Healthy Hollywood: Slim Down Your Picnic Feast!

Keri Glassman Keri Glassman

July is National Picnic month. It’s the perfect excuse to pack a basket, gather up friends and head outdoors for a tasty celebration.

However, some traditional picnic foods can be major calorie bombs.

Keri Glassman, who regularly contributes to Healthy Hollywood, stopped by Access Hollywood Live on Tuesday to share how to slim-down your picnic feast with herbs. Herbs are not only full of flavor but also have lots of nutritional benefits.

BASIL

Things you may know:

  • Basil is full of antioxidants including vitamin A and C which help prevent free radical damage and provides cardiovascular benefits.
  • You can use the herb fresh and dried -- eat it raw, fresh off the plant or season almost any dish with dried basil.

Things you may not know:

  • Research has shown that basil has antibacterial and antifungal powers - it is now being looked at as a preservative in the food and medical industries.
  • Basil is also a good source of magnesium, which helps improve blood flow.
  • Basil is a good source of iron, calcium, potassium.
  • Contains eugenol, a volatile oil that has an anti-inflammatory effect.

Uses:

  • Tear up fresh leaves and add to your favorite sauce or dip
  • Add whole leaves in your sandwich
  • Make basil pesto
  • Use the leaves when making tea
  • Sprinkle dried basil on eggs, salads, chicken, salmon, or in soups
  • Add to cocktails and drinks

Mango Basil Shrimp Salad

  • 1 pound cooked shrimp, cleaned
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 ripe mango, diced
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lime, squeezed

Mix all together, and enjoy!

MINT

Things you may know:

  • The main active compound in mint is menthol - the soothing and numbing properties of menthol are why mint is used to relieve sore throats.
  • Provides a fresh breath feeling.

Something you may not know:

  • Mint is also used to relieve nausea and has been shown to help with indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome, due to its ability to relax the smooth muscles.
  • Mint is an excellent source of vitamins A and C and manganese.
  • Mint is available all year round, but is the most plentiful in the summer months.

Uses:

  • This herb adds flavor and a great smell to any dish, and is nice to keep fresh in your garden for that wonderful fresh, clean scent
  • Use mint leaves to make mint tea
  • Add mint leaves to water for an interesting flavor
  • Add mint to tomato-based soups - the flavor will complement the acidity of tomatoes
  • Use mint in salads for a refreshing flavor

Berry Mint Salad

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Mix all together, and enjoy!

PARSLEY

Things you may know:

  • There are actually two types of parsley - flat and curly (sort of like kale) or Italian!
  • Parsley is a natural breath freshener - the chlorophyll present in parsley (and many of our other fav herbs) has antibacterial properties which fight oral bacteria that can cause bad breath.

Things you may not know:

  • Parsley is rich in vitamin C, B12, K and A all which help keep your immune system strong!
  • Parsley supports kidney function by working as a diuretic to stimulate urination and helping the body flush excess fluid. Parsley owes its diuretic properties to the presence of two compounds found in its oil - apiol and myristicin.
  • Parsley can also offer relief from joint pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Uses:

  • Marinade for meats and fish
  • Pairs well with tomato and cucumber in salads
  • Adds flavor to meatballs and salsas and grains like quinoa

Quinoa Tabbouleh

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked (or 1/2 uncooked)
  • 1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 5 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups small grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon squeezed
  • 3 tablespoons cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix all together, and enjoy!

DILL

Things you may know:

  • Because of its delicate flavor, it is always good to use fresh versus dried dill.
  • The essential oils that give dill its flavor also help ease an upset stomach alleviate bloating.

Things you may not know:

  • Dill offers a dose of calcium, iron, and fiber.
  • Dill is considered an anti-bacterial spice as it is able to prevent bacterial overgrowth.

Uses:

  • Traditionally used in vegetable dishes
  • Combine with yogurt and cucumber for a dip or sandwich spread.
  • Add to chicken or tuna salads - I love chunk lite tuna mixed with plain Greek yogurt, apple pieces and dill.

Tzatziki

  • 1 cup 2 percent Greek Yogurt
  • 1 english cucumber, peeled, scrapped and grated
  • 1/4 chopped fresh dill
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix together and serve with baby carrots and sliced peppers, celery and cucumber!

THYME

Things you may know:

  • Thyme can help with acne due to its antibacterial properties - often used in acne creams and face washes, you can even add it to your own DIY beauty mask.

Things you may not know:

  • Rich in Iron, vitamin K, manganese and calcium.
  • There is some evidence that the essential oils in thyme can help strengthen the roots of your hair and improve its growth.
  • Improves bone health - as a good source of vitamin K, iron, calcium and manganese, thyme can improve your bone's health.
  • Aids digestion - experts often recommend thyme tea to those suffering from indigestion and bloating. The volatile oils in thyme can provide relief from intestinal cramping

Uses:

  • Great with eggs, marinades, stuffing, roasted veggies, or in your fave balsamic and/or olive oil dressing.
  • Also a great addition to your fave iced tea flavor

Iced Green Tea-Thyme

  • 1 quart (4 cups) water, boiling
  • Juice & zest from 1 orange (or lemon)
  • Small handful thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 6 bags green tea
  • 3 cups ice

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Remove from heat and quickly stir in orange juice & zest, thyme, honey, and green tea bags. Steep for 5 minutes. Serve over ice and garnish with an orange slice and thyme sprig!

-- Terri MacLeod & Keri Glassman

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