Help! I overindulged at a BBQ last weekend. What is the best BBQ foods to eat so I don't do it every weekend?
Damage control, stat! This weekend's BBQ was too much fun to restrict those tasty treats and now you are sporting a pouch poking over your skinny jeans...help! No need to put away those "not so discreet" bikinis for summer, I got you covered. Follow this game plan to slim down fast and avoid the snack attack at your next BBQ!
1. Water, Water, Water! Battle that bulge by choosing foods with a high water content to simultaneously satisfy your hunger and thirst. Try foods like fruits such as watermelon, oranges, pineapple, and tomatoes as wells as vegetables like asparagus, celery, cucumbers, mushrooms, and lettuce.
2. Buff up with the power of protein! Stick to lean cuts of meat to satisfy your ravenous tummy and stay satisfied to avoid overdoing it on salty, high calorie snacks. Great options are chicken breast, salmon burgers, white meat turkey burgers or shrimp.
3. Get some color! Nope, not on your skin, I am talking about on your plate! Don't waste your time with chips, pretzels or other nutrient poor nonsense. Sometimes just shaking up your veggie routine is enough variety to keep you satiated. Hollow out a pepper and use as a little bowl to fill with hummus or a low fat Greek yogurt dip. In lieu of packaged fried chips, make your own by slicing soft tortillas (look for 8 grams of fiber or more on the package) into chip size triangles and tossing them on the BBQ for a few seconds on each side. Make a gorgeous crudite plate, filled with veggies you may normally overlook: jicima, fennel, radishes, green beans and endive leaves are perfection on a warm day.
4. Cut out condiments! Grilling imparts a great flavor into foods, so skip the high sugar condiments. Just 2 tablespoons of barbeque sauce can have up to 60 calories and 11 grams of sugar. My fave is a little less caloric - Annie's Organic BBQ sauce. Bonus points, ketchup and mustard have a bit of antioxidant value! Love that. But, the ketchup calories do add up: 2 tablespoons has 30 calories and 8 grams of sugar. So aim to stick with mustard.
5. Avoid evil carcinogens! When meat is cooked until charred, chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed. There is evidence that HCAs are carcinogenic. Try these tips to keep them to a minimum:
-Experiment with marinades. Marinades - especially those containing fresh garlic, ginger and spices like turmeric - may reduce HCA formation.
-Precook meat and finish it on the grill - you'll get the grilled flavor while minimizing HCAs.
-Another way to reduce HCA's is to use a gas versus a charcoal grill. You'll also be doing something better for the environment. Outsmart your next chip craving with this simple snack recipe to avoid a bloated belly at next weekend's BBQ!
CUCUMBER - FETA GREEK YOGURT DIP
Time: 5 active minutes, 1 hour - 24 hours to marinate Serves: 8 - 10
INGREDIENTS: - 2 cups (16 ounces) Plain fat free Greek Yogurt - 1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, finely chopped, and spread on a paper towel to remove excess moisture - 8 ounces crumbled feta - 2 garlic cloves, minced - 2 tablespoons fresh dill - 2 tablespoons scallion, cut fine - 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
DIRECTIONS: 1. Mix all ingredients well. Prepare a few hours in advance and leave in the refrigerator for flavors to marry. Serve chilled.
--Terri MacLeod & Keri Glassman
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