Healthy Tips for Summer Parties

Wednesday December 16, 2015

Picnic

Summer is the time of year when we are spending more time enjoying the outdoors with friends and family. Whether that is hiking, biking, sitting on a patio or playing in the kiddy pool you can be pretty sure a BBQ is to follow.  Taking a healthier look at what you are serving your family will make this summer’s outdoor time happy and healthy. Enjoy the sunshine and these tips below:

  1. Hamburgers and hot dogs are the classics when it comes to the BBQ.  Opt for homemade versions and or whole food version of meats. If the mains are made at home you can control the fillers and hold the preservatives. How about just cooking the real thing such as tenderloin, chicken pieces or pork chops instead.
  2. Pick better bread options. If you want to make a healthier burger or a more interesting bruschetta at your next BBQ opt for whole grain versions. They are tastier, chewier and healthier than their white counterparts.
  3. Replace pop and other sugary drinks with a more healthful and beautiful beverage such as flavored water. Just add your favorite flavor combinations to plain old filtered water. Let it steep for a couple of hours, add ice and serve. No calories, cost effective, delicious and beautiful. Try strawberry basil, orange slices and vanilla bean, blueberry, lemon and peach or cucumber.
  4. Use a marinade when grilling meats and or vegetables this summer.  Research suggests that marinating meat (even briefly), and adding onions and garlic, significantly reduces the formation of potentially cancer-causing chemicals.
  5. Go for the real thing and focus on whole foods. Quite often at summer parties we pull out the processed foods like cheese slices, potato chips and ketchup. Explore a bit more this year and use real cheese, kale chips or make your own fancy ketchups. You will not only impress your friends and family but it will be healthier too!
  6. Grass fed beef  is always a terrific option for a summer party but if you’re looking for a lighter meal or wanting to offer something different why not try a different kind of steak – salmon or Portobello mushroom
  7. Quite often when we think of outdoor parties and BBQ we think meat. What about the veggies; they can be grilled two. Go beyond your typical skewers of peppers, mushrooms and onions, and try asparagus, romaine lettuce, pineapple, watermelon, peaches, green beans and corn on the cob.
  8. Summer is the time when fresh produce is in abundance instead of serving a heavy dessert why not offer what is in season; such as strawberries and cherries in June or fresh peaches and apricots in August topped with honey Greek yogurt or a honey lime dressing leaving you feeling lighter  and refreshed after your summer meal.
  9. If you are attending a BBQ this summer and have dietary concerns or you want to make sure there is something healthy, bring your own.  It will ease your hosts mind and ensure you enjoy the party too.
  10. Safety first when cooking for a group of loved ones. Be sure to prevent cross contamination of utensils and plates that once held raw meats. Also make sure you are cooking meats to the correct temperatures.  Pork beef lamb, fish should be cooked to 145F and chicken 165F. Letting the meat rest for 5 minutes or more after cooking will ensure a few minutes more of cooking and the result will be much juicer.
  11. Whether end up at a party or not the summer heat makes you more susceptible to dehydration. Start off your day by drinking two glasses of water and keep drinking at each meal. If alcohol is in the mix be sure to drink additional water to avoid the weary morning after.
  12. Add some superfoods to the mix. Use the add in principle and make what you are already preparing even more nutritious. Add such things as: blueberries, hemp seeds, raw walnuts, ginger, beets, garlic, goji berries, raw pumpkin seeds, seaweed or nutritional yeast to menu.