BY: Carol Green

July 16, 2020

Is it possible to take our summer favorites to a healthier level without losing the joy?


Right now, we all need to be focusing on sneaking in immune boosting components to the plate wherever possible, without losing the yum factor of course!

The motto at Taste of Healing is ‘Healing Never Tasted So Good’. I absolutely believe that food that heals the body should look and taste amazing, AND be good for you, otherwise why would you want to eat it?!

Hidden in the summer cookouts, picnics, takeout, and carefree food, these are the top foods that could be sabotaging your health, and your waistline, with ‘better for you’ swaps.

Trust me, you’re going to love it!

1. Burgers;

Who doesn’t love a nice, big burger just dripping with cheese? A typical fast food burger can contain as much as 500 calories, 25 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs, 10 grams of sugar, and 1,000 milligrams of sodium, which is quite a potential health disaster!

An easy way to cut down on the load is to make it at home, and sneak in veggies in the form of grated zucchini! This humble vegetable adds moisture, stretches the meat (have you seen the price of beef lately?!), and adds nutritional value

Asian Style Beef Burgers with Crunchy Slaw & Chili Aioli

A burger is also the perfect vehicle to cram it full of flavors and take it to the next level, and this
 Asian Burger with Crunchy Slaw and Spicy Chili Aioli, is loaded with immune boosting herbs and spices such as chili, ginger and lemongrass, and just darn delicious!

2. Fried Chicken Wings;

Ooh the satisfying crunch of biting into fried chicken wings! But that crunch comes at health cost, as restaurant wings are typically deep fried in hydrogenated oils, which are especially unhealthy.

To produce hydrogenated oils, food manufacturers chemically alter the structure of vegetable oils to stabilize them to be used over and over. Unfortunately this hydrogenation process results in trans fats, which tops the list as the most dangerous inflammatory ingredient you would consume, it raises your bad cholesterol (LDL) while lowering your good cholesterol (HDL), making it a major contributor to heart disease.

The great news is the is a much healthier swap out, these oven baked wings taste exactly like deep fried wings without the detrimental side effects!

Bonus they are gluten free too, and this recipe can be applied to larger chicken pieces too!

3. French Fries;

While we’re on the topic of fries, I found some amazing swaps for seriously unhealthy fries from my food blogger friends.

You’d never know these Air Fried French Fries from Every Day Family Cooking aren’t deep fried, they are so crisp and delicious!

Surprise your guests with an ‘out the box’ idea, these Baked Garlic and Pepper Polenta Fries  are the perfect stand in for fries with maximum flavor.

If you’ve lived in or visited the South, you may be familiar with the deliciousness that is deep fried green tomatoes, here’s an air fried version that hits the spot of this summer staple of the South!

4. Hot-dog;

Arguably the most iconic American foods, did you know that 20 billion hot dogs are consumed per person each year in the USA?! That works out to roughly 70 hot-dogs per person, which is a huge load of a processed food containing undesirable nitrates, preservatives linked to increased risks for health issues like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and higher mortality.

The good news is you can make a healthier swap without losing the flavor! Mulay Foods have nailed removing the additives and fillers while boosting the taste.

I think most of my readers know how I feel about Asian food, and this Banh-Mi Turkey Dog from Food Meanderings takes the average dog to a whole new taste sensation.

5. Salad Dressing;

It seems so innoxious, it’s just a bottle of salad dressing, but hiding in that bottle is most likely a really unhealthy cocktail of hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup and additives, just take a look at this article  where I dive deep into the hidden dangers of salad dressing and show you how to make healthier swaps!

6. Cookout Food;

Nothing spells summer quite like the enticing aroma of meat on the grill, and much as we all love that charred taste, those grill marks on your food are a potential cancer risk.

According the Cedars Sinai: “Cooking meat at high temperatures produces cancer-causing chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCAs), particularly if it produces char marks, explains Dr. Stephen Freedland, director of the Center for Integrated Research in Cancer and Lifestyle (CIRCL). Plus, when fat drips into the grill, the resulting flames can cover food with polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), another chemical linked to cancer.”

My recommendation is to cook your food low and slow over the flames and resist charring it too much. One of my favorite summer recipes is these chicken ‘sosaties’ (kebabs) from my home country, South Africa.

Another way to cut down on charring food too much, is to pre cook larger pieces of meat in the oven. This recipe for  Tumeric Buttermilk Brined Chicken takes away much of the risk of burned food and adds tons of flavor!

7. Ice Cream;

The most fun way to cool down from the summer heat is with a refreshing scoop of ice cream or an ice pop, but those sugars can add up fast!

In addition, many commercially produced frozen treats are loaded with unhealthy high fructose corn syrup, food colors and chemical stabilizers with very little nutritional value!

Checkout these amazing recipes that put the ‘nice’ back in ice cream and replace much of the sugars with immune boosting fruits, try them out, the kids will never know!

With these delicious ‘better for you’ swaps you can now serve safer summer foods to those you love!

Thanks for reading!

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read full privacy policy here.

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