Summer can often have a way of derailing our healthy habits - especially at cookouts! The drinks are flowing, the chips are calling your name and you just want to live your life, right? Don't worry, you still can but consider making these easy swaps to cut fat grams and calories - and still have delicious fun!
1. Grill all the proteins.
Go for lean cuts of meat like sirloin, ground chicken breast or skinless turkey. Don’t forget that tuna or salmon steaks are also great on the grill, so brush them with olive oil and season with a little fresh lemon, lime, herbs and spices.
2. Choose whole grains!
Switch out the white, processed, bleached flour bun for a fiber-packed whole grain or whole wheat bun.
Take out the French fries and chips and think about a side of whole grain quinoa, cous cous, wild rice, buck wheat or faro. Impress your friends at the next pot luck by bringing this Greek inspired quinoa, cucumber and feta summer salad (recipe at the bottom of the post).
If you must have chips, avoid refined grains and try to choose 100% whole grain tortilla chip or pretzels. Maya Kaimal makes my favorite chickpea and Naan chips http://www.mayakaimal.com/
3. Go light on the salads.
Avoid hundreds of extra calories and fat grams by preparing a vinaigrette based or plain Greek Yogurt-based salad instead of mayonnaise-based potato, pasta, macaroni and coleslaw.
I use Siggi’s or Fage plain 0% milkfat yogurt when making my salad creations. http://siggisdairy.com/
4. Consider veggie crisps and fresh fruit for that extra crunch.
Take advantage of the grill while it’s hot; gently toss some squash, zucchini, and corn in olive oil and throw it on for a tastier char-grilled take on the boring ole’ fresh cut veggies.
Fruit salad is always a good nutritious go-to. Try combining watermelon, kiwi, pineapple, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe and some mint leaves for a different flavor.
Looking to bring a packages snack? Rhythm foods makes the most delicious crispy snacks that are sure to be enjoyed by all. http://rhythmsuperfoods.com/
5. Pass on the pie!
Try berries topped with Greek Yogurt as the “custardy” filling and crunchy KIND Healthy Grains granola clusters https://www.kindsnacks.com/products/healthy-grains-clusters
If you’re looking for something a little cooler, enjoy 100% real fruit popsicles like Outshine Snacks popsicles. http://www.outshinesnacks.com/
Pick individual packaged treats to keep portions in check.
6. Freshen up your cocktail routine.
For a light, refreshing and hydrating cookout cocktail, try mixing pureed fruits with vodka, club soda or flavored La Croix, and fresh fruit for garnish. With 0 calories, 0 sweetener, and 0 sodium La Croix takes the #1 spot in my summer beverage line-up.
Summer Quinoa, Cucumber and Feta Salad
2 c water
1 c quinoa
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 small cucumber
1 plum tomato
1 tbso lemon juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried dill
1 tso salt
1 tsp pepper