Getting back to summer!

Ah summer! We are, finally, having some truly hot weather in Southwestern Ontario and I have been happily ignoring my stove in favour of the barbeque. Somehow, cooking outdoors seems to make everything that much more relaxed and casual. But barbeque season has it’s dietary dangers – many BBQ favourites such as hotdogs, prepared burgers, and even the barbeque sauce are loaded with salt. So it’s important to read your labels, and as much as possible choose fresh and unprocessed ingredients. Making your own burgers is relatively quick and easy and these have a fraction of the sodium of prepared burgers. Another bonus? If you are on a high protein diet, you can make the burgers big and if you are on a lower protein diet you can make your portion exactly right for you!

I often hear people say that giving up these processed foods is a huge burden or challenge for them. We become so accustomed to the taste and feel of these foods that it can be extremely hard to give them up. But within weeks you can adjust your taste buds back – getting used to less salt takes less time than you’d think! Try a gradual reduction in your salt intake and substitute fresh ingredients such as slices of red onion and crunchy lettuce to top your burger. Instead of that processed cheese slice on your burger – try slices of bocconcini or grated natural cheddar.

Recently I attended a dinner party where we were served a huge selection of mini-burgers (sliders) with everything from quinoa to beef as the base. Classic hamburgers are wonderful and here is a great and easy recipe:

Classic Hamburgers (4 servings)
1lb lean ground beef
1 egg
1 small onion, minced or 2 tbsp dried minced onion
¼ cup dry bread crumbs
1 tsp no salt added steak spice (or ground pepper)
1 tsp Dijon mustard

In bowl, mix egg with onion, bread crumbs, spices and mustard. Add beef, combining gently. Shape into patties (makes 4 regular sized burgers – about 3 protein choices each). Place on greased grill over medium heat. Grill, turning once, until no longer pink inside and internal temperature reads 160°F (71°C).

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