It’s finally summer which means firing up the grill! I love the idea of a BBQ for so many reasons. The friends, the festivities, easy and clean prep of foods and the endless amounts of colorful and delicious produce for side dishes or even to toss on the grill alone. The options are endless. But wait, it isn’t all sunglasses and roses (or should I say Rosé). By September my clients are complaining of one too many BBQ’s, some excess weight and the need to detox from alcohol. So how can we make sure that this summer goes a little different? That we make more healthy choices than indulgent ones and that we show up for Fall feeling relaxed, sun-kissed and healthy? See my 5 favorite BBQ swaps below and either add them to your next event or bring them to a friend’s. I promise you won’t hear any complaints. You just might not have any leftovers!
1. Yes, red meat is OK. I don’t recommend eating it more than 2x/week, however, a great burger or steak on the grill can be healthy and crave-worthy, too. When shopping for beef I recommend buying local and 100% grass-fed/grass finished. I say grass-finished because some companies will grass feed their cattle up until the end when they switch to grains in order to fatten them up. With 100% grass-fed/grass-finished beef, you’ll be getting more omega-3 fatty acids instead of saturated fat as well as a guarantee that you won’t be eating a side of antibiotics with your beef.
2. It’s not necessary to go bun-less at your BBQ, but I do recommend switching from white to wheat or even sprouted buns for added fiber and yes, flavor. If that isn’t an option simply take the top bun off your burger or hot-dog and enjoy the flavor without all the extra cals, just in case you decide to go back for seconds!
3. Take advantage of the amazing, fresh veggies available this time of year and make a salad, grill up some summer squash or artichokes and add avocado to everything. Who needs potato salad, creamy coleslaw or macaroni salad when it’s hot and you might be slipping into a bathing suit tomorrow? Vegetables not only add fiber but they add volume which means you’ll fill up on fewer calories and more nutrients. You’ll feel great, your skin will shine and your clothes will continue to fit just how you like them. Season with olive oil, fresh lemon and herbs…yes, please!
4. I’ve never been to a BBQ that didn’t have at least one variety of tortilla chips or a cheese plate to pre-game with. No, I’m not going to burst your bubble, of course chips are an important player here but let’s step up our game a bit, shall we? Instead of corn tortillas or plain old chips introduce your crowd to Siete Tortilla chips made from coconut, cassava and almond flour. Or, skip the chips and bring a gorgeous crudité platter filled with cucumbers, celery, carrots, radish, fennel and tomatoes (the colors alone though!). These options are just as crunchy but healthier for you and they taste even better dipped in guac or salsa, so dig in. As for that cheese board, water crackers are so yesterday. Put out Mary’s Gone Crackers for crazy crunchy goodness thanks to the seeds and whole grains they contain. And remember if you do decide to “cheese” take a few cubes and walk away. Stay focused on those veggies.
5. We can’t forget cocktails now, can we? Of course you can still toast with your friends but keep those drinks clean and don’t forget to hydrate between! Instead of that margarita opt for tequila with fresh lime juice (a lot) and in place of that sangria enjoy a wine spritzer (wine and club soda) with some fresh berries dropped in. Just as pretty and just as fun without the hangover or belly bloat. Oh, and if beer is your thing, keep it light, add that lime and enjoy!