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July 4: Have Fun, Eat Well, Be Safe

July 4 is around the corner. We're here to help you prep for a fun, healthy and safe day. Read on for some ideas from the AHMFC team on how to enjoy this day to the fullest.

First, here's a quick firey workout you can do anywhere before your day of festivities gets under way:


Cardio - 5 minutes (walk, run or bike)


Mobility - 1 minute high knees, 1 minute butt kickers, 1 minute jumping jacks, 1 minute standing quad stretch (30 seconds each side), 1 minute low lunge (30 seconds each side)


Do as many rounds of the following 4 exercises in a 7 minute time period as you can!

12 sumo squats

24 single leg step ups (12 each side)

12 jumping jacks

24 reverse lunge (12 each side)

After the first 7 minutes have passed, rest for 1 minute, then do as many rounds of the following 4 exercises in a 7 minute time period as you can.

24 front-back lunge (12 each side)

12 in'n out squat

12 sumo squat pulse

12 cross jacks

Repeat the same sequence (circuit 1 for 7 minutes, rest for 1 minute, circuit 2 for 7 minutes) a total of 2 times.

Remember: quality over quantity!


Same as WARM UP - 5 minutes of cardio or mobility.

28 minutes of on time is all it takes. Get a great a sweat in and then enjoy your day!


Now... onto the topic we're all waiting for, what's on the menu?

Deciding what to serve or bring to a gathering can feel daunting without fresh ideas in the mix, so we've pulled together our favorites to inspire your cookout creations.

From Traci: Cod Cakes with Mango Sauce

source: The Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen Cookbook

For the cakes:

1/4 cup fresh mango cubes

1/8 cup sliced red bell pepper

2 scallions

1 pound cod or other whitefish

1 egg

1 pinch of salt

3/4 crushed crispy rice cereal, divided

2 tbsp extra-light olive oil

For the sauce:

1 cup frozen or fresh mango, chopped

2 scallions

2 tbsp extra-light olive oil

1/4 cup chopped red, orange or yellow bell pepper

1/4 cup water

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Prepare the mango cubes and red pepper and chop the scallions.

  3. In the bowl of a food processor, add the mango cubes, bell pepper and scallions. Pulse until they break into small pieces.

  4. Add the cod and pulse until the fish breaks up but doesn't form a paste.

  5. In a medium bowl, thoroughly combine the fish mixture, egg, salt, and 1/4 cup crushed crispy rice cereal.

  6. Form the fish batter into 6 small cakes and dredge each in the remaining 1/2 cup crushed cereal.

  7. In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and cook the cakes for about 3-4 minutes on each side until golden.

  8. Place the cakes on a baking sheet and bake them for 10 minutes or until the middles completely cook through.

  9. While the cakes are baking, make the Mango Sauce.

  10. Prepare the mango and bell pepper and chop the scallions.

  11. In a small pot over medium heat, simmer all ingredients for 5–10 minutes, until the vegetables become tender.

  12. Transfer ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

  13. Serve the cakes on a bed of greens with your favorite veggies.


From Anna: Avoslaw

an original

For the slaw:

1 head of cabbage (red or green)

4-6 large carrots


For the dressing:

2 avocados, peeled & pitted

1/2 cup coconut milk

2 tbsp white vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 clove of garlic



  1. Rinse the outside of the cabbage. On a large cutting board, cut the head of cabbage in half from top to bottom, then cut the halves in half from top to bottom again. Starting at the top of each quarter, thinly chop the cabbage horizontally so you end up with long skinny pieces (about 1/8 inch wide, 1-2 inches long).

  2. Wash the skins of the carrots, then grate them into a large bowl (FUN FACT: carrots are more nutritious if the skin is left on!).

  3. Move the chopped cabbage to the large bowl with the grated carrots, season with salt, and toss together with clean utensils (if you use your hands, just make sure they're clean!).

  4. For the dressing, add all ingredients to a blender (peeled avocado, coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, peeled garlic, salt and pepper to taste).

