Healthy Barbecue Season Is Open!
Summer is here, the weather is super-nice, vacations are around the corner… must be barbecue season! If you are crazy about gathering a bunch of friends and eating together in the garden, I have some great ideas on how to make a healthy barbecue. Here are a few of my personal favorites, which are not only incredibly tasty, but also figure-friendly.
When trying to have a healthy barbecue, zucchinis should be the first on your list. You can slice them into half an inch pieces and even grill them without using any oils if you’re on a weight loss journey and if you’re watching your calories. In this case you can replace the fat with flavors! Try granulated garlic, a bit of lemon zest and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. The salt will soften them, and the lemon zest and garlic are going to give them a wonderful flavor that will compensate for the lack of oils.
If you’re not very concerned about calories, you can use a bit of fat- just make sure it’s the healthy kind! Slide up the zucchini, put it in a zip lock bag with about a table spoon of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt, some pepper, and give it a good shake before adding it on your grill.
Feel free to experiment, and try your own recipes using mushrooms (yum!), sweet potatoes (with some lime and cilantro), even eggplants and asparagus! Don’t be afraid to try new things, it will definitely make your healthy barbecue the highlight of the week.
Of course, the first recommendation is to grill some chicken breast. It’s the meal of champions, and why should you deny yourself the health benefits, when you can make it taste so good? The secret here is to flavor it well, and watch while you grill it to make sure it doesn’t dry out too much. You can use simple dressings like mixing fat free ranch dressing with a bit of crushed garlic and some chopped basil, or just use your favorite herb mix.
If you’re not that crazy about chicken breast, you can use other chicken parts, or even other kinds of meat! The point of making a healthy barbecue is using natural ingredients, and food that will help you with your fitness goals. So instead of, say, sausages, you can choose some lean meat, and that way you get all those muscle-building protein without the unnecessary fats.
The “secret ingredient” to any successful healthy barbecue is going to be the sauce. You have to make sure it is full of flavor, but at the same time low on weird chemicals. Nowadays if you buy your barbecue sauce from a supermarket, you will notice that more than half of the ingredients on the pack are chemicals. You know the rule- if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!
So here is a healthy alternative to the store-bought barbecue sauce, where sugar is replaced with stevia, and which has a lot less calories than regular sauce:
– 1 can of tomatoes (or even fresh, chopped tomatoes if you have some)- about 6 oz.
– 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
– ¼ cup of stevia (or less, if you don’t want your sauce to be too sweet)
– A bit of lemon juice
– About a tablespoon and a half of coarse ground mustard
– A bit of hot sauce
– A bit of paprika, garlic powder, and whatever other spices you prefer.
Mix all these in a pot, boil them on medium heat for about 5 minutes, and you’re done! Store any leftover sauce in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 1 week.
Instead of the usual mashed potatoes or French fries, you can either have the meat with the grilled vegetables we talked about before, or even a salad. The goal is to keep it relatively simple (you don’t want to make this healthy barbecue feel overwhelming!), but also tasty and nutritious. Use vegetables that are in season, and ideally try to buy them from your farmer’s market to make sure they are not sprayed with a hundred different chemicals.
The reason why you should alternate your side dishes is because they usually consist of foods full of “empty carbs”, that is, foods that have mostly carbs, and little other nutritional value. Replace this with something that really nourishes your body, and your body will thank you in return.
Let us know if you try the tips above when you make your own healthy barbecue, and if you have any suggestions feel free to share them in the comment section below.
Here is an useful article that will help you to Learn How to Turn Your Favourite Foods Into Healthier Food. Enjoy!