There’s just something fun about grilling out on a holiday. The aroma blankets the neighborhood and gives a home a festive atmosphere with each whiff – but grilling out isn’t always healthy. While most people are grilling high-calorie hot dogs and hamburgers, and serving it with potato chips, baked beans and potato salad, you could be grilling up healthier options.
First, there’s the meat. Trade regular beef burgers for homemade turkey burgers. If you buy pre-made burgers, look at the fat content. Most of the time it’s crazy high. I prefer buying lean ground turkey meat and making my own turkey burgers. They not only have less fat, but I can make mine more flavorful. (Try my Spicy Turkey Burger & Mexican Slaw recipe!)
Even if you have kids coming over, watch out for high-cal hot dogs. Either skip the wieners altogether, or look for healthier options with just meat and spices without all the crap (and fat), like Applegate Farms Uncured Beef Hot Dog. (Click here for more dog options). Or, stick to whole meat like grilled chicken, pork or fish instead of doing burgers and hot dogs since they require bread – which is just more unnecessary calories.
As for the sides, leave the potato chips and dip at the grocery story and forget the traditional BBQ sides like cole slaw, baked beans and potato salad, which are loaded with fat and sugar. Instead, go for grilled veggies for tons of flavor without the guilt. They are tasty hot or cold – and a heck of a lot better for you!
10 Healthy Veggie Grillers
1. Grilled Asparagus: Toss asparagus in Olive Oil, Garlic and Sea Salt and place directly on the grill or on a sheet of tin foil.
2. Lemon Cabbage: Slice cabbage into 8 large wedges (using the core to keep the wedges together). Put the wedges in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain the water and brush equal parts lemon juice and olive oil on wedges of cabbage. Sprinkle with seas salt, a dust of garlic powder and wrap in tin foil. Cook until they are soft and golden grown on the sides.
3. Cilantro Corn: Mix corn, diced onion, red pepper, cilantro, lime juice, sea salt and a little olive oil. Wrap in tin foil or grill loose on a non-stick griddle pan, until kernels are slightly charred.
4. Teriyaki Mushrooms: Wrap mushrooms in a tin foil, keeping the top open, but ready to close. Add teriyaki marinade and a little olive oil. Close the tin foil and cook until they are tender.
5. Curried Brussels Sprouts: Boil brussels sprouts for 2-3 minutes. Drain, and lightly coat the brussels spouts in olive oil. Dust with curry powder and sea salt. Wrap tightly in tin foil. Cook until tender to the core.
6. Grilled Eggplant: Slice eggplant in large slices and coat with lemon juice and olive oil. Grill straight on the grill, or on tin foil.
7. Potato Wedges: If whole potatoes take too long to cook for your liking, cut your potatoes in large wedges and grill in light olive oil and sea salt. Spice them up by adding a sprinkle of parmesan and garlic powder over potato wedges toward the end of grilling. For sweet potato wedges, serve with a light sprinkle of powdered sugar and a drizzle of light maple syrup.
9. Green Beans: Toss green beans in soy sauce, olive oil & fresh minced garlic and let sit for a couple of minutes while you prepare the grill. Lay beans in a tin foil packet (for more flavor) or place on an a grilling pan or grate.
10. Zucchini, Squash & Eggplant: Slice vegetables long-ways and coat in the marinade mixture in the video (below) and grill straight on the grill.
Great Veggie Grilling Tips from allrecipes.com
• 8 Chicken Breasts (filleted into 16 pieces)
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/2 cup lime juice
• LOTS of this yummy Chipotle Seasoning (until each breast was nicely covered)
• Salt (to taste)
Grill on medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes on each side. End result is one juicy, flavorful batch of grilled chicken – the perfect centerpiece for any meal!
Grilled Mexican Corn:
A Bag of Today’s Harvest Frozen Corn
Chopped Fresh Cilantro out of my “garden” (to taste)
5 Diced small red and orange sweet peppers
One Tablespoon low-fat Hellman’s Mayo (optional)
Mix corn, lime juice, cilantro and peppers together.Wrap the loose corn in tin foil and place on the grill until the corn is a little charred. Once the corn is done, add the optional mayo and top with sliced avocado.
What is YOUR favorite seasoning for grilling out?
When someone has been really training hard and dieting, a day like Memorial Day can be as scary as a horror flick. No matter how great you’ve been all week long, one bad meal can blow the whole week. BUT Memorial Day can be one of the healthiest holidays of the year if you want it to be.
Think about it. Valentine’s Day is normally a fancy dinner out with high-cal gourmet foods and wine, Mother’s Day is often a buffet lunch after church, Thanksgiving is the biggest meal of the year with the most side dishes and desserts, and Christmastime is filled sweet treats. What makes Memorial Day have the advantage? It’s a grilling day!
Many other holidays are filled with casseroles and complicated recipes but Memorial Day is all about being simple. Grill up some meat and add a couple of simple side dishes and you are good to go!
Also, while many holidays are normally centered on laziness and food, Memorial Day is an active fun day. It’s a day that is normally filled with beach parties, parades, pool parties, boating, going to the park and just enjoying the great outdoors.
Cut calories on your Memorial Day:
2.) Keep sides simple, using whole foods. Make skewers with green pepper, onion, mushroom, pineapple and tomato. Grill asparagus or corn, and throw in a simple salad.
3.) Make fruits and veggies your finger food. Trade chips for carrots, celery, broccoli, cherry tomatoes and cauliflower, and spice it up with a nice greek yogurt dip or hummus. Fresh fruit always is refreshing on a hot summer day too. If you MUST have some salty snacks, throw in a few pretzel thins and nuts – but leave the chips at the grocery store because if you buy them, they WILL be eaten!
4.) Don’t drink your calories. There are a lot of misconceptions about alcoholic beverages. Just know that 1gm of alcohol has 7 calories, compared to a carbohydrate or a gram of protein having 4 calories per gram. It is VERY easy to consume a LOT of calories when you drink, so be wise. If you want to have a drink in your hand most of the day, choose a sipper – like a glass of Merlot. Avoid beer on a hot day because you will likely drink a lot of it because it’s cold and “refreshing”. Instead, drink a TON of water or sparkling water with lime. If you plan on drinking something special, drink one water for every beer or soda you drink to help you stay hydrated and to help cut calories.
5.) Keep a tally. If you haven’t been dieting – you can skip this step. BUT if you’ve been dieting hard and training even harder – this step is a MUST. Keep a tally on your calories to help you hold yourself accountable. If you don’t, you’ll likely eat twice as much. Look at labels, look up calories on your iphone and keep a running total for the day. You’ll be amazed how much this helps keep your eating under control.
6.) Eat first. So you have no control over what you will be around because you are going to someone else’s house? I have an easy answer – EAT! Yep, you hear right – eat or have a big protein shake before you go to their house. You’ll be much less likely to eat their garbage and you’ll be less focused on food.
7.) Don’t feel sorry for yourself. If you are at a party and you see everyone else eating and drinking whatever they want, don’t feel sorry for yourself. Instead, realize everyone is looking at your discipline in admiration. They see a determined, focused and controlled person. If people would be honest, most of the people around you would probably admit they envy your dedication. Remember, you never know who YOU’LL inspire. Stay focused and don’t give in like anyone else. You aren’t just anyone other Joe-Schmo! You are a success story in the making! And when you reach your goal and get that rockin’ body, I don’t think anyone will be feeling sorry for you then – and they’ll remember the time you stuck with your guns on Memorial Day. (and you’ll be hoping the next holiday party is a pool party so you can show off your new hot bod!) 🙂
Happy Memorial Day Everyone!