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We may not be able to gather in ballparks or big groups yet, but summer is coming. Whether your area is still on lockdown or starting to loosen restrictions, you can always enjoy a healthy cookout in the comfort of your own home. Memorial Day isn’t canceled and warm weather has arrived. Take your social distancing to the backyard and whip up some nutritious and delicious food that fits into your Nutrisystem plan.
In many places, smaller gatherings are going to be allowed with proper social distancing. Depending on the regulations where you live, these small, at-home gatherings are going to be more important than ever–;reconnecting, in person, with loved ones for Memorial Day or weekends beyond. With the right recipes and meal idea ideas, it can also be a satisfying, delicious way to boost your immunity and keep pushing towards your weight loss goals. We put together these 10 tips for making your at-home cookout a healthy reunion.
10 BBQ Survival Tips from a Weight Loss Expert
Here are 10 easy tips for a healthy backyard barbecue:
1. Don”;t starve yourself before the cookout.
We”;ve all done it–;skipping meals before a big event to “;save up”; calories for the party spread. But when you”;re trying to lose weight, this can backfire. You can get so hungry that you wind up eating even more than your planned “;splurge.”;
Keep yourself from going so far overboard–;and from showing up hangry–;by keeping your blood sugar stable. Eat your prescribed Nutrisystem foods and snacks before the party and save any SmartCarbs or PowerFuels to go with your cookout meal. The fiber, protein and healthy fats in your normal meals will keep you from being too hungry, so you can measure portions of your cookout favorites and stay on track.
2. Start by filling half of your plate with veggies.
Less than 10 percent of Americans get their recommended daily servings of vegetables, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They explain that eating two to three cups per day can reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and yes, obesity.
By eating an abundance of vegetables, you”;re getting a lot of water with your food. Eating water-rich foods means that you can have more volume for less calories. This can ultimately help you lose weight. According to Science Daily, Penn State research discovered that “women who added water-rich foods to their diets lost more weight during the first six months of the study than those who only reduced fat in their diets.”
So, start with the veggies and use the grill to make them even more delicious! Get some Leaf-approved tips for grilling tomatoes, mushrooms and greens for even more flavor by clicking here! >
3. Find tasty, low-calorie side dish recipes on the Leaf.
A “;healthy”; cookout doesn”;t mean the food is boring–;it should be just the opposite! The Leaf Weight Loss Blog is your source for keeping things deliciously diet-friendly. Spice up your coleslaw game with sweet options like this Broccoli Slaw with Cranberries and Lime or a fiery, crunchy bowl of this Spicy Peanut Slaw. Or go cucumber crazy: Whip up some of this five-star rated Cucumber Dill Dip or a bowl of this Zesty Cucumber and Dill Salad.
Find more recipes like these healthy cookout sides right here! >
5 Low Calorie Condiments to Use at the BBQ
4. Tackle your cravings head-on.
Now that your plate features some veggies, get down to business. Identify the cookout food you”;re craving most and dish out a healthy, measured portion. That”;s advice straight from our Nutrisystem registered dietitians: If you”;re really craving a food, you should eat it. Denying yourself a small piece of a favorite pie or a slice of cheese on your burger won”;t make the craving go away–;it will more likely lead you to graze on other fare, unsatisfied. It”;s better to have a portion you can measure and enjoy, so you can calm your cravings and stay on track.
5. Keep the calories on your plate, not in your glass.
Sugary beverages are thought to be a big part of the obesity epidemic in America: From 1977 to the year 2001, Americans increased their daily consumption of sweetened beverages “from 50 to 144 calories per day, says The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Over the course of a year, that could add up to over 50,000 extra calories!
Keep your calories down and the flavor up with something summery and fun that features fruit: Try one of these refreshing summer mocktails! > If you”;re a beer drinker, choose one that satisfies for fewer calories–;like one of these 10 low-calorie beers that actually taste good. >
6. No grill? No problem! Pan sear your meat for a crisp crust worthy of the grill.
If your go-to grill move typically involves heading to a local park, you may not have a grill in your backyard. However, you can get the same flavors you love inside by pan searing your meat to perfection.
