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Hot Dog! Have a Happy Fourth of July.

(Author: Gail Ready, Family Nutrition Program)

Happy 4th of July!

About 150 million hot dogs will be consumed on the 4th of July in the United States.
Although we can’t recommend hot dogs as the healthiest food choice, if you are among those Americans doing the consuming consider reading the labels of hot dog packages. Look for hot dogs with lower fat and sodium and fewer added chemicals.

When it comes to garnishing those dogs, get creative!
• Cole slaw adds color, crunch and fiber to dogs. Take them a step further and add chopped onions. When serving raw onions, go for the sweeter varieties such as Vidalias.
• Add sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions and a touch of steak sauce to hot dogs and get a steak house flavor.
• Vietnamese inspired dogs might include a relish of chopped (peeled) peaches, chopped jalapenos (adults only), chopped cilantro and a small amount of spicy mayo.
• Go Mexican and garnish hot dogs with guacamole for added color, flavor and nutrients

Recipe; Tahini Dog Garnish – Stir together in a medium bowl: 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp. plain yogurt, 2 Tbsp. tahini (sesame paste) and 2 Tbsp. water until smooth. Add 2 cups of finely shredded cabbage and salt and pepper to taste. Finish dogs with a bit of chopped scallions and if you’re feeling really brave a pinch of red pepper flakes.

190 million pounds of red meat will be consumed during the holiday.

Americans tend to overindulge in red meat but, if hamburgers are your food of choice for the 4th, choose lean ground beef and remember that whole grain buns are delicious and contain nutrients, such as fiber, that white flour buns don’t. Make a variety of veggies available to garnish your burgers. A big slice of sweet onion adds texture and taste not to mention antioxidants. Sliced tomatoes and crispy lettuces make burgers juicier and more colorful and add vitamins and minerals. Look for low-fat cheeses when making cheeseburgers.

If you’re grilling those dogs and burgers for the holiday think about all the delicious fruits and veggies that can go on the grill as well.
• Wrap fresh corn on the cob in aluminum foil and you don’t need to shuck it until you’re ready to eat. Keeping corn in its own natural wrapping maintains moisture and nutrients.
• Whole heads of garlic (cut top off to expose tips of cloves) can be sprinkled with a little olive oil and wrapped in foil for the grill. Place garlic on the area of your grill with less heat.
• Try sprinkling avocado halves (pit removed) with a little sea salt, some fresh ground black pepper and brushing with a little olive oil, then turn them open face down on the grill until grill marks are set. Avocados are a good source of healthy fats.
• Fresh pineapple rings on the grill make for a wonderful dessert that’s quick and easy and packed full of vitamin C.
• Potatoes on the grill (wrapped in foil) are a good source of potassium and fiber. If you use sweet potatoes then you’re also getting a nice supply of beta-carotene (vitamin A pre-cursor). Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the potato.
• Watermelon slices on the grill make a surprising treat for all family members and what’s more 4th of July , at least in the South, than watermelon?
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Permanent link to this article: http://santarosa.ifas.ufl.edu/blog/2013/07/01/hot-dog-have-a-happy-fourth-of-july/