Memorial Day kicked off the official beginning of summer. We have 3-4 months of glorious weather to look forward to, as well as lots of beach-time activities and plenty of outdoor fun.
Chances are, you're going to want to indulge in many, if not all, of the BBQ parties and patio dinners you'll be invited to, without having the effect on your waistline and all the progress you've made during the winter, in order to look great this season.
But have no fear. There's a way to have your cake, literally speaking, and eat it too! I've whipped up a collection of some of my favorite, light, easy-on-the-waistline, easy to make, healthy foods for you and your family and friends to enjoy during the BBQ season.
We all know how good veggies are for us: antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals ... you name it, vegetables have it. So what better way to start off a meal than with some amazing salads, sure to help your health and your diet.
Starting a meal off with vegetables is a great way to add volume and substance to your meal without adding a lot of calories. As long as you use 'root veggies' (potatoes, onions, tomatoes, carrots, etc.) sparingly, there's nothing wrong with going for seconds (or thirds) on these courses.
You can also top salads with healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, walnuts, or almonds in order to give it that extra bit of taste and texture. Not to mention, the fats I suggested have Omega-3 fatty acids, and all of the nuts add protein and heart-healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids; both of which have been shown to lower the risk of certain health problems.
For a little extra flavor (and carbs), you can add in summery fruits like berries or mango. If you want to make your salad more of a meal, consider adding protein like sliced chicken breast, canned tuna, or some salmon (which also has the added healthy fats).
Low Fat Chicken Caesar Salad
Make your own tangy, low-fat Caesar salad dressing, and use either fat-free croutons from the grocery store or bake your own croutons.
- 1 large head of Romaine Lettuce, torn
- 2 cups chopped, cooked, skinless Chicken Breast
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 2 tbsp fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp White Wine Vinegar
- 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 cup Fat-free or Low fat Croutons
- 1 Garlic Clove, crushed
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
- Dressing: 1/3 cup plain non-fat yogurt, drained (or fat-free mayonnaise)
- Arrange torn Romaine lettuce in a big serving bowl.
- Top with chicken, croutons and sprinkle with cheese.
- Whisk dressing ingredients together and drizzle over salad.
- Gently toss until combined.
- Add freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Serving Size 4 Servings
Low Fat Chicken Caeser Salad PDF (133 KB)
Three Bean Salad
Low fat, high fiber, high protein salad.
- 1 pound Green Beans, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 15-ounce can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-ounce can Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup minced Shallots
- 4 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
- Steam or cook the green beans in a pot of boiling water for 3-4 minutes, until tender-crisp.
- Drain and plunge beans into cold water to stop cooking and retain color.
- Combine cooked green beans with cannellini beans, kidney beans and shallots in a large bowl.
- Whisk vinegar, oil and mustard and drizzle over bean mixture.
- Toss gently.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Serving Size 6-8 Servings
Three Bean Salad PDF (133 KB)
Low Fat Potato Salad
- 1 1/2 pounds small White Potatoes, unpeeled, and cut into pieces
- 1/4 cup Red Onion, finely chopped
- 1 6-ounce pot plain Low-fat Yogurt, drained
- 2 tbsp Dijonnaise
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook potatoes until tender.
- Drain and allow to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine red onion, Dijonnaise and plain yogurt.
- Add cooled potatoes and mix well.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serving Size 6 Servings
Low Fat Potato Salad PDF (133 KB)
Sure you could make your standard boneless, skinless chicken breast on the grill and call it a meal, but why not try and spice things up a bit while keeping in line with your macros and diet? It is possible!
Grilling and barbecuing are great ways to cook your food, make it flavorful and stick to your diet, because those methods of cooking don't add unnecessary calories. Thanks to Jeff Behar for these incredible recipes that are sure to please the tongue, and the abs!
Tasty Chicken Kabobs
Marinating these chicken kabobs all-day or overnight in a simple blend of yogurt and lemon juice makes them succulent and juicy, but the active cooking time is only about a half an hour, so they're a great quick dinner.
For a nutritious side, thread cipollini onions, red-pepper chunks, and mushrooms on a skewer and brush with olive oil to grill alongside the chicken.
As a side to this dish you can add a salad or more grilled vegetables. This will add fiber to this meal helping you feel full.
Soak bamboo skewers in water for 10 minutes (so they don't burn on the grill).
BBQ Pork Chops
Lean pork chops make a nice change from eating chicken, and the leanest cuts—from the loin—are leaner than chicken thighs, so don't feel guilty about eating pork chops from time to time. As with all meats, be sure to trim any excess fat before cooking. These barbecued pork chops are tangy and delicious.
- 4 lean loin Pork Chops, trimmed of fat
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/3 cup Ketchup
- 1 tbsp Chili Powder
- 1 tbsp Cider Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
- Mix cider vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and chili powder in a small bowl.
