Annual Clean Eating Summer Party Guide

people eating at a bbqIt’s that time of year again: the weather heats up and your calendar fills up with family picnics, graduations, celebrations and outdoor parties. Yet, you have dietary goals—so what do you do?

Just like summertime fun, you can keep things fresh and healthy without much trouble. Clean eating is a great guide for the BBQ menu or whatever you fill your plate with this season.

Keep these summertime eating tips in mind:
  • Start and end with plant foods. If you’re charged with bringing a dish to pass, why not choose a cool crisp salad—it’s not only simple, but makes a wonderful bed for under your main dish off the grill. A salad helps fill you up with all that fiber, too, and you can keep that approach going by choosing sweet summer fruit for dessert.
  • Grill lean protein. Hot dogs and ribs may be popular summer BBQ fare, but you’ll be better off with some grilled chicken or fish—flavor is amped up by the grill and a simple marinade of low sodium soy sauce or savory dry rub will take it even further.
  • Choose your condiments wisely. When you pile on mayo, salad dressings and cheese dips, you’re usually piling on calories and fat, too. Stick with fresh food condiments like pico de gallo, or vinegar-based toppings like spicy brown mustard.
  • Drink plenty of water. Not only is it always good advice to stay hydrated, it will help you avoid trying to quench your thirst with beers and frozen concoctions. Heading to a BYOB occasion? A fizzy spritzer is a festive choice–pack dry white wine, fruit slices and seltzer water.

These tasty side dishes won’t leave you bloated:
  • Grilled Avocado: If you haven’t tried grilling your avocado yet, you must! Just brush with a bit of olive oil and grill soft side down until brown marks appear. Avocado is such a healthy fat that can double as a topping for most any meat or salad plate, too.
  • Grilled Pineapple: Grilling any fruit is worthwhile, but pineapple is especially delicious when it caramelizes. You can chop it up and mix it with avocado and green onions for a sweet and smoky salsa treat.
  • Tomato and Watermelon Salad: This summer, give this beautiful salad a whirl. Big chunks of juicy watermelon mixed with tomato wedges taste so good with a splash of balsamic vinegar, a bit of sea salt, and a few sprigs of mint. Option: try adding some crumbled feta cheese and fresh oregano instead of the sea salt and mint for a bit of Mediterranean flair.
  • Mushroom Skewers: Brush your mushroom caps with a mixture of, olive oil, pressed garlic, a few drops of Worcestershire sauce and cracked black pepper. Thread them kebab-style on skewers and grill till crisp on the edges. A few grape tomatoes between the mushrooms make the dish even prettier.

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