Side Meals for Hamburgers

by Erika Sanders
    Put corn or other vegetables on the grill during the last 10 minutes of cooking your burgers.

    Put corn or other vegetables on the grill during the last 10 minutes of cooking your burgers.

    Kids and adults alike love hamburgers, but making a healthy meal with hamburgers as the main course can take a little creativity. The good news is that kid-friendly side dishes don't need to be complicated, expensive or time-consuming. A quick trip through your grocer's produce aisle will provide you with a wealth of ingredients to create delicious and healthy side dishes your family will enjoy.

    If your family is wedded to the idea of potatoes to accompany their hamburgers, try a French fry alternative. Cut red potatoes into quarters and roast them in the oven. Serve the potatoes directly from the oven or toss them with a light Italian or ranch dressing for a cold potato salad your family will love.

    A zesty coleslaw is a healthy side dish to burgers and may help your kids look past the fact that they are eating vegetables. For an inexpensive and classic side dish, stick to the basic ingredients of shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, topped with light mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar or a bottled cole slaw dressing. Add hot sauce or diced jalapeno peppers if your family likes a little zing to their meals. Toss in raisins or chopped green onions for additional flavor and texture.

    Vegetables on the grill are easy to prepare and delicious. Corn on the cob is perhaps the simplest vegetable to cook on the grill. If you want to get a little fancier than corn, grill asparagus spears drizzled with olive oil and wrapped in foil or prepare vegetable kabobs. Ask your kids to select their favorite vegetables and place them on skewers. Zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms and onions all work well on kabobs.

    Make a fruit salad -- and let your kids pick the ingredients so you'll be sure they'll eat it. Mix apples, pears, grapes and walnuts together for a fall fruit salad. In summer, serve watermelon, strawberries and kiwi. Mix either light ranch dressing or yogurt with honey into the fruit salad for a creamier texture. Keep the grill on to cook slices of pineapple, or simply serve apple slices with a dip of light sour cream, light whipping cream and maple syrup for sweetness.

    About the Author

    Erika Sanders has been writing since 1997. She teaches writing at the Washington State Reformatory and edits the monthly newsletter for the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, a national nonprofit organization. She received her Master of Fine Arts in fiction from the Solstice Program at Pine Manor College in Boston.

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