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Wednesday, June 20, 2012
5 Steps to a Great Summer BBQ
If you're from a cold climate Summertime is what we look forward to for about three months out of the year. Living is easy, and their are lots of outdoor activities such as swimming, biking, fishing, jogging and sun bathing occupy your days. BBQs fill your nights. All of these activities require you to show your body, and you want to look amazing in those shorts or fitted T, so you need to be smart about how you do things this summer. After all, you didn't eat healthy and work out all year just to waste it on a few summer parties full of junk food, right? A summer BBQ is a great time to show off what you learned during your transformation into fitness. By you hosting a healthy BBQ party you can inspire your friends to a healthy lifestyle. Here are some healthy, fun alternatives to your a keeping you slim and trim, instead of gaining those extra pounds. 1) Appetizers. These little beginners can be some the tastiest foods to sink your teeth into, but can have huge calories hidden in them. In fact, it's probably best to skip most of these at a typical BBQ. Look to serve veggie platters with a little pizzaz! This can be accomplished by adding some multi-colored, phytonutrient-rich veggies you don't typically find on a boring old platter. Bell peppers. The brighter the pepper, the higher the concentration of antioxidants and vitamin C. Asparagus. Raw asparagus fancies up your platter, and it happens to be a great source of protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. Squash. Another vivaciously-colored and great-tasting veggie that you can sink your teeth into. They are also a great source of vitamins B1, B6, and C, folic acid, fiber, and potassium. Just like bell peppers, the richer the color, the richer the nutrients. Broccolini. Sometimes mistakenly called baby broccoli. Everybody loves babies, right? When it comes to broccolini's nutritional value, yes. Baby broccoli has a nice deep green color and contains protein, potassium, folic acid, calcium, iron, fiber, and vitamins A and C. Add some hummus to spice up to those veggies instead of the typical creamy dressings, and really make your friends rave. Your platter will be the talk of the town (or gym). 2) Drinks. Of course you have beer on hand since beer and BBQs go hand in hand. It's not going to kill you to have a high quality craft brew or two, but that doesn't mean you need to host a frat party. Guests are going to bring drinks. Guests are going to drink alcohol. Providing lots of healthy alternatives will help to keep the calorie count down. Fill pitchers with a variety of iced herbal teas, and or plenty of water with slices of fruit or cucumber to encourage your guests to hydrate properly. 3) Main course. Just think lean PROTEIN. (That veggie platter should have done you right for carbs.) Don't serve the typical hot dogs and hamburgers, be a little more creative. Your friends will love the fact that you have some great fresh fish on the grill. Here's a little trick. Choose a nice moist fish like mahi-mahi or salmon. Take a one-foot-by-one-foot square of aluminum foil and rub it with seasoning, lemon, and just a dash of olive oil. Place your fish in the foil, wrap it up (not too snug—give it a bit of room to breathe) and place it on the BBQ. Leave on the grill for 10 to 12 minutes and you have yourself a nice healthy meal. Fish is high in protein and an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. 4) Dessert. Summertime is the best time to introduce fun healthy desserts, since there is a plethora of yummy seasonal fruit on hand. Start by cutting a watermelon in half and scooping out all the contents. Then fill it with all types of fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, melon, bananas, peaches, plums, and kiwi. It is a super creative, fun summer dessert and fruit is high in fiber, low in calories, rich in vitamins, and contains no fat. 5) Entertainment. Most cookouts include a round of flag football, Frisbee®, or horseshoes. But if you really want to be the talk of the neighborhood, why not finish the festivities with dancing? Jack the tunes, clear the floor, deck, or lawn, and make room for some. Everyone loves to dance, and your burning some of those calorie off while you're having fun with your guest. The above blueprint won't promote the artery-hardening party we typically associate with BBQs. But it'll still be a heck of a good time, and you'll have some pretty happy guests knowing that they don't have to diet for the next week to make up for a fatty, sugary shindig. You can really influence others by showing them that a summer barbecue can be nice and healthy. There is no need to compromise your waistline for a good time. To Your Health, John