Summer is officially here…and with that comes tan lines, BBQs, and Coronas with limes. There are so many great things about summer…However, when it comes to your health and fitness goals, summer pretty much sets you up for failure. It is really hard to look hot in a bathing suit when all you want to do is eat at your favorite patio restaurant, drink beer with your friends on a boat, and avoid the gym because you would rather be outside getting a tan.
One of the biggest summer temptations is all the unhealthy yet delicious food at a BBQ. This post is all about healthier alternatives to the traditional hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans, potato chips, countless dips, and randomly decorated cupcakes. Although we all crave a hot dog or hamburger once and awhile…here are some other options that won’t make you cover up with a towel the rest of the pool party.
Instead of Hot Dogs and Hamburgers try:
Chicken Teriyaki Kabobs with Grilled Asparagus
Kabobs are my absolute summer favorite…1. They are portion controlled so you aren’t eating an entire pound of chicken or beef. 2. They are full of vegetables that taste amazing and 3. They are fun, cheap, and everything tastes better on a stick! (cheap if you make them yourself, expensive if you just pick them up premade)
All you need for these Kabobs is
- Chicken Breasts
- Peppers (pick your favorite colors)
- Teriyaki Sauce
Kabobs are pretty self-explanatory…all you have to do is cut your chicken (I marinated my chicken in teriyaki sauce overnight) onion, peppers, and pineapple into a little larger than bite size pieces….they will shrink a little on the BBQ. Then feed them through a wooden kabob stick in any order you want. Next, BBQ the kabobs till the chicken is cooked then brush some more teriyaki sauce on them and wait till the veggies are charred. (If you guys have never had grilled pineapple, you are living under a rock and will thank me later…it is amazing!!)
BBQ Chicken with half a Sweet Potatoe and Grilled Veggies
Before you start with the chicken…sweet potatoes take longer on the BBQ so first cut your sweet potato in half, cover with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper, then wrap both halves in aluminum foil individually (they will cook faster this way). Throw your potatoes on and prep the chicken and veggies.
BBQ Chicken is healthy, easy, and takes just as much time to cook and prep as a hamburger. Just BBQ up a chicken breast, when the bottom of the breast is cooked, flip it over and cover it with your favorite BBQ sauce (Mine is Sweet Baby Rays…duh) let the other side cook, flip it over, cover in sauce, and wait for the chicken to be cooked all the way through.
Not going to lie…the grilled veggies I used to go with the BBQ chicken are frozen…don’t judge me. They are way cheaper and we have lots left over from Costco. So just let your veggies defrost, sprinkle them with olive oil, garlic, and pepper, wrap them up in foil and throw them next to the sweet potatoes.
When it comes to BBQing the hardest part is timing. Trying to make sure everything is cooked and warm at the same time is almost impossible…it comes with practice so don’t even worry about that minor detail. Even if some of the food is cold…it will still taste good.
At this point…you are probably thinking…screw this…. seems like too much work…girl just wants a freaking hot dog! I don’t blame you, but if you are craving a hot dog and MUST devour one…ditch the bun and eat the dog without the unnecessary carbs of the bun. You’ll want another one, but that is still a healthier option than including the bun.
Moving on…the best part about a BBQ is usually all the dips and side dishes that come along with the main meats. I know the potato salads and 7 layer dip are hard to resist, but keep the sides healthy and easy.
Summer is strawberry season and everybody loves strawberries, just cut up a bunch, maybe throw in some blueberries, and call that a day. To crave that salty craving of potato chips get some edamame. Sprinkle them with garlic salt, heat them in the microwave for about 2 min, and serve with a little side of soy sauce for dipping. Lastly, grill up the rest of the pineapple from the Kabobs. Trust me that stack of grilled pineapple rings will be gone before you know it.
For dessert, keep it simple. Put whole strawberries and cut up apple slices on a plate (If you have leftover pineapple, throw that on there). In the middle of the plate place a small container of melted peanut butter and melted chocolate chips. Serve the plate with leftover kabob sticks and let people dip their favorite fruits into the melted chocolate or peanut butter…simple, easy, and delicious!!
When it comes to BBQ’s I know it’s hard not to be tempted. And most likely your friends or family will bring their favorite unhealthy side dishes to accompany your healthier food. So obviously you don’t have to eat like a rabbit and only eat the fruits and veggies, but having the healthier option available will help you stay balanced for the day…minus all the alcohol…but that’s a different calorie problem to tackle.
Happy Summer guys, get outside and get grillin!!!