I LOVE Summer grilling! I love the sunshine, I love food, I love cake, I love colorful cocktails, I love friends and I really love a day off on a Monday. These are all things we’re grappling with this coming Monday, the 4th of July. It’s a National Holiday. And while the premise of the holiday is awesome, the outcome can be detrimental to many healthy hopefuls — myself included! So let me pay my past failures forward with my 7 Tips for a Healthy 4th of July BBQ!
1. Start the day like it’s any other day.
And by that I mean, if you’re a morning exerciser, don’t NOT be one today just because it’s a holiday. And don’t decide to have a HUGE breakfast just because you have the morning off work…if you have a festivity planned later in the day of course.
Be smart with your time and know that exercise and a healthy breakfast are both keystone habits and if you start strong, you’re more likely to make smarter decisions all-day-long! In fact, check the local news, chances are you have an awesome local 5k or 10k you can jump in on to kick off your holiday!
2. Take the gallon water challenge.
It’s hot out anyway, so being hydrated matters — no matter what. But staying hydrated won’t just help you beat the heat, it will fight off hunger and the biological urge to drink more booze (if it is on the table!). So fill up a gallon jug in the morning and vow to finish it before the day is done. Mark it with times of the day so you know you’re on track and when you need to play catch up. It’s kind of a fun game.
3. Cook with color.
Of course. When you cook with color, you ensure you’re appetizers and mains are loaded with fruits and veggies. Not only are they lower in calorie and higher in phytochemical and vitamin/mineral power, they also have fiber. That means they are filling. So you can save your guests a few extra cake calories if you can stuff them full of carrots before the cake tray makes it ways out. So skip the pale chips and dips and load up on plant power when you can. Trust me, it’s delicious!
4. Grilling is naturally light!
The only bad wrap grilling can get is if you toss a junky hot dog on it full of no-name ingredients. By nature, the grill is a great way to cook protein! It’s far superior to sautéing, pan frying or of course, deep frying. It requires very little fat and with the right marinade, you can add the perfect amount of flavor to any piece of yummy protein.
These veggies kabobs take a little man power to put together, but are the perfect dish to share because they are full of color and lean chicken breast. I just marinated the chopped chicken in a plastic bag with lemon, rosemary, a bit of olive oil, garlic and apple cider vinegar. So easy, so yummy!
5. Have a little bit of fun…ha ha!
Ok, there is absolutely nothing good I can say about these Jell-o shots from last year other than they are now an annual tradition. I made over 100 of then and they were gone waaay before I would have thought possible. They made people laugh, they made them remember funny times and they are incredibly thematic in vibrant red and blue!
Each shot has about 50 calories. You burn about 10 calories per floor of stairs you walk up. I live 15 floors below the roof I host my parties. So long as I take the stairs up one time, I’ve earned a few freebies. It’s all about balance, right?
6. Mind your mixers…and your booze.
Well, with all that said on the Jell-o shots, booze can certainly be the bearer of bad news on any day drinking event that has the potential to roll into the night. Since we tend to grill early, and fireworks come out late, this is often a problem that plagues many of us. Here are my favorite Summertime, red, white and blue cocktails on the lighter side. They could keep you out of trouble if you manage them moderately, drink your water and eat a balanced diet 🙂 They are made with cleaner alcohol and lower sugar mixers — minimizing the negative impacts.
7. Don’t be afraid of leftovers!
So if you cooked with color and you grilled lean meat, then you should LOVE your leftovers! Don’t be a part of the “clean plate club” today just because you don’t want the food to go to waste. It won’t! These are the makings of healthy lunches all-week-long! You can store in single serve containers and grab-and-go, or use all of this as awesome salad toppers! And trust me, your guests will be happy to take these leftovers off your hands.
That’s it! Follow those 7 tips for healthy 4th of July BBQ and you’ll be all set to roll into the new week feeling pretty good about your healthy and happy lifestyle!
What’s your favorite tip that allows you to enjoy our holiday but still stay on track?
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