When the sun comes out, it seems so do the unhealthy barbecue foods. Potato salad, pasta salad, hamburgers, and other temptations can be hard to stay away from. Replacing them with more balanced alternatives can be a great way to enjoy your summer barbecues without ruining your progress and destroying your goals.
Offer to bring a side if you’re going to be tempted by the other choices. People will thank you for providing a healthy alternative!
A good one to bring is pasta salad. Typically carb heavy and full of unhealthy fats, pasta salad is a staple during the summer. Swap out your regular pasta for black bean spaghetti or zucchini noodles, or a combination of both. Top it with a light pesto, add some veggies, and grilled shrimp for a light and delicious (yet filling!) summer side dish.
You can also use the Vegetti for a tasty zucchini or cucumber salad. These recipes came straight from the Vegetti recipe booklet:
- 4 cucumbers
- 1 small white onion, copped fine
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 Tbsp dried dill
Spiral cut cucumbers using Vegetti, and add onions. Combine vinegar, water, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, pour over cucumbers and onions. Stir in dill, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
- 3-4 zucchini
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp fresh basil, parsley, oregano, chives (finely chopped)
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)
Use the thick side of the Vegetti to make zucchini strands, then chop into 1-2″ long pieces. Combine zucchini and 1 teaspoon of salt in a sieve. Toss and add the rest of the salt, and toss again. Set aside. Combine lemon juice, herbs, and extra virgin olive oil in a bowl and whisk. Rinse zucchini and pat dry. Add to the bowl and toss. Add red onion, walnuts, and pepper.
Quinoa salads are also a great alternative. They’re higher in protein than other grains. This Green Goddess Quinoa Salad pairs perfectly with barbecue foods.
The main meal of choice at all barbecues are burgers. Getting creative with your burger can help you pack in extra protein, vegetables, and reduce the saturated fat. Whole Foods recently shared a bunch of great burger recipes, including an apple cheddar burger (with 19g of protein!) and a southwest veggie burger (with 10g of protein!) Swap the bun for a protein up carb down Flatoutbread for an extra 12g of protein and only 10g of net carbs.
Remember (As Usual)…
Protein first! Fill yourself on lean protein, veggies, and lots of water. Make sure to stay on top of your goals and track in a diary or an app, such as MyFitness Pal, to stay accountable. Hydration is also crucial in the summer heat. Last but not least, enjoy yourself!!