- Place pork chops in a large resealable plastic bag.
- Marinades can tenderize the surface of the meat only to about 1/4 inch. That's why it's important to make sure the marinade covers the entire surface of your meat. It also helps to score the meat (cut into the surface about 1/4 inch deep with a sharp knife in several places) before coating it with marinade.
- Pour marinade into bag and cover chops with it.
- Marinate for at least 4-6 hours in the refrigerator.
- Preheat grill or broiler.
- Spray grill with high-temperature nonstick cooking spray before heating; or spray broiler rack while broiler is heating.
- Place marinated chops on grill or broiler and cook until done, about 5 minutes per side.
Serving Size 4 Servings
BBQ Pork Chops PDF (134 KB)
- 1 pound extra-lean Ground Turkey
- 1/3 cup tomato Ketchup
- 1/2 cup minced Onion
- 1 slice bread made into Breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup finely chopped Cilantro
- 2 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Coriander
- Gently combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Divide mixture into four and form four 1/2-inch thick patties.
- Grill turkey burgers for 5-6 minutes per side, to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Turkey Burgers PDF (289 KB)
I know, you're probably a little nervous or worried about having dessert. But I can assure you that these are totally bodybuilder physique friendly (provided you control your portion sizes and eat them in moderation).
- 1 cup rolled Oats
- 1.5 oz linseeds (Flaxseeds)
- 1 oz dry roasted Almonds (chopped)
- 2 oz mixed dried fruits (Muscat Raisins, Cherries, Apricots)
- 1 tsp Cinnamon (and other spices as you desire)
- 0.5 cup unsweetened Apple Juice
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
- 1 medium granny smith Apple (not peeled)
- 1 cup Fat-free Natural Yogurt
- 1 cup Blueberries
- 3 scoops vanilla Protein Powder
- Place the oats, dried fruits, almonds, linseeds (flax), cinnamon and apple juice into a Tupperware container.
- Add water to cover and a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Place in the fridge and leave overnight until all the juice has been absorbed.
- Grate the apple and add this and the yoghurt to the mixture.
- Divide the muesli among three bowls, stir in a scoop of protein powder and top with an equal serving of the berries.
Muesli PDF (134 KB)
Low-carb Protein Bars
- 1/2 cup Pecans
- 1/2 cup Walnuts
- 1/3 cup Flax Meal
- 1/3 cup Nut Butter
- 4-6 Eggs
- Pinch Salt
- 1/3 cup Sugar-free Syrup
- 6 scoops Protein Powder
- Mix everything.
- Put on an PAM-coated baking tray and flatter.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes at 175 Celsius.
Low Carb Protein Bars PDF (133 KB)
Oat Applesauce Muffins
- 2.1 oz Flour
- 0.7 oz Oats
- 1 tsp Stevia
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 large Egg
- 2 oz Fat Free Milk
- 1.5 oz Apple Sauce
- Combine Dry ingredients and wet ingredients separate.
- Then combine both but do not over mix.
- Pour into non-stick muffin tin & bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes until a toothpick that is inserted comes out dry.
Oat Applesauce Muffins PDF (133 KB)
Foods To Pack for a Camping Trip or Picnic
Chances are you're eating clean now, as we speak, so there's nothing wrong with having leftovers from your salmon/lean steak/turkey dinner last night with some add-ons like a healthy baked sweet potato, steamed veggies, and something nice and light for dessert like protein powder pudding, healthy protein cookies, or homemade granola bars.
You'll want something light (if you're carrying it in a camping backpack), easy to clean up after (so there's less mess made after you finish eating), and convenient to eat (in order to avoid excess waste from plastic utensils and plates).
Here are a couple finger foods you can make in advance, and then pack in the cooler as you get ready to leave for the camp site.
- One large white Onion chopped into rings
- 3 packets of Cream of Wheat
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- Salt and Pepper to your own taste
- 1 tbsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Egg
- 3 Egg Whites
- 1-2oz of Skim Milk
- Cover baking sheet in tin foil (much easier clean up) and spray with Pam
- Preheat oven to 425
- Mix milk and eggs in one dish until blended evenly
- Mix all dry ingredients (cream of wheat, pepper, salt etc.) in another bowl
- Dip rings in wet mixture with one hand and then place in dry mix
- Cover rings with dry mixture and press down into mixture with other hand.
- Shake of excess and place on baking sheet. (They can be close to each other because they wont stick to each other plus they also shrink)
- Bake for 15-18 minutes then flip them over. The bottoms by now should be browned.
- Place back in oven for another 5 minutes and this should help brown the other side a little more
Onion Rings PDF (134 KB)
- Mix all ingredients in the blender
- Put the mix into a frying pan.
- Flip until both sides are perfectly browned. Add toppings if desired.
Low Carb Pancakes PDF (133 KB)