July 4th is around the corner which means your either attending a bbq or hosting one. Grilling is one of the healthiest ways to cook, but those July fourth burgers, brats, and fatty sides (not to mention booze) are notorious for breaking the caloric bank.
Put a dietitian (or me) at the helm and this is what the menu would look like:
Smokin Starters: Take a break from traditional “itos”, (a client once coined Doritos, Cheetos, Fritos, etc…) and try grilling eggplant for a dip (recipe to follow) with grilled multigrain bread, grilled tomato and basil bruschetta, chicken yaki-tori, or grilled vegetable pizza on whole wheat crust. Don’t panic, its not complicated- you can purchase the whole wheat dough at Whole Foods now and simply roll it out. Done and done!
Skinny Sides: A plate of grilled summer veggies rock! Cube them (helps them cook quicker and always brush with a good olive oil) for veggie skewers and intertwine with fruit for the sweet and savory effect (everything tastes better on a stick). Grilled potato salad with sauteed onions, (recipe to follow), grilled zucchini with olive oil, lemon, sea salt and grated parmesan cheese are old reliables at our house. I have personally turned committed carnivore’s into veggie lovers.
Soak it or rub it: Marinades and rubs add flavor and limits the need for high sugar or creamy sauces, everyone wins! Doesn’t have to be elaborate. A marinade can be as simple as olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and rosemary (my personal favorite herb). Make up your own signature using your favorite herbs and spices.
Pick a proper protein: Swap out processed mystery meats, like hot dogs for grass fed beef and fish or shellfish. Wild salmon is great on the grill and also has amazing heart health benefits. Wild shrimp with cubed pineapple on a stick is pretty killer. Skinless organic chicken or pork loin are also good choices. I marinate chicken cubes in sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, and garlic and grill on skewers, its a house hold favorite. Add grilled onions and grilled sweet peppers to turkey burgers, top with avocado- yum!
A little pre-planing, a little thinking outside the box and you just may be able to have fun, eat well, drink some, and still avoid that Monday morning misery.