(Family Features) When people think of barbecues, many think of foods loaded with fat, salt and sugar, which can seem challenging if you are trying to eat healthy. However, it is possible - and easier than you think - to host a balanced cookout with nutritious options, without sacrificing flavor or quality.
Smithfield nutritionist Erin Thacker, MA, RDN, recommends these tips for hosting a backyard barbecue that will leave your guests healthy and happy:
- Stick to lean protein: fresh pork cuts such as sirloins, tenderloins, boneless loins and chops are packed with protein and contain key nutrients like vitamin B6, thiamin, phosphorus, niacin, potassium, riboflavin and zinc. Smithfield fresh pork tenderloins and boneless sirloin roasts are even certified by the American Heart Association* as heart-healthy foods.
- Layer on fruits and veggies: grilled vegetables make for a quick and delicious side dish, and grilled fruits are a health-conscious way to end the meal on a lighter note.
- Lighten up: swap mayonnaise and heavy creams for Greek yogurt and vinegars, and opt for homemade dressings or sauces instead of store-bought condiments, which often have high sugar contents.
Try these simple, dietitian-approved recipes for Grilled Fresh Pork and Veggies with Lemon or Sweet and Spicy Fresh Pork Mini Kebabs. For more healthy and great-tasting recipe ideas, visit Smithfield.com.
Grilled Fresh Pork and Veggies with Lemon
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 22 minutes
- 1 Smithfield Fresh Pork Tenderloin, cut into four thick slices
- 2 teaspoons garlic pepper
- 1 zucchini squash, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 yellow summer squash, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 large portobello mushroom
- 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut in half lengthwise and flattened
- 1/2 large red onion, cut into slices
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Heat charcoal or gas grill to medium-high. Season fresh pork slices with garlic pepper; grill about 5 minutes per side until internal temperature reaches 145-160° F.
- Brush both sides of zucchini squash, yellow squash, mushroom, pepper and onion, plus cut sides of lemon, with oil.
- Grill vegetables for 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Add lemon to grill, cut-side down, and cook additional 2 minutes.
- Place vegetables and lemon on cutting board; coarsely chop vegetables. Serve with fresh pork slices on top; squeeze lemon over meat.
Nutritional information per serving: 200 calories; 6 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 75 mg cholesterol; 75 mg sodium; 8 g total carbohydrates; 2 g dietary fiber; 4 g sugars; 30 g protein.
Sweet and Spicy Fresh Pork Mini Kebabs
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 16 kebabs
- 1 Smithfield Roasted Garlic and Cracked Black Pepper Marinated Fresh Pork Sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 pineapple, cored and cut into 16 (1-inch) cubes
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into 16 (1-inch) pieces
- 16 bamboo skewers (6 inches), soaked in water and drained
- 2/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Caribbean jerk seasoning
- Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium-high.
- Thread two pieces of fresh pork sirloin, one pineapple cube and one red pepper piece onto each skewer. Wrap exposed end of skewer with foil to discourage scorching.
- Mix honey, vinegar and jerk seasoning together for glaze.
- Grill kebabs approximately 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until fresh pork reaches internal temperature of 145° F and then rest for 3 minutes. Generously brush kebabs with glaze during last 2-3 minutes.
Nutritional information per serving: 80 calories; 1 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 20 mg cholesterol; 90 mg sodium; 12 g total carbohydrates; 1 g dietary fiber; 9 g sugars; 8 g protein.
*Information and recipes not provided by the American Heart Association unless expressly stated.
Apps and starters perfect for game day
(Family Features) Rules may vary from one event to the next, but whether your favorite team kicks it, runs it or dunks it, sports fans and food always provide a winning combo. Gather your friends for the next big game with a menu that gets everyone revved up for a win.
A lineup filled with starters is just the ticket for a game day watch party or tailgate. Offering a series of finger foods and lighter fare lets your fellow fans grab a quick bite before the game or during a commercial break and continue snacking through the game.
Make no mistake, serving up a lighter menu doesn’t mean you need to skimp on quality – just the opposite, in fact. Make every bite count by using exceptional ingredients and introducing unexpected flavors such as the distinctive taste of Jarlsberg Brand Cheese, which has a rich, 60-year Norwegian heritage. Best known as a classic wedge, this mild, mellow and nutty cheese can also be served sliced, shredded and cubed.
Quesadillas are always a hit, and this version combines the best of gooey, melted cheese with bacon and a deliciously tangy salsa for a lively burst of fresh flavor. Then keep the mouthwatering cheese and bacon combos coming with a whole new take on grilled kebabs.
No game day is complete without pizza, and this one scores big with its unexpected blend of flavors for a pie that is smoky and tangy, sweet and savory, and briny and creamy all at once. Then round out your menu with these easy sliders that are big on flavor and small on prep time.
Find more ideas to liven up your game day menu at jarlsberg.com.
Hawaiian Sliders with Cheese, Ham and Pork
- 3 Hawaiian bread slider buns
- 1 cup pulled pork
- 3 slices ham
- 3 slices Jarlsberg cheese
- sliced pickles
- Dijon mustard, to taste
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Separate buns and layer pulled pork, sliced ham and cheese. Place sliders on oven-safe tray and bake about 10 minutes, or until cheese melts. Remove from oven and gently remove top bun. Add pickles and mustard before serving.
Cheese and Bacon Kebabs
- 18 slices bacon
- 2 1/2 cups Jarlsberg cheese, cubed
- 18 pearl onions
- 12 long skewers
- 1/4 cup roasted bell peppers
- 1 1/3 tablespoons capers
- 2 2/3 tablespoons olives
- 1/4 cup cucumber
- 3 1/3 ounces olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice and grated zest
- Cut bacon slices in half and wrap around cheese cubes. Place cheese cubes and pearl onions on each skewer, alternating ingredients. Roast in pan or on grill 2-3 minutes on each side.
- To make relish, chop peppers, capers, olives and cucumber, and mix with olive oil, lemon juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper.
Grilled Pizza with Cheese, Prosciutto and Figs
- 2 cups pizza or tomato sauce
- 4 1/2 cups pizza dough
- flour, for rolling
- 3 1/2 cups Jarlsberg cheese, coarsely grated
- 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced prosciutto
- 8 dried figs, each cut into six wedges
- dried red pepper flakes
- black pepper
- Heat grill and warm pizza sauce.
- Divide dough into desired number of pizzas. On floured surface, roll dough into long, thin ovals and spread with sauce. Sprinkle light layer of cheese over sauce. Add layer of prosciutto and a second layer of cheese. Dot with fig pieces then season with red pepper flakes and pepper.
- Reduce grill heat, slide pizzas onto grill and close lid. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until crust is lightly charred and cheese is melted.
- 4 slices thick slab bacon
- 1 small chili pepper
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1 small shallot
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon coriander or cumin
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1 small lime (juice and zest)
- 6 slices Jarlsberg Original or Hickory Smoked cheese
- 2 large tortillas
- Fry bacon, drain and chop.
- To make salsa, remove seeds from chili pepper and finely dice. Chop tomatoes then dice shallot and garlic clove. Combine pepper, tomatoes, shallot and garlic with lime juice, coriander, salt and pepper, to taste.
- Divide cheese slices and bacon on one half of each tortilla, top with 1/4 cup salsa and fold tortilla over, pressing down to close. In medium-hot, lightly oiled pan, toast tortillas about 1 minute on each side.
- Cut each tortilla in half and serve with remaining salsa on the side, or combine salsa with black beans and fresh chopped cilantro to make a side salad.
Source: Jarlsberg Cheese