Brush a cast iron skillet with oil and turn the burner on high. Make sure to turn on the exhaust fan so your smoke alarm doesn”;t go off! Brush a small amount of olive oil on each side of the steak and season liberally with salt and pepper. Once the pan is hot, cook the steak for 90 seconds to two minutes on each side. Then transfer the steak–;in the pan–;to the oven to bake at 325 degrees for five to seven minutes until medium-rare.
7. Marinate meat to fight cancer.
When you grill meat, compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are created, according to Natural Medicine Journal. HCAs are considered carcinogens and are said to increase the risk of a cancer. However, marinating your meat in herb-infused mixtures, especially ones including rosemary, can decrease the formation of HCAs on your grill by up to 70 percent.
Try this simple, rosemary marinade for beef: Mix a half-cup of red wine vinegar, two tablespoons olive oil, a quarter-cup of chopped rosemary, two crushed garlic cloves and salt and pepper to taste. Marinate the meat for at least an hour, then drain and cook.
7 Healthy Hacks for Meat Lovers
8. Grill some fruit for a sweet, surprising dessert.
Grilled watermelon, pineapple, peaches and plums are bursting with flavor: The grilling caramelizes their natural sugar, so the foods taste even sweeter. These delicious and refreshing fruits are packed with fiber and immunity-boosting vitamins. Plus, they are much lower in calories than the sad, melting fare you”;ll usually find at a cookout”;s dessert table.
Get grilling tips for a variety of different fruits right here on The Leaf! Check out this guide for 10 fruits that taste even better grilled. >
9. Don”;t focus just on the food!
Sure, it”;s a “;cookout,”; and burgers and dogs are delicious. However, it”;s not the reason everyone”;s together. We”;re finally able to get together. So, have a plate and make sure it satisfies. Sit down, take your time and concentrate on the flavors and textures of these delicious cookout foods. In a recent study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers looked at the eating habits of 60,000 people. They found that eating slowly can decrease the risk of obesity.
When you”;re finished eating your healthy barbecue meal, put your focus on those around you. We”;ve all been apart so long that this could be easier than ever. But make a point of remembering: This event is about food, yes, but it”;s really about being together. So be present and be together (even if it”;s six feet apart)!
10. Have a plan for the food and the leftovers.
In most places, the number of people who can gather will be limited in the coming months. Keep this in mind as you shop and cook: You only need enough food for 10 or less people, not for the normal 20 or 30!
But if spreading out a smorgasbord is in your cultural DNA, have a plan in place for the aftermath. Before guests arrive, figure out how many portions of each type of dish you can plan to add to your eating schedule in the following days. If there”;s a favorite dessert, salad or entree you”;re making, think about when it can fit into your plan. Keep the correct number of pre-measured portions for yourself and your family when guests leave. Then have containers ready for others to take the rest of the leftovers home with them. You”;ll have pre-measured treats that fit your lifestyle, and less temptation to pull you off your plan in the days following the fete.
12 Nutrisystem Foods That Are Healthier Than the BBQ
Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com
When it comes to eating fresh and healthy for summer weight loss, nothing beats a simple-to-assemble salad. But simple doesn”;t have to mean boring. After all, you can only eat so many plain jane lettuce salads before they start to lose their luster.
That”;s why we”;ve rounded up 20 of our best summer salad recipes that can boost your weight loss success. These delicious summer salads are an easy meal prep option that can be whipped up in no time. They are sure to keep you nourished and living life to the fullest this beach season!
How to Build the Best. Salad. Ever.
Here are 20 summer salad recipes that are perfect for your weight loss menu:
1. Green Goddess Summer Salad >
Calories per Serving: 235
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 Vegetable and 2 Extras
This bright green salad is as beautiful as it is delicious. Its name comes from its lovely green veggies like shredded Brussel sprouts, kale and edamame. It also features quinoa, almonds and parmesan cheese, all mixed with a tangy Dijon dressing. Thanks to all of these healthy ingredients, this salad packs in fiber, protein and antioxidant power.
