Now that summer is here, my husband and I are preparing more of our family’s meals on the grill. I hate heating up the kitchen with the oven and stovetop when the outdoor temperatures are in the 90’s so cooking outside is convenient! I am always concerned about choosing the right foods for my family. We try and choose organic and naturally raised meats whenever possible and our local grocery store has a great selection of organic produce. Once thing I have really missed eating in the last few years is hotdogs…I just can’t bring myself to buy them, knowing the sorts of things they are usually made of! And since I prefer meats from animals that have been raised in a sustainable and humane way, this usually leaves hotdogs off my list of approved foods!
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Well, Applegate offers a antibiotic and nitrite-free hot dog and they are just starting to be offered in the Atlanta area where I live and I can’t wait to try them out. Did you know that eighty percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used in animal agriculture? WHY? Because animals that are raised in overcrowded and unhealthy conditions need them to stay healthy and grow quickly. Applegate NEVER uses antibiotics, hormones or artificial growth promotors for their animals. Their products are made only with natural and organic ingredients. They conduct their farming practices with integrity and treat their animals and land with respect. I feel much better about buying hotdogs from a company like Applegate!
If you are a fan of summertime grilling, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your outdoor meal adventures!
1. Choose your meats carefully. Choose hotdogs without nitrites, beef that is grass fed, chicken that was raised on all organic, vegetarian feed. Remember, YOU eat what THEY eat!
2. Make the meat a small portion of your meal. American’s perception of a proper portion of meat has gotten a bit skewed over the years. Fill your plate with healthy side dishes and make the meat itself a smaller proportion of the meal.
3. Choose organic produce. Organically raised fruits and vegetables have a significantly lower impact on our environment than conventionally raised ones do. Buy items that are in season in your area. Summer farmer’s markets are a great way to support your local produce industry! Corn is a popular summer crop and taste incredible on the grill!
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4. Experiment with seasonings. Most people tend to use too much salt to add flavor to their meals. Instead of salt, reach for the pepper, thyme, oregano or other herbs to give your meal a bit of a kick. You can cut your salt intake significantly without loosing flavor if you start trying other flavors!
5. Foil is your friend! I am a lazy cook and love to be able to throw food on the grill and just forget about it for a while. Making foil pouches of your vegetables and potatoes will allow you to lock in moisture and flavor with almost no effort on your part. You can even recycle the foil when you are finished!
6. Don’t forget desert! Fruit tastes wonderful on the grill and topped with a small scoop of icecream and some chopped nuts can be a great way to end the meal!
7. Clean up naturally. When it comes time to clean up, make sure you choose non toxic methods of cleaning your grill. Either choose natural cleaners or make your own with A little bit of olive oil and a strong wire brush will get off most of the baked on crud!
If your kids are always begging for hot dogs but you just don’t like the idea of them eating so many questionable ingredients, look for Applegate’s hotdogs. They are widely available in the Atlanta area and many other locations. To find a store near you, visit http://www.facebook.com/applegatefarms and click “Product Locator.”
Knowing where your meat comes from and how it was raised is important. Organic and natural products are better for our health and for the health of our planet. Cattle in the Applegate organic program are grass-fed. Hogs and poultry in their organic program are fed a grain diet that includes corn, soy, barley, and flax that are free from GMOs. Their hot dogs are made from natural and organic whole muscle meat…not mysterious by products!
Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Applegate blogging program, to earn My SocialMoms Rewards Points. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. To read more posts on this topic, click here.
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.