How To Eat Like A Health Guru at the Cookout
For many Americans, Independence Day represents fireworks and good eats with family and friends. This Wednesday will be the prime day of get-togethers, barbeques, pool parties, and the amazing light shows illuminating the skies.
For many (including myself) the summer eats seems to be one of the challenging times of the year because of the assorted food and drink selections at social events. The thought of trying to maintain the weight, goes out the window!
We all love the summer parties but they don’t have to sabotage your diet neither. I have a few tips on how to think and eat like a health guru at the next cookout:
1. Don’t Leave Home Without Eating!
You now have permission to eat before heading to the barbecue cookout. Grabbing a snack may not be such a bad idea because it can provide satiety so you don’t show up half-starved.
On the other end, do not fast all day in an attempt to gouge on the cookout meals. In fact, that is the worst thing to do because you will most likely overeat and it will slow your metabolism.
2. Skip the First Sip
If your first inclination is to grab a cold one or a cocktail before you greet your fellow revelers, don't. You will most likely going to have one indulgent night with consequences. Alcohol has a lot of calories and you’ll end drinking more of it as you socialize.
In addition, you’ll consume more food that has more calories due to your limited willpower. You’re better off skipping that first drink and switch to a healthier alternative instead, like kombucha or iced green tea.
3. Assess the Food Table
Let’s be honest here: you access the buffet setup and your taste buds on salivating on all the “wrong” things. You want to grab each one:
Pot stickers, honey barbeque chicken skewers, shrimp cocktail, potato chips, popcorn, and all the goodness that a cookout can have. The problem is, is that most of these foods are processed, salted, sugary and just downright disrespectful to your health.
Now I’m not saying to restrict yourself to just the celery sticks and crudite, just limit your portions and kick the desire to pig out. Use patience, scope out the table setup, and use better judgment to create a well-balanced meal.
4. Fill Up Once
Be sure to take one serving of lean protein like barbecue fish or chicken.Then, fill the rest your plate with healthier goods like grilled veggies, tomato slices, roasted corn and salad. Lay off the potato salad. That’s not considered salad and is filled with a cream base with typically contains a lot of calories.
Agree to enjoy your first plate of meal and then stop eating or munching on the snacks. In fact, stay far away from the food/snack table and socialize with the guests instead!
5. Host a Party of Your Own
This year, it might be your turn to host a barbeque. If that is the case, be sure to serve up delicious and healthy foods for your guests. Switch up the heavily drenched chicken wings for a Shish Tawook chicken skewers instead! If you're a vegetarian, you can easily swap the chicken for tofu!
I made these skewers years ago for a Christmas barbeque cookout and it was a huge success. It was so unexpectedly popular that I ran out of them fairly quickly. It is the perfect blend of savory, tang, and a little sweet. Try them with the spelt flatbread recipe here!
SHISH TAWOOK CHICKEN SKEWERS
1 ½ pound skinless boneless chicken breast, sliced in 1-inch cubes
½ cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp fresh garlic, mashed
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
In a medium bowl or plastic storage bag, mix yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper
Add the chicken and mix to ensure that the mixture is coated
Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap or zip up the storage bag (ensure that there is little air in bag) and let chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight to marinate
On the day of barbeque, if you have wooden skewers, submerge them in water beforehand for easier threading
Thread chicken onto skewers and then grill. Grilling time is typically 10 to 12 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked and a little charred. Serves about 6 to 8 people.
Have a safe and enjoyable holiday with your friends and family! Don't forget to check out my recent post on staying safe for the Fourth!