Best Foods for Fourth of July Grilling By Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD

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Every year, millions of Americans fire up the grill on the Fourth of July. Though it’s a holiday, eating right doesn’t have to take the day off. Chef and author Michelle Dudash, RDN, agrees. “There’s always a holiday, special occasion or birthday party,” she says. “Because the food stays around, one holiday can lead to days of indulgence every year.”

Grilling adds effortless flavor without added fat, making it easy to cook healthy food the entire family will enjoy. Go ahead and grill those burgers and hot dogs this Fourth of July, but also consider these options that deliver taste and nutrition:


  • Opt for lean ground beef, turkey or chicken for your burgers. Kids may enjoy veggie burgers made of chickpeas or pinto beans.
  • Because kids love food on a stick, try grilling marinated shrimp or chicken skewers. Add peppers or grape tomatoes for sweetness, fiber and an extra dose of vegetables.
  • Prepare a vegetable plate in minutes with grilled squash, peppers, carrots or cauliflower. Just add a touch of olive oil and your favorite seasonings before grilling.
  • Trade traditional mayo-heavy coleslaw for a fresh carrot salad dressed with plain Greek yogurt, raisins and chopped apples. Kids will love this sweet and crunchy addition to the table.
  • Combine whole-grain pasta, broccoli and colorful peppers to create a healthier pasta salad.
  • Grill pineapple rings or peach halves until their natural sugars caramelize. Make it fun by presenting the grilled fruit on a dessert bar with vanilla yogurt, nuts as sprinkles and fresh cherry toppers.

Exposure to healthy eating and cooking early in life is essential. Dudash encourages parents to involve children whenever possible. “Children as young as two years old can stir or add things to the bowl,” she says. Here are some additional ways to engage your kids in your next celebration:

  • Wash
    Let your child rinse and dry a large bunch of grapes or berries for the fruit salad.
  • Stir
    Let them mix pre-measured herbs, spices and lemon juice to create a flavorful Greek yogurt dip or sauce for vegetables.
  • Assemble
    Lay out the ingredients to create grill-ready foil packets of potatoes, peppers, onions and seasonings. Kids will enjoy going down the line, assembling each packet. This is one of Dudash’s favorite tips for its convenience, portion control and portability.
  • Chop
    Older children can chop vegetables and fruit, thread chunks of fruits and vegetables onto skewers for grilling, and put together more involved dishes by following recipes.

Getting kids involved with family celebrations and cooking gives them a sense of control and accomplishment. Lending a hand in the kitchen is not only fun, but it encourages kids to taste the fruits of their labor. There’s no need for lectures on healthy eating if you show instead of tell. Healthy eating will become the norm for many barbecues and generations to come.

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Rice is Nice



This week I had a client who was referred to me because of anxiety and who has consistently rebuffed her physician’s suggestion for a mild medication. After taking a detailed lifestyle and diet history I find out that she is anxious about all kinds of things, including her food.

She’s avoiding gluten because she thinks that she gets mouth sores and dairy because of gastric distress. And she thinks that she is allergic to beef. She’s become quite thin because she is not replacing these foods with anything else. But her biggest food phobia is rice.

Wheat may be the staff of life, but two third’s of the world’s population calls rice a dietary staple.


You may be able to cut your exposure to inorganic arsenic in any type of rice by rinsing raw rice thoroughly before cooking, using a ratio of 6 cups water to 1 cup rice, and draining the excess water afterward. That is a traditional method of cooking rice in Asia. The modern technique of cooking rice in water that is entirely absorbed by the grains has been promoted because it allows rice to retain more of its vitamins and other nutrients. But even though you may sacrifice some of rice’s nutritional value, research has shown that rinsing and using more water removes about 30 percent of the rice’s inorganic arsenic content.

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Get ready to be even more confused.

The headline in this morning’s paper screams “Less sugar; more coffee, eggs”. And so it begins…

The 2015 US Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Americans will be large document to digest I am sure. I stopped printing the 2010 version at 200 pages. I wanted a hard copy to refer to for the local media interviews that I would do. 2015 is likely to be just as voluminous. Continue reading

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babyI realize that I am not the one having this baby, but I find myself drawn to articles about pregnancy health and such. Just today, an article came across my desk about “pregorexia“. Eating disorder behaviors that begin during pregnancy. Who knew?

Apparently the media and Hollywood socialite-types contribute to this madness by referring to a pregnant woman’s expanding mid-section as a baby bump, as though you should only gain weight where the baby is.

I’ve noticed a trend lately where the thin gals seem to avoid purchasing maternity clothes, and instead squeeze into usual outfits. This can only accentuate every additional pound that they gain. For someone with ED tendencies I am sure that this must push them right over the edge.

But the restricted nutrition intake that results in limited weight gain can have severe consequences for mother and baby:low birth weight, anemia, ADHD, rickets, heart disease, poor growth and brain development, increased risk of miscarriage or preterm delivery.

The Institute of Medicine still recommends a weight gain of 25-35# during pregnancy for women who start out in a normal weight range, 28-40# for women who start out underweight, and 11-25# for women in the overweight/obese category.

Women should not hesitate to request a consult with a registered dietitian nutritionist if they find they are having difficulties gaining adequate weight, or if weight comes on too quickly.

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Fitbit Update

My fitbit #Fitstats_en_US for 1/22/2015: 5,486 steps and 2.3 miles traveled. 13 hours ago

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