Warmer weather is (hopefully) right around the corner, and with that comes BBQs, parties and vacations. In other words, plenty of opportunities to eat and drink things that are bad for you; right? Let’s take a quick look at how this does not need to be the case with ways to cook lots of great foods without any extra fat added from oils used during frying etc.
Grilling at Home Tips
- Dry rubs and quick marinades work really well on meats, and these often can take the place of (or end up better than) breading and frying or covering them in sauces or cheeses.
- You can also grill vegetables and even fruit. Grilling intensifies the flavor of all foods; fruits and veggies included.
- Try making kebabs that alternate meat with pieces of peppers or onions or any produce of your choice. This is a great way to increase vegetable and fruit intake. You can even skip the meat altogether as there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options for grilling as well.
BBQ Party Tips
- Stay away from the sides that have a lot of mayo like macaroni salad and opt for garden salads and vegetables. It is also an idea to bring a salad to share if you worried there may not be one!
- Try to not go to a party hungry, if you can. Have a small meal or snack before you go so you are not tempted to fill up on party foods. Definitely enjoy the main course at the party, but be committed to enjoying what is on your plate and not going back for seconds and thirds.
- It is also a good idea to move around a lot at the party, especially if it means not sitting next to or at the food table. Seat yourself as far from it as you can if you feel like you won’t be able to control picking.
- Drink lots of water; because as we all know, sometimes feeling hungry can actually be thirst.
- And finally, if you feel like you really won’t be able to control yourself with food at the party and it is just self-sabotage waiting to happen, you can always show up to the party a little fashionably late-after a lot of the food has been picked over. (dip that has had 1000 chips plunged through it already looks a lot less appetizing than a fresh bowl of dip!)
- Wherever you are staying, try to have 1-2 meals at your home base as well as snacks. This will save you money and will also prevent you from eating out at every single meal.
- Going out to eat when you are on vacation makes you not want to bring leftovers with you, and so you feel like you need to finish everything on your plate. This can be problematic if you are eating out every meal and finishing everything they bring out. It can add up to 1-3 extra meals worth of calories in a day. If you are keeping track of your macros, take a peek at menus online first to plan out which meal best suits your goals.
- Try to also be committed to things like, having one drink off of a signature cocktail menu vs having 3 generic beers with lunch, or getting a dessert that you’ve never heard of before and you’d like to try vs having a plain piece of cheesecake for dessert just because.
- Also, try to keep moving if you can, even if it’s just going for a walk each day.
These are just a few nutrition tips that just scratch the surface!
If you would like to chat about this more, or other nutrition tips, come see me during office hours in the month of May:
Saturday 5/8: 10:30-11:30am
Tuesday: 5/11 7-8pm,
Thursday: 5/20 7-8pm
Thursday: 5/27 7-8pm.
Office hours are FREE to members!
Recipe of the Month
Featured recipe: Smoky Applewood Pork Chops with Grilled Apples
- 4-6 thick cut, boneless pork chops (trim the fat)
- 1 packet McCormick Grill mates smoky Applewood marinade
- Vinegar of choice
- Apples: 2 Granny Smith or Honeycrisp apples, cut into 1/2” slices with seeds removed
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- 1 tbsp real maple syrup
- 1 tsp fresh ground cinnamon
- Rinse pork chops and pat dry, season both sides of chops with a pinch of salt.
- Trim fat.
Combine the packet of marinade with 1 Tbs. of vinegar and whisk in enough water so that the marinade is a thin paste. (This doesn’t have to be perfect, just make sure you can evenly coat
all the chops).
- Coat the pork chops in the marinade and let them sit anywhere from 10 minutes to a couple of hours as long as they are refrigerated.
- Light grill and set up high direct heat.
- Melt the butter and add the syrup to the butter.
- Using a basting brush, coat both sides of apple slices with melted butter mix and place on a wire cooling rack. Sprinkle both sides evenly with cinnamon.
- Place pork chops and apples over direct heat area on grill.
- Cook apples about 6 minutes per side, or until they’re nicely browned and grill marks are formed.
- Cook pork about 4 minutes per side, or until internal temperature reaches 140°F as indicated by an instant read thermometer. Carry over cooking will take these chops to the required 145°F recommended by the USDA. Enjoy both on a bed of greens with a few chunks of goat cheese or other vegetables of choice!
Jen Hazzard is a Alpin Haus Fitness’ Nutritionist, a Precision Nutrition Certified Nutrition Coach, NCCPT certified Personal Trainer, holds a bachelor‘s degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Nutrition and a master’s degree in Chemistry Education.
She is also a record holding powerlifter and former marathon runner.