5 Low Calorie Condiments to Use at the BBQ

5 Low Calorie Condiments to Use at the BBQ

You can still enjoy the delicious fun of summertime cookouts and stay on track with your weight loss goal. We have lots of lower-calorie ideas to help you do that, such as 5 Better for You Burger Recipes You”;ll Love > and Healthier Potato Salad> But while you are choosing healthy dishes like those, be aware that sneaky excess calories are lurking in places where you might not expect them. Condiments may seem like just little dabs of flavor, but, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a single tablespoon of ketchup can have four grams of sugar and an equal amount of mayonnaise can come with 90 calories and 10 grams of fat. That”;s why they”;re counted as “;Extras”; in your Nutrisystem weight loss plan (Not on Nutrisystem yet? Click here to get started >). Good news: These five low calorie condiments are loaded with flavor. Better news: They are all “;Free”; foods you can enjoy to your heart”;s content.

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Here”;s what you need to know about choosing and using low calorie condiments :
1. Mustard

honey mustard

The seeds from the mustard plant, a leafy green with a spicy flavor, are ground up and blended with vinegar and other ingredients to make the familiar yellow condiment. The color actually comes from turmeric, another flavorful spice. The mustard shelf at the grocery store is filled with lots of choices, from mild, smooth-textured bright yellow types to browner, grainier and very hot varieties. Dijon mustard is blended with white wine to add a tart flavor to balance the moderately spicy taste of the mustard. Beware of honey mustard, which has added sugar, and “;dijonnaise,”; which has all the excess calories and fats of mayonnaise.

TRY: Mustard is most commonly used to add zest to burgers and hot dogs, but it makes a tasty glaze for grilled chicken, fish or vegetables. You can also use it to make a low calorie flavorful salad dressing, such as our Creamy Honey Mustard topping >

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2. Lemon/Lime Juice

low-calorie lemon lime juice

Your food gets a spark of bright, acidic flavor from the juice of these two citrus fruits. Both are nearly calorie-free and loaded with vitamin C. Generally, lemons are slightly more sour than limes, while for many people the latter has a lightly bitter taste. Fresh lemons and limes have the best flavor and they”;re easy to slice up and squeeze for juice by hand. You can also find packaged lemon and lime juice in supermarkets–;just be sure before you buy that they are pure juice and contain no added sweeteners.

TRY: Fresh lemon or lime juice adds a refreshing splash of flavor to calorie-free seltzer. These juices also brighten the taste of grilled fish or chicken, and they add a spark of acid to mixed and fruit salads. Briefly grill lemon or lime halves to infuse them with a smoky taste that gives many dishes a flame-cooked flavor.

3. Hot Sauce

low calorie condiments

Also known as chili sauce or pepper sauce, this spicy condiment is made from hot peppers blended with a little vinegar. Hot sauce comes in a wide range of heat options, from mildly tongue tingling to five-alarm fire. Those made with habanero or ghost peppers tend to be the spiciest. Sriracha (sometimes call “;rooster sauce”; because of the image on its label) is a popular Vietnamese-style hot sauce that”;s moderately spicy. According to BioMed Central, all hot sauces are loaded with capsaicin, the heat-bearing compound that research shows speeds metabolism and can help burn fat.

TRY: Unless you”;re an experienced hot-sauce lover, start with just a few drops on your food and add more once you”;ve tasted it. Mix a little hot sauce into ground turkey to punch up the flavor of your burgers with one of the most flavorful low calorie condiments. Sprinkle a little on grilled vegetables or seafood, such a shrimp or clams. Use hot sauce to make a zesty (and sugar-free) marinade for meats by whisking it with a little olive oil, fresh lime juice, minced garlic and chopped scallions.

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4. Salsa

low calorie condiments

When we think of salsa, we typically picture a chunky sauce made with tomatoes, chile peppers and onions that comes in various levels of spiciness. You can also find salsas that are based on tomatillos (green or “;salsa verde”;) or fruit such as mangoes or pineapple. When shopping for bottled salsa, be sure to check the label for added sugar, which will load on extra calories. To get all the goodness and nothing more, you can use our recipe to whip up your own fresh salsa in minutes.

TRY: Skip the cream-based dips and instead slip your veggies into a bowl of one of our favorite low calorie condiments: Salsa. Make quick and healthy guacamole for dipping by blending salsa and lemon or lime juice with mashed avocado. Hold the ketchup and top your burger with a spoonful of salsa. Fruit-based salsas turn plain grilled fish into tropical treat.

5. Vinegar

low calorie condiments

According to the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine, vinegar is made, like wine, by fermentation, which in this case produces acetic acid rather than alcohol. While vinegar generally has a tangy flavor, you”;ll see a variety of types made with such ingredients as apple cider, red wine, and even champagne, each with slightly different tastes. Balsamic vinegar, made from grapes leftover from wine-making, is dark-colored and tends to be thicker and more flavor-intense than other types. Vinegar has long been used in cooking as well as a folk remedy for many conditions. One recent study even found that vinegar may prevent spikes in blood sugar, which can be very beneficial for people with diabetes.

TRY: Vinegar infused with herbs such as tarragon or basil make a flavorful (and calorie-free) salad dressing. A trick many chefs use is to splash roasted or grilled meats or vegetables with a little vinegar while they”;re still warm, which brings out the full flavor of the ingredients. Use apple cider vinegar in place of the creamy dressing in coleslaw or potato to reduce their fat content.

