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It's Grilling Season

Tips for Eating Health this Summer

By Shelly Theroux AFAA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute: Nutrition for Health and Fitness Coach for Granite Health and Fitness

Summer is the time for barbecues, concerts, camping, and family vacations! You might head into summer with the best intentions to eat healthy, but thereís always a picnic or barbecue going on with an endless array of mouth watering food.

Summer is actually one of those seasons where you have a lot of flexibility with food if you know where to start; thinking in terms of whole foods. Foods that you can cook or buy with a minimal amount of ingredients. To most people that would be six or fewer ingredients on the food label.

Firing up the grill doesnít necessarily translate into healthy eating. Just because you cook food over an open flame doesnít mean itís always a healthy choice. A lot of eating healthy still comes down to selecting and preparing quality, healthy ingredients.

Tips for Proteins

There are so many great cuts of lean meat, poultry, and fish that are delicious! With lean cuts of chicken or beef, youíll typically want to add some extra flavor by marinating them. Instead of grabbing a pre-packaged bottle of teriyaki or salad dressing, try making your own using foods like fresh squeezed juices, fresh herbs, and honey which will keep the sodium and sugar content down to a minimum.

When preparing fish and shellfish, simple is best! Some fresh lemon or lime juice and fresh herbs will add flavor to your seafood without overpowering the natural flavors. Flavored olive oils are a great way to add moisture and good fats to any cut of meat. Some of my favorite oils are extra virgin olive, grapeseed, avocado and coconut!

Tips for Veggies

There are so many healthy options for grilling veggies! Instead of the typical potluck salad, try grilling something like red and yellow peppers brushed with a bit of olive oil. Grilled avocado and pineapple will pair well with chicken breasts! One of my favorite vegetables to grill is sweet corn.

Potatoes are a barbecue staple with steak, but instead of adding drenching them in sour cream, take a lighter approach with Greek yogurt, fresh chives, and a bit of butter. You get a little extra protein from the Greek yogurt and flavor to match.

Salads are a no brainer and you donít have to be super fancy with them. All you need is greens, a bright mix of veggies, good fats like nuts, avocados and olives, fruit if you like and a good homemade vinaigrette! Stay away from mayo based dressings, and bottled dressings as they all translate into too much sugar and sodium. If you want to make a mayo based dressing, make it at home so you know what all is in it.

What about Alcohol

For many, a Summer barbecue would not be complete without ALCOHOL! I get asked the same question at least once a week, ďCan I drink alcohol and still maintain a healthy lifestyle?Ē The answer is yes, in moderation. Margaritas, daiquiris, and drinks with sugary sodas are best to avoid. Your best bet is a light beer, vodka with soda and a lemon or lime slice, or a glass of white wine.

I like to know where my beer comes from so having a local microbrew is always an option too. My motto is all food in moderation, eat real food, and utilize your local Farmerís Market and grocery stores for the freshest meat, seafood and produce! Enjoy your summer barbecues and if you want that delicious junk food, make it at home!