You have been working all winter and spring to get in shape for summer. Eating better, lost some weight and feeling pretty good. Or, perhaps you are in the middle of creating new healthier habits this summer. Looking forward to getting outdoors, taking hikes, sitting in the sun, and those outdoor events like BBQ’s! Wait, what? How am I going to stay healthy with all those BBQ celebrations coming?
I’d like to point out a connection from last month’s fun topic to this month’s topic: planning. I know, it might not sound exciting, but there are two reasons you’ll want to plan ahead:
- If you’re wanting to host a barbecue, pick a date now and reach out with a save-the-date note to friends and family. Summer will fly by, and you’ll be glad that you claimed a date (or two!) for those summer get-togethers.
- If you’re hosting or attending a barbecue—and you’re trying to be healthy—you’ll be glad that you had a plan for enjoying the food and the people. It’s frustrating when you go to a barbecue and realize that you either can’t eat anything or you end up eating all-the-wrong things because you didn’t plan ahead.
Try these tips for making your summer get-togethers healthy and delicious:
Bring your own food. Bring enough to share! You might be working toward a health goal or you have a food allergy. Whatever the reason, bring food for yourself and to share with others. Bring food that you know you’ll want to eat so you won’t fall off the wagon, like I love bringing romaine grilled lettuce or barbecue mushrooms. You might try Balsamic Peach Avo-Arugula Salad or Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad. Extra tip: Bringing enough to share means bringing a lot of food. If you’re hosting, check out this article for estimating food quantity.
- Grill smart! If you’re the host, pick a menu that is good for the body and the taste buds. Really, isn’t it time to replace those heartburn-inducing hotdogs? Here is a list of delicious healthy grilling recipes. Peruse the recipes on my website. And, if you have family and friends who are “married” to hotdogs, you can pick a better quality, like Niman Ranch Fearless Franks, made without nitrates or nitrites. In general, look for high-quality meats that are organic and grass fed with no added sugar or preservatives. I have actually found a vegan burger that tastes just like a hamburger. No kidding! Its called Beyond Burger. I get it at New Seasons.
- Have food you can make—and things you can buy. While we’d all like to be Martha Stewart and bring a fresh dish to each barbecue, life happens, and we might need to pick up food. So instead of stressing at the last minute, find some healthy and tasty favorites that you love to share. Maybe it’s a tossed salad from a local deli that truly makes healthy options. Maybe it’s hummus with almond flour crackers and veggies. Maybe it’s less-sugary kombucha. Maybe it’s in-season summer fruit. You’ll be glad that you found these standbys! And when you do have time to cook and barbecue, find recipes that you love with wonderful flavor and good ingredients. Fresh watermelon for dessert, anyone? How about honey-sweetened berry and nut cobbler? Yum.