Calories per Serving: 325
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 SmartCarb, 3 Extras and 3 Vegetables
This crunchy salad features kale, arugula and quinoa. However, it is the salad”;s namesake, figs, that are at the heart of this recipe. Dried figs are chewy, sweet and add something special to this tasty assembly. Figs also happen to be a great source of fiber, antioxidants, calcium and a variety of other vitamins and minerals. Figs pair well with goat cheese, which also makes an appearance in this yummy dish that’s perfect for your Nutrisystem plan.
Calories per Serving: 128
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb and 2 Extras
This citrus-based fruit salad brings together the unique flavor combination of grapefruits, oranges and pomegranate seeds. We top it all off with some chopped pistachios, cacao nibs, maple syrup, vanilla extract and cinnamon. The tangy sourness of the grapefruit is offset by plenty of sweetness. It”;s like a dessert treat but it”;s packed with antioxidants, fiber and other nutritional benefits that you”;ll love this summer! In fact, some research even indicates grapefruits have weight loss benefits and can even help reduce heart disease.
3 Simple Salad Dressing Recipes You”;ll Love
Calories per Serving: 259
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel, 1 Vegetable and 1 Extra
If you”;re looking for something beyond a leafy green salad, you”;ll want to give this edamame, cabbage and carrot-based salad a whirl. It also features green onions, cucumbers, farro, cashews and sesame seeds. Dressed with an Asian-inspired vinaigrette, this summer salad idea has plenty of tang to make your lunch or dinner enjoyable while providing you with a nutritionally balanced and diet-friendly meal.
Calories per Serving: 148
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel and 2 Extras
You wouldn”;t think that the ingredients in this summer salad recipe could possibly work together. But they just do. This Watermelon Chicken Salad combines a refreshing cup of cubed watermelon, chicken, celery and red onion. Dressed in a yogurt- and mayonnaise-based dressing–;with just the right amount of chili powder and cayenne pepper–;this salad is packed full of flavor and protein. It”;s a refreshing summer salad recipe you”;ll want to make again and again this beach season! Plus, a serving is just 148 calories and counts as 1 PowerFuel and 2 Extras.
Calories per Serving: 210
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel and 2 Extras
While corn might show up in your meals most often as a side dish, it is the star of this delicious and nutritious summer corn salad that also features tomatoes, onions and avocado. It”;s all dressed with a lime and olive oil dressing and then sprinkled with feta cheese for a showstopper dish.
6 Summer Slim-Down Foods That Help You Lose Weight
Calories per Serving: 138
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 Vegetable and 1 Extra
This unique and yummy twist on a traditional Caprese salad gives asparagus the spotlight while also featuring cherry tomatoes, red onions, some basil and mozzarella cheese. Like the original, it”;s all blended with a tasty vinaigrette, making it one of the best summer salad recipes you and your family will love!
Calories per Serving: 92
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb and 1 PowerFuel
This salad is another great way to get more watermelon into your day–;a juicy fruit known for being soaked with nutrients. In this summer fruit salad, cubed watermelon is combined with blackberries, feta cheese and some mint for a truly refreshing dish. Feel free to get creative and swap in another berry like blueberries. You could even throw in a non-starchy veggie like sliced cucumbers to help you get in your four required servings!
Calories per Serving: 151
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, ½ Vegetable and 2 Extras
Here”;s a fun way to switch up a classic Caesar salad! Let grilled asparagus take the centerstage. Asparagus is a nutrient-packed vegetable known to be a good source of fiber, folate and vitamins A, C, E and K. In this easy summer salad recipe, grilled asparagus is dressed in a healthy Caesar dressing that features nonfat yogurt at its base. Mix in some croutons and parmesan cheese for that true Caesar flavor.
4 Grain Salad Recipes You Have to Try
Calories per Serving: 143
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb and 2 Extras
The yum factor in this refreshing summer salad recipe is off the charts. Fresh blueberries, yellow corn, quinoa and goat cheese are added atop a bed of arugula and drizzled with a simple-but-delicious lemon vinaigrette. It”;s the type of summer quinoa salad you”;ll want to make again and again. With only 143 calories per serving, it”;s also the type of salad that will keep your healthy eating regimen on track this summer season.
