Of all the seasons, summer is my favorite. I love the back yard barbeques, pool parties and get togethers with friends and family.
Many of the social get togethers involve food, and there are many foods of the season that can wreak havoc on your physique, while there are many that are great for sleek, sexy, sculpted abs.
Here’s your guide to navigating summer backyard barbeque parties.
We all know that 90% of the time, when we are invited to a back yard barbeque or picnic, people always put out a variety of chips and dip. It’s a no brainer that these snacks will turn your six pack abs into a keg in no time, and not only that, they have absolutely no nutritional value.
What you can do, is bring a healthy snack to share. Whole wheat pita chips are a great substitute for nacho and potato chips and they’re a snap to make. All you need to do is buy whole grain pita bread, cut it up into wedge slices, lightly brush some olive oil on it and toast it. You can serve it up with some home made hummus or guacamole.
Vegetable trays loaded with fresh celery sticks, baby carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower, are always popular and go great with hummus or guacamole.
Obviously, you want to avoid soda; regular or diet and sweet tea. There are many alternatives you can have other than soda and sweet tea.
There are so many flavored green teas on the market that taste great served over ice. If you must add a sweetener to the tea, I would recommend organic raw, natural honey or stevia over artificial sweeteners or sugar.
Flavor your water with fresh lemons.
If you want a beverage that has some fizzle to it, mineral or sparkling water is the way to go with fresh lemon or lime wedges.
Many mixed drinks are loaded with empty calories and sugar that make you bloated. If you must drink, I would recommend you choose a lite beer or wine over a mixed drink.
Time to Fire Up The Grill!!!
There’s nothing quite like the smell and taste of grilled foods. Grilled meats are packed with muscle building protein. However, you do want to steer clear of processed meats which will not only wreak havoc on your six pack abs, they are also bad for your health. Processed meats are loaded with saturated fat, sodium and sodium nitrates which have been shown to be linked to high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.
You definitely want to avoid pre-packaged processed meats such as sausage, hot dogs, bratwurst for the reasons mentioned above.
What you can do, is make sure the hot dogs, sausage, bacon, bratwurst, etc., you purchase is organic and natural. You can get natural, organic hot dogs, sausage, etc., from a company called Applegate Farms. You can find their product line at Whole Foods Supermarket if you have one in your area, or visit the Applegate Farms website to find a store near you that carries their products.
There are a wide variety of healthy, flavorful, sexy, six pack foods you can grill that are loaded with lean protein. Finding protein sources that are organic is getting easier and easier to find as the demand grows and recommend buying organic/grass fed animal proteins if your store carries it.
Grass Fed Beef
When choosing beef, you want to look for grass fed beef. Not only is it safer (less risk of e-coli contamination), grass-fed beef is lower in overall fat and in saturated fat, and has the added advantage of providing more omega-3 fats.
Cuts of beef to look for include sirloin, london broil, flank steak, and filets (not wrapped in bacon). For burgers, you can get ground bison or ground grass fed sirloin. Avoid cuts of beef that have the word “rib” such as rib eye, prime rib, as they are fattier cuts of meat.
Free Range Chicken/Turkey
Chicken and turkey breast meat are low in fat and loaded with protein. You want to choose chicken/turkey that has not been fed antibiotics or hormones or given “feed” that has been treated with pesticides.
Fish is another wonderful source of protein that always tastes great grilled. Unfortunately, you do need to be careful with the fish you buy as our waters have become compromised with pollutants and contamination.
With that in mind, we need to consider where our seafood comes from. How is it caught? Is it farmed safely or in conditions that breed toxicity? Is it okay to eat in terms of ocean conservancy? Does it contain high levels of mercury or other toxins? The Blue Ocean Institute has a wonderful resource for finding out how safe your fish is. And they also have a sushi guide! Get information on over 50 types of fish and seafood, and nearly 30 sushi fish. It’s an invaluable resource for anyone who consumes food from our oceans.
Fish that taste great on the grill are salmon, tuna, tilapia. You can also steam shrimp, crab, oysters, and clams in some fresh lemon/lime juice, olive oil, garlic,and your favorite herbs and spices without drowning them in butter.
Summer Side Dishes
Most back yard barbeques and picnics include side dishes that are loaded with simple carbohydrates and swimming in fat. Navigate away from the potato salad, macaroni salad, and deviled eggs.
When you think side dishes, think green. Salad greens, asparagus, broccoli, spinach and by all means, fill up on this. Be sure to avoid creamy salad dressing as they are loaded with fat, high fructose corn syrup and sodium. Instead, look for infused vinaigrettes or mix together olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make your own vinaigrette.
Wonderful Fruits of Summer
There are a wide variety of fruits available in the summer, however, many of them are naturally loaded with sugar. It’s so easy to eat more than the recommended serving size of these summery sweets and before you know it, you’ve consumed too many grams of sugar at a time, which is something you want to avoid.
Low sugar fruits
When choosing summer fruits, you’ll want to have the ones that are lower in sugar, approximately 10 grams or less per serving. Fruits that are lower in sugar make for a healthy, delicious dessert and help you over come temptations from summer treats such as ice cream, sherbert, cake, pie and cookies.
Summer is a great time of year for naturally sweet, delicious berries which are lower in sugar than most fruits and are packed with vitamins, antioxidants and fiber.
Ruby Red Grapefruits are also packed with vitamins and fiber and are low in sugar.
Of all the melons, a serving size of Cantaloupe has less sugar compared to Honeydew and Watermelon which is why you’ll want to choose Cantaloupe.
Other summer fruits that fall in this category include, Apricots, Guava, Kiwi, Passion Fruit, Cherries, Oranges, Peaches and Papayas, Pineapple
High Sugar Fruits
When enjoying fruits that are higher in sugar, you want to make sure that you stay within the recommended serving size and not go back for seconds to avoid packing on unwanted pounds.
Summer fruits high in sugar include, Bananas, Watermelon, Pears, Grapes, Mangos, Raisins and all dried fruits.
Enjoy the healthy flavors of summer! 😎