Interested in learning more about low-calorie options? Check out more recipes here >

The post 5 Low Calorie Condiments to Use at the BBQ appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

20 More Recipes for the BBQ

20 More Recipes for the BBQ

Summer is party time, when we gather with friends and family to celebrate the warm weather, long days and a slower pace of life. And it”;s the best season for enjoying good food outdoors, where everything seems to taste better. There’s no better time to get creative in the kitchen and whip up delicious recipes for the BBQ.

You can join the fun and stay on track toward your weight loss goals with delicious dishes you make yourself.

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Here are 20 healthy recipes for the BBQ you”;ll be proud to share at home or bring to a party:
1. Patriotic Booze-Free Sangria >

sangria

Raise a toast to our great country, summer days, or whatever inspires you with this sweet and fruity drink. It has just 53 calories per serving and counts as only half of a SmartCarb, which makes it one of our favorite recipes for the BBQ.

2. 7-Layer Southwest Dip >

7-layerdip

Turn your party into a fiesta when you and the rest of the gang dig into the zesty flavors of beans, avocado, salsa, onions and more. The creamy texture is the perfect complement to crunchy carrots, cucumbers and other veggies.

3. BBQ Chicken Nachos >

BBQ

You can make a classic appetizer in minutes that is sure to be a hit with everyone. Start with Nutrisystem”;s BBQ Seasoned Chicken atop baked whole wheat tortilla chips, then add cheese, diced peppers and onions, and fresh cilantro. It”;s meaty, cheesy and so, so satisfying.

4. Crab-Stuffed Cucumber Cups >

crab

These crunchy bites bring sophisticated flavors to any gathering, but they”;re ready to eat in just three simple steps–;no cooking necessary. The crab provides you with lean protein (one PowerFuel), plus you get two servings of non-starchy vegetables and the summery taste of fresh seafood.

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5. Heirloom Tomato Salad >

Heirloom-Tomato-Salad

Tomatoes are at their peak during BBQ season, so it”;s the perfect time to savor the extraordinary flavors and vivid colors of old-fashioned varieties. Chickpeas bump up this salad”;s protein and fiber content, while fat-free feta cheese adds a delightful bit of creaminess and tang. Whip up this fresh salad and enjoy one of our favorite recipes for the BBQ.

6. Broccoli Slaw With Cranberries and Lime >

coleslaw

The classic slaw gets a flavorful and nutritious makeover with crunchy broccoli and jicama (aka the “;Mexican potato”;), tangy cranberries and lime, and a hint of sweetness from honey. Eat it as a side salad or add it to a sandwich or wrap.

7. Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad >

Southwestern-Sweet-Potato-Salad

This dish is sure to become the new favorite at your BBQ. Start with sweet potato noodles (you can make or buy) and blend in corn, tomatoes, peppers and onions. The zingy flavor comes from the sauce of Greek yogurt seasoned with Southwest spices.

8. Gluten-Free Maple Cornbread >

Gluten-free-Maple-Cornbread

Everyone can enjoy this sweet and savory cornbread, the perfect companion to barbecued meats. It”;s lower in calories, fats and sugar compared to standard recipes, but still has that homemade taste and crumbly good texture. Each serving is just one SmartCarb.

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9. Mega Beet Burger >

 beet burger

When you”;re craving a hearty burger with cheese, whip up a batch of these moist and meaty veggie patties. The lentils, walnuts and beets fill you up with healthy fats and fiber while the cheesy dressing hits your happy spot. The easy recipe makes eight servings, so they”;re ready to share.

10. Marinated Greek Chicken Skewers >

marinated-greek-chicken-skewers

Simple yet sophisticated chicken skewers give you that fresh-from-the-grill flavor, and fill you up with plenty of lean protein and fiber from the seasoned meat and veggies. The skewers come together in minutes and pair perfectly with a serving of brown rice to make a complete meal.

11. BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich >

BBQ-Jackfruit-Sandwich

One bite of this sweet and savory sandwich and you”;ll see how satisfying meatless barbecue can be. When shredded, the tropical jackfruit (available fresh or in cans) has a consistency similar to pork or chicken. Sauce it up with a blend of sweet and tangy ingredients, top with slaw and dig in.

12. Chicken Sausage and Peppers Sandwich >

Sausage and Pepper

Skip the same-old hot dog and instead go for savory chicken sausage with grilled peppers and onions on a high-fiber, whole wheat bun. You get two PowerFuels, one SmartCarb and one serving of vegetables, but only 300 lip-smacking calories.

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13. Old Bay Salmon Cakes >

Old-Bay-Salmon-Cake

Fish such as salmon are naturally low in fats and high in protein. Add breadcrumbs, egg whites, Greek yogurt and veggies to form these salmon cakes seasoned with Old Bay, the traditional seafood flavoring. Make them in advance of the party and they”;ll be ready to serve in just 20 minutes.

14. Air Fryer Honey Garlic Chicken Drumsticks >

Air-Fryer-Honey-Garlic-Drumsticks

With the honey-garlic marinade, these drumsticks really are finger-licking good. Cook them in the air fryer and they”;ll be crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. Be sure to make plenty–;everyone will be clamoring for more.

15. Lemon Garlic Shrimp Kebabs >

lemon-garlic-shrimp-kabobs

No matter where you are, eating grilled seafood outside feels almost like a day at the beach. These shrimp are brushed with a blend of butter, lemon and herbs that brings out the seafood”;s natural sweetness. While your family and friends rave about the flavor, you”;ll love that two kebabs count as just one PowerFuel and one Extra.

16. Skinny Brownies With Cream Cheese Filling >

black-bottom-brownies

Yes, you can bring a plate of brownies to the party and enjoy one yourself. With cream cheese filling and chocolate-y cake, these seem way too indulgent when you”;re trying to lose weight. But they”;re made with smooth mashed sweet potato, whole wheat flour and unsweetