While outdoor cookouts are a great opportunity to relax and visit with friends and family, did you know that the average barbecue meal exceeds 1500 calories? That’s almost an entire day’s worth of calories in one meal.
That type of eating will do some serious damage to your waist over the course of the summer. The good news is that barbecue season doesn’t have to be fattening. In fact, with a few small changes to your barbecue menu, you can turn summer into the perfect opportunity for weight loss. So before you slather on the sunscreen and fire up your grill, read the following tips to grill your way lean this summer.
On the Grill: Believe it or not, grilling is actually a very healthy way to cook meat. Of course the type of meat that you choose will make all of the difference. Burgers and hot dogs are traditional barbecue meats, but they aren’t always the healthiest. Try the following:
Choose organic cuts of beef, fish or poultry with no anti-biotics or hormones.
Beef should be grass-fed, poultry should be free-range and fish should be wild.
Marinade with dressings that are organic, low in sugar and that do not include harmful chemicals or additives.
Avoid over-cooking to get the most nutrients from your meal.
Grill up salmon or cod instead of hot dogs.
Grill veggies like mushrooms, bell peppers, squash or asparagus.
Only grill organic corn- most corn these days is genetically altered.
Side Dishes: This is where most people run into trouble. Barbecue side dishes are typically filled with loads of fat. Creamy coleslaw and potato salads can hold as much as 15 grams of fat per serving. Try the following instead:
Make veggie kabobs and grill them
Grill bok choy (see recipe below)
Replace the mayo in your salads with olive oil or a healthy version that you can make on your own
Serve fresh salad with olive oil & apple cider vinaigrette
Try whole-grain or gluten free macaroni for your pasta salad
Grill up corn on the cob with organic butter and or sea salt
Put out a veggie tray with hummus or guacamole
Drinks: Most people don’t realize that beverages play a big role in summer weight gain. Margaritas, beer, soda pop and punch all contain lots of empty calories. Try the following:
Drink water, it is always your healthiest option
Stick with wine. Avoid the sugary drinks.
If you have to have a soda pop stick have a sparling water with a little cranberry or lemon. Try zevia sweetened with Stevia. It is great.
Brew unsweetened ice tea and serve with lemon
Dessert: Yes, there are ways to satisfy your sweet tooth while getting lean. Think outside of the box instead of turning to the typical fattening options like ice cream, pie, cake or cookies. Try the following:
Grill mango, banana and pineapple on kabobs
Try almond or coconut ice cream
Replace peach pie with grilled peach halves
Choose organic yogurt over ice cream
Remember, it’s ok to splurge every once in a while. Enjoy yourself. Just keep in mind that by taking a few of the above suggestions you can enjoy great food while getting back into great shape.
Want to shape up even more this summer? Call or email today to get started on a fitness program specifically designed to get you into your best shape ever.
Brien Shamp BS CSCS CMT CHEK NLC II
Personal Trainer, Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach
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