves getting together with friends and family over big food gatherings. I’ve had many patients asking me recently for tips to eat healthier at parties, especially with the 4th of July coming up. The abundance of

© jillchen - Fotolia.com

© jillchen – Fotolia.com

calorie-dense foods poses a constant challenge if you are trying to lose or even maintain your weight.

This 4th of July – and beyond – here are a few ways to host a summer barbecue gathering that is both tasty and cancer-preventive.

The Main Dish: add some color
Instead of the traditional cheeseburgers and hotdogs served with white bread, get creative and add some color to the main dish. I’ve been loving kabobs lately – they are a great way to combine lean protein, vegetables (and even fruit). Here are some ideas:

For protein options try chicken, shrimp, heartier fish — like salmon, tuna or swordfish — or extra firm tofu. Mix up the vegetables: try peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant or mushrooms. Use pineapple to add a sweet touch.

Thread your skewers, then top with a light marinade. Marinating the skewers adds flavor and helps reduce the carcinogens created when grilling foods. Right now, my favorite is tuna kabobs with onion, red pepper, and peach or pineapple. I marinate the whole skewer with a soy and ginger mix for about an hour then grill. Continue reading


Fireworks and Pasta Salad

Penne Pasta with VegetablesBefore the fireworks light up the sky, chill out with our easy Health-e-Recipe for Pasta Salad with Tomatoes for your 4th of July celebration – or anytime.

Tomatoes, green pepper and basil are tossed with whole-wheat bowties, penne, spirals or any other favorite small-sized pasta. Along with the garlic, these plant foods contain compounds that may be cancer protective. They also provide fiber, as does the whole-wheat pasta. Fiber has been associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer by strong evidence in AICR’s CUP report. It also is digested more slowly than white pasta, which keeps blood sugar levels in a healthy range.

The dressing for this salad is a vinaigrette made with olive oil and sweet-tart balsamic vinegar, both healthier than the mayonnaise-based dressings many pasta salads use.

Find more delicious healthy recipes at the AICR Test Kitchen. Subscribe to our Health-e-Recipes.


Heavenly Vegetable Soup

summer-veggie-soupIf you’re looking for a bright new way to enjoy fresh summer vegetables, try our Health-e-Recipe for Summer Veggie Soup. It’s loaded with nine tasty vegetables that bring you cancer protection and it’s ideal to celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month.

Every vegetable contains many phytochemicals – naturally occurring substances that may protect our cells from damage from aging and toxins that, over time, can lead to cancer development. These compounds work together for health protection, so this soup is a terrific way to eat the wide variety of vegetables that AICR recommends to reduce cancer risk.

To get the most out of your garlic, mince it first and let it stand for 10 minutes so its allium compounds are fully activated. The carrots add beta-carotene to this soup, and the yellow squash and zucchini contribute fiber (found in all plant foods). The potatoes, chickpeas and corn make this soup hearty, providing other nutrients. Asparagus, tomatoes, basil and chives add even more individual phytochemicals.

Find more excellent cancer-fighting recipes at the AICR Test Kitchen. Subscribe to our weekly Health-e-Recipes.