By Rennie Aranda, Skinny Gene Nutritionist
It’s summertime! It’s a perfect time to go out, enjoy fresh air, and spend time with family and friends. Summer is filled with social events such as picnics, potlucks, BBQs, carnivals and state fairs with plenty of unhealthy temptation. Traditional summer barbecue foods can definitely compromise the beach body you worked so hard for in the months leading into summer. Try some of these healthy tips for your summer BBQs so you can have fun grilling without the guilt that won’t sacrifice taste or the spirit of the season.
Healthy Summer Food Substitutions
Instead of: The traditional heavy meats high in fat (ribs, hamburgers, etc.)
Try: Lean protein choices such as chicken or shrimp and serve them on skewers as kabobs. They are easy to throw on the grill and are packed with protein and low in calories and fat. Add colorful veggies such as zucchini, bell peppers, and squash to add delicious summer flavors and loads of antioxidants.
Instead of: Macaroni and potato salad
Try: healthier pasta salads that replace mayo with fat free/low-fat yogurt or heart healthy unsaturated fats like olive oil. Toss in some lean protein choices and colorful veggies for a boost of nutrition and flavor.
Instead of: Deep fried onion rings
Try: Coating sliced onions with egg whites and a mixture of grated parmesan cheese, whole-wheat flour, and panko breadcrumbs and bake in a 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes for a crispy, satisfying treat.
Instead of: Ice cream sandwiches, (nearly 500 calorie snack with 60% from saturated fat)
Try: Making your own ice cream sandwiches using lower-fat sorbet. Better yet, skip the cookies and enjoy your sorbet or low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit.
Additional Tips For Enjoying A Healthy Summer:
– Be mindful of what and how much you are eating. Take breaks to see if you’re still hungry before you go back for another plateful.
– Get some physical activity while you’re outside. Have fun backyard games with friends and family (don’t forget the sun block!)
– Avoid the burn. Studies have found that compounds in charred and cooked meats may contain carcinogens, or cancer causing agents. Decrease this risk by marinating food before grilling.
– Use a smaller plate. Studies have shown that people tend to serve themselves bigger portions when they have a bigger plate. Grab the salad plate to serve yourself to cut calories while maintaining the taste.