  5. Once blended, dress the cabbage and carrots with the dressing and toss together.

  6. Cover and chill slaw in fridge until time to serve.


From Liz: Grilled Veggies

an original

While grilling is traditionally considered a meat-lover’s domain, there's good reason to add vegetables to the mix. Subtle charring and a touch of smoke bring out the best in summer's bounty. But to get them just right, different veggies require slightly different methods. Most vegetables are suited for high, direct-heat cooking, while dense or larger veggies may require par-cooking or a lower temperature. Tender veggies — like asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, leeks, and scallions — cook quickly over high, direct heat within about 5 minutes.

These vegetables also cook quickly:

  • Broccoli

  • Sugar snap peas

  • Green beans

  • Eggplant

  • Radicchio

  • Romaine lettuce

  • Sliced peppers

  • Avocado

Crunchy, dense veggies — like carrots, butternut squash, and potatoes — should be par-cooked before grilling over high heat. After that, they'll be ready in 5 to 10 minutes. Grill veggies that fall somewhere in between tender and hard — like zucchini, onions, whole peppers, corn, and Brussels sprouts — over medium-high heat with a closed lid. At this lower temperature, they'll take 10 to 20 minutes to become tender. Always start with a clean grill. While it's still cold, brush any food residue from the grates, then lightly coat a bunched-up paper towel with olive oil. Using tongs, wipe the oil onto the grill grates.

Don't overdo it — dripping oil can cause flare-ups and excessive smoke.

For a gas grill, turn the burners too high. For a charcoal grill, spread the hot coals evenly in the cook box. Close the lid and preheat for 15 minutes. This will burn off the oil and make the grill nonstick and very hot, about 500 degrees F. For charcoal grills, keep the lid vents open for air circulation.

While the grill preheats, prepare the vegetables. As we mentioned, vegetables like asparagus cook quickly. Toss them with a little olive oil, plus kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Place the asparagus on the grill perpendicular to the grates so they don't fall through.

Grill for about 4 minutes, occasionally rolling them across the grill with a metal spatula to brown on all sides. When the spears are lightly charred, tender, and bright green, remove them from the grill. If they're cooking too quickly, move to a cooler area. Some vegetables that are small or thin will inevitably fall between the grates, like cherry tomatoes, green beans, diced zucchini, and sliced peppers. This is the time to use a grill basket. The grill basket should be preheated for at least 15 minutes before adding any food to prevent sticking and encourage browning. Cut larger vegetables like zucchini and red pepper into similar-sized dice so they cook evenly. Add some green beans and cherry tomatoes, and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and any other seasonings like garlic powder or herbs. Place the vegetables into the hot grill basket. Close the lid and grill over high heat until browned and tender, tossing occasionally.

Follow these basic steps to enjoy the smoky flavor of tender grilled vegetables on the 4th of July and all summer long!


So you've decided on the menu, the hardest part is over! But managing it to keep everyone safe from food borne illness is an important topic you should be prepared for too! Joni, our Registered Dietitian, is here to help.

Foodborne illness are infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites in the food we eat. The CDC estimates that as many as 48 million people get sick in each year related to foodborne illness. Within those people that get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 people die. Cases of foodborne illness peak during the summer months with bacteria loving hot and humid environments. Picnics and outdoor eating are a wonderful part of the summer, but make sure your being safe to keep you and your loved ones healthy. The main things you need to pay attention to for food safety are keeping clean, separate foods, and maintaining temperatures.

Clean: Wash your hands and food preparation areas frequently. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and wash cutting boards and utensils with hot soapy water. Also, rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running water.

Separate: Do not cross-contaminate. Keep raw meats, seafood, and eggs away from foods that are not going to be cooked. This is important from bagging groceries separately at the store to storage and preparation.

Cook: Cook foods to appropriate temperatures. Use a kitchen thermometer, placing it in the center of the food, avoiding bones. 145˚F degrees for steak, 160˚F for ground red meats and eggs, 165˚F for poultry and leftovers.

Cool: Refrigerators or coolers need to be maintained at or below 40 degrees F to keep food safe from dangerous bacteria growth. Refrigerate any perishable food within 2 hours after being cooked or taken out of refrigeration. This time is shortened to 1 hour when you are outside in temperatures greater than 90˚F

For more information on food safety, including specific cooking temperatures, go to this link:


Ok, back to the goal of this blog - a fun, healthy and safe July 4th. We hope you were able to find something here that will enhance your day and make it a 4th to remember. Happy days to each one of you, enjoy and have fun!

The AHMFC Team

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