OK, I’ve had enough rain for now! Don’t get me wrong, my lawn needed the water, but I’m ready for some fun in the sun, workouts at the park, and good ole dinners on the grill. This will be our first summer together in our house, and unfortunately, the grilling hasn’t started yet… we need a grill for that! But once we get it on Saturday, we’ll be home free. The countdown is on.
To me, the whole point of a cookout is to relax and enjoy good food (can I insert a “healthy” here?) and good company. Let’s be honest, a healthy cookout can be very hard to come by! If you’re trying your best to maintain a clean diet or you’re on the weight loss journey, you’ll probably feel that weekend BBQing will put a dent on your goals. But don’t worry yet, I have some tips that will help keep you on track:
1) Clean dish: Whether you’re hosting or going to an outdoor party, a clean dish will give you a healthy alternative. The only way to guarantee you’ll have a healthy option is if you make the dish yourself. And there are plenty of clean, delicious recipes out there! Some ideas could be home-made guacamole with veggies (ex-nay on the chips), roasted vegetable salad, quinoa edamame salad, or watermelon salsa (find recipe here: http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/clean-eating-watermelon-salsa/).
2) H20 vs. Alcohol: There’s no better way to stay hydrated on a summer day than to drink, drink, drink that H20. And if you’re enjoying a cold beer or cocktail, it’s even more important to replenish with water. Remember, alcohol and weight loss don’t go hand in hand. Alcohol is metabolized differently than other foods and drinks because it is viewed by the body as a toxin. Alcohol does not provide any nutritional value and only adds empty calories to your diet. It is also a diuretic, which causes dehydration, and with dehydration you lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc.
That being said, if you’re having a drink or two, alternate it with a large glass of water. You’ll fulfill the desire to “keep drinking”, stay hydrated and consume less alcohol and less empty calories.
Have you ever heard of watermelon “soda”? (yes, watermelon salsa and “soda” are included in this post!) Try this tasty alcohol-free bev if you’re looking for something more exciting than H20. It includes 6 cups of watermelon, 1 ½ cups of cold seltzer water and 1 cup of chopped fresh mint. OH-SO REFRESHING!
3) Burger mix: If you’re eating beef, mixing grass-fed ground beef with beans is a good-for-you grilling trick. Try mixing in sundried tomatoes marinated in EVOO. This will add moisture and keep the burgers nice and juicy without the animal-based saturated fat. Here’s the recipe:
- 8-10 cloves garlic (I love my garlic)
- ¼ cup julienned sundried tomatoes (packed in extra virgin olive oil)
- ¼ cup parsley (chopped)
- 1 can organic garbanzo beans (rinse and drain)
- 95% lean grass-fed ground beef
- 1 large minced shallot
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Salt to taste
- Ground black pepper
If you are a vegetarian/vegan, replace your beef burger with a freshly grilled portabella mushroom (add lemon for a good touch!), lettuce, tomato and spread mashed avocado as a healthier mayo alternative…yummo!
4) Hot buns or no buns: If you are grilling the burgers, serve on toasted sprouted whole grain burger buns. I am on the hunt for Food for Life brand buns, I just found out they make buns! If you’re trying to consume less or no grains, go without the bun – no harm, no foul and still tasty.
Cheers to finally getting a grill this weekend! Below is my balsamic glazed, red pepper flake wild salmon (baked in the oven vs. on the grill), quinoa, organic mixed green and veggie salad, with a side of grape tomatoes. I made the glaze for the first time this week and the flavor was just delish – can’t wait to try it on the grill!