From Memorial Day weekend and continuing through Labor Day weekend, BBQ’s and picnics are a fun and popular way to get together and enjoy the summer. Depending on the fare, these outings can be calorie disasters and a very healthy meal. Here are 6 tips to make your next picnic or BBQ a win for everyone.
Tip #1: Grill shrimp or chicken skewers instead of hot dogs or sausage. They make great finger food and provide lots of protein without the fat and sodium.
Tip #2: Skip the potato and macaroni salad. Instead, make a super healthy bean salad, such as corn & black bean salad or chickpea salad with tomatoes & artichoke hearts. Really flavorful and chock-ful of so many nutrients, I can’t list them all here!
Tip #3: Make a veggie pasta salad. I know I just said, skip the macaroni salad, but this is a completely different pasta salad. Cook up the pasta, then add equal parts raw vegetables and pasta. This one change will cut the carbs and calories almost in half and maximize the fiber and vitamins. For example, chop up green onions, carrots, red bell peppers, cucumber, celery and tomatoes and combine them with the pasta. Toss with a balsamic vinaigrette or Italian salad dressing and you’ve got a very healthy pasta salad!
Tip #4: Grill leaner cuts of meat. Of course fish and chicken are lean sources of protein, but even pork and beef can be lean, if you choose the right cuts of meat. Pork tenderloin is a lean cut and all of these cuts of beef are lean: flank steak, top loin, sirloin, porterhouse, T-bone, tenderloin and 90% lean ground beef. Lots of great options!
Tip #5: Bring on the veggies! What I find is if the vegetables are offered, people will eat them. So throw together some raw vegetables with this healthy ranch dip or a container of hummus for an appetizer and toss a salad together with a vinaigrette (instead of a creamy dressing) to serve with dinner and you’re good to go.
Tip #6: What about the beverages?! Yep, I couldn’t ignore this one. Instead of soda, offer your guests plain or naturally flavored sparkling water, or make your own infused-flavored water. In a large water dispenser, combine water, ice and any combination of sliced lemons, oranges, cucumbers, basil and strawberries to make a very refreshing beverage on a hot summer day.
When it comes to alcoholic beverages, frosty, blended drinks like margaritas and daiquiris are packed with sugar and calories—between 350-450 calories. Instead, a pint (16 oz.) of beer has 180-250 calories and a 6 oz. glass of wine has 120 calories.
Cheers to enjoying the company of friends and family this summer while enjoying a healthy spread of summer foods!