It hasn’t seemed to be much of a summer yet in the Midwest. We have had a lot of rain and not a lot of warm days, but the calendar says July 4th is around the corner. For my family, it will mean back yard grilling and feeding a crowd. Feeding a crowd on a holiday does not have to mean your health goals fall apart. With a little planning, it’s easy to have a healthy and delicious holiday BBQ. We are a pretty health conscious crowd, so here is what I am thinking as possible menu items for this week:
For an appetizer at a healthy BBQ, try fat-free/low-fat easy bruschetta. My husband just whipped this together last night as part of an easy Sunday night meal using some not too tasty dried out bakery bread. He toasted thin slices of the dry bread, and then ladled his tomato mixture on top. He mixed diced tomatoes, fresh garlic, and balsamic vinegar together (to taste, no oil included). Topped with fresh basil and a pinch of fresh Parmesan cheese, it was wonderful and fat-free with no guilt issues returning for a third serving!
For the entrée, consider the following:
- Jenni-O brand turkey brats-saves you at least 10 grams of fat and 100 calories over the standard counterpart. When we eat brats or serve brats to a crowd, we never eat the standard product and quite frankly, after soaking in beer and onions, one cannot tell the difference.
- Fruit and/or vegetable and meat kebobs will save you calories by cutting down on the amount of meat consumed. The quality of this meal will be improved by substituting the fruit and/or vegetables for the meat which adds healthy anti-oxidants from the fruits and vegetables while cutting down on saturated fat from meat.
- Instead of standard burgers, consider grilling marinated boneless/skinless chicken breasts. Pound the breasts to about a 1/4 inch thickness, marinade in your favorite mixtures, grill up and serve on whole wheat hamburger buns!
For side dishes, consider:
- Fresh fruit salad which is always easy to make ahead and pull out of the refrigerator when needed.
- Or, cut up vegetables served with humus and/or low-fat vegetable dip.
- Or, kale salad! This recipe is so special it deserves its own blog, but for now here is the recipe. It is an amazing stand alone dish or fabulous side dish full of good healthy ingredients.
- Strawberry shortcake served with angel food cake, fresh diced berries, and light cool whip or whipped cream
- Or, just indulge in your favorite ice cream at this point since you ate so much healthy food the rest of the day.
For your beverages:
For the beverages, remember they can be loaded with calories from both sugar and alcohol. Consider having your bar and cooler stocked with:
- Diet tonic water and lemonade which will mix well with alcohol for a reduced calorie cocktail
- Diet pop
- Lower alcohol and calorie beer as well!
Happy 4th of July and enjoy the summer!
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