Calories per Serving: 144.5
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, ½ Vegetable and 1 Extra
Veggie noodles are all the rage and this recipe makes good use of sweet potato spirals made from a spiralizer. This colorful salad brings the rainbow to your plate with veggies like corn, tomatoes, bell peppers and onion, all tossed in a zesty, homemade southwestern dressing.
Calories per Serving: 314
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel, 1 ½ Vegetables and 2 Extras
Mason jars are a fun and easy way to meal prep for the week ahead. This delicious mason jar salad is definitely a healthy summer recipe you”;re going to want to try. Although a traditional cobb salad has bacon and blue cheese, this healthier version features grilled chicken, chickpeas, avocado and more. A fat-free ranch dressing keeps the calorie count low on this mason jar salad recipe.
11 Awesome Vegetable Recipes That Aren”;t Salads
Calories per Serving: 207
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 SmartCarb and ½ Vegetable
Summer chicken salad is such a versatile dish that can be created in so many delicious ways. This version features pomegranate seeds and a chopped apple for a sweet addition. Served in a lettuce wrap instead of bread, you can have three whole wraps for a single serving that clocks in at just 207 calories.
Calories per Serving: 128
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 Vegetable, 1 SmartCarb and 1 Extra
If you love pomegranates, you”;re going to love this simple, cold summer salad. It uses pomegranate juice as a key ingredient in its delicious pomegranate balsamic vinaigrette. The salad itself features a bag of arugula, a Bartlett pear, pomegranate seeds, chopped pistachios and goat cheese for a flavorful blend of ingredients. It”;s a lot of flavor for a mere 128 calories per serving.
Calories per Serving: 315
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 SmartCarb, 2 Vegetables and 2 Extras
This light-but-filling Mediterranean-inspired salad features nutritious ingredients like chopped cucumber, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts and chicken, all tossed in a delicious vinaigrette. A serving of this delicious and easy salad is the perfect lunch for those hot summer days.
How to Make Your Own Healthy Salad Dressing
Calories per Serving: 187
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 2 PowerFuels
Here”;s another great way to get creative with your summer chicken salad in a recipe that is still healthy and flavorful. Plus, it doesn”;t get easier than using a rotisserie chicken for your shredded meat! Instead of mayo, this healthy chicken salad uses nonfat plain Greek yogurt. We also add some curry for a unique flavor addition.
Calories per Serving: 243
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel, 2 Vegetables and 2 Extras
If you”;re into mason jar recipes, this meal prep recipe is for you! This easy-to-make mason jar salad recipe has all the Greek salad favorites like cucumbers, black olives and feta cheese tossed in a homemade Greek dressing that couldn”;t be simpler to whip up. Make a bunch ahead of time and grab-and-go for convenient mason jar lunches.
Calories per Serving: 228
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel and 1 Vegetable
Healthy summer pasta salad can be hard to come by, as most use full-fat dressings or mayonnaise as their base. However, this lightened-up version packs in plenty of fresh veggies and uses a dressing with light mayo and Greek yogurt. It will fulfill your pasta salad craving without sending your diet on a detour.
7 Guaranteed Ways to Lose Weight for Summer
Calories per Serving: 49
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 Vegetable and 1 Extra
Turn an ordinary cucumber into a spiraled noodle for the base of this refreshing summer cucumber salad. It also contains other refreshing and flavorful non-starchy veggies like red bell pepper and green onion. It”;s all tossed in a homemade dressing with soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil.
Calories per Serving: 107.8
On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel and 2 Vegetables
Get your summer potato salad fix with this healthy alternative that packs serious diet food benefits! This healthy summer salad recipe uses lightly steamed cauliflower instead of potatoes. It tastes so much like the “;real deal”; that you”;ll trick your taste buds while consuming only 108 calories per serving!
Lose weight this summer with delicious meals delivered directly to your door! Learn more about Nutrisystem programs >
Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com