As the long weekend approaches, fantasies of sun, fun and sizzling BBQ treats whirl in our minds. If you've promised to turn over a new leaf and avoid the abundance of junk food and grease laden meals this year, take heart. You can still have a wonderful pool party and BBQ without the indigestion and sugar crash. Here are some great ideas to makeover your favorite foods and avoid snack backlash from the family.
Good ole chips: What's a BBQ or pool party without chips? You don't have to give up a party favorite because you're worried about fat and salt content. Pick baked chips instead of fried; there are even gluten-free options if you have an intolerance to wheat. In fact, grocery stores now carry lentil, vegetable, bean, rice and organic corn chips. Organic blue corn chips and fresh salsa is a classic snack that can't be passed up! Try this amazing recipe for homemade salsa from the Whole Foods Market website.
Dips: You won't find snacks more versatile than dips. Basically, if you have a blender, you can make anything into a dip. Some examples are bean dip: blend cooked beans or lentils with green or red onions, sea salt and fresh basil and you'll be a hit. Pair your inventions with rice or whole grain crackers.
No one can say that homemade hummus is hard to make-you can add your own signature spices or keep it simple with cooked chick peas, garlic and olive oil. Here are some different ways to liven up your hummus. If you have a blender and three minutes, you've got a great treat for your BBQ and/or pool party.
Burritos: This is another way to find some fresh, delicious ingredients and roll them into a yummy burrito–perfect to eat by the pool or at the beach. You can bring the ingredients separately and assemble them when you arrive or pre-make them. This is a good way to please the vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Choose from black bean or chicken with diced tomatoes, lettuce and your favorite sauce; these will satisfy the fussiest among your group. Make them elaborate or just with cheese and vinaigrette. Try this example of a spicy black bean burrito from the World's Healthiest Foods website.
On the grill:
If you're bored with the usual chicken breast, steak or hamburger, try grilling different accompaniments. For example, this Mexican style grilled corn (choose organic corn to ensure it is not genetically modified). Grill some seasonal vegetables and brush them with your favorite sauces.
For the piece de resistance, you can BBQ an entire bulb of garlic. Cut off the top, pour olive oil onto it, seal it up with aluminum foil and 15 minutes later you've got spreadable goodness. It really tastes like candy! You might need some parsley to eat for your breath afterwards, but it's worth it! Spread it onto your chicken or inside your burrito as a sauce–although there is nothing better than popping one straight into your mouth.
So, enjoy the long weekend with friends and family and go to bed feeling good about your new food choices!
Photo Credit: technikhil