Memorial Day is often viewed as the unofficial kick-off to summer. People take advantage of the long weekend to head out of the city for a couple of days or spend some time outside. It’s also a holiday when many uncover their grills for the first time or blend up a frozen cocktail (or two). In celebrating this joyful and warm season, we’re sharing five ideas to make your Memorial Day get-together healthier.
Bring On the Produce…
This is the perfect time of year to take advantage of all the fresh and flavorful fruits and vegetables in season. Instead of looking for ways to transform them, prepare produce simply in ways that highlight their natural deliciousness (plus, enjoying fruits and veggies raw will deliver the greatest health perks). Load up on vegetables like leafy greens, crunchy cucumbers, and sweet bell peppers to mix in a garden salad, or toss plump, juicy tomatoes with cubed bread for a hearty Panzanella salad.
…But Don’t Be Afraid to Grill It
Sure, we’ve been grilling hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, and steak tips forever, but Memorial Day is an excellent opportunity to expand our grilling repertoire to fruits and veggies. Don’t be afraid to grill some fat asparagus or pop some onions, peppers, and mushrooms on a skewer. Wow your friends with sweet, grilled pineapple rings or apricot halves for dessert.
Choose Herb-Heavy Marinades…
Instead of marinating meat in thick, sugar-laden sauces like barbecue, put together a marinade using olive oil, lemon juice, or vinegar and featuring lots of fresh herbs, like thyme, rosemary, parsley, oregano, and tarragon. Herbs will not only deliver bright, fresh flavors that match the season, but they’ll provide you with the good-for-you antioxidants.
…And Anti-Inflammatory Dry Rubs
Speaking of antioxidants, you can also add more to your meal with an antioxidant-rich dry rub on your meat or veggies. Spices like garlic, ginger, black pepper, cayenne, and turmeric are loaded with compounds that curb inflammation, helping to reduce digestive woes, fatigue, brain fog, and more.
Get Outside…And Stay Outside
Vitamin D plays a critical role in many bodily processes, including building and maintaining healthy bones, boosting mood, and powering your immune system. Yet very few foods contain it, meaning we still need to get a majority from the sun. Ensuring adequate vitamin D intake is just one reason to spend as much time outdoors as possible on this holiday and throughout the warmer months. You’ll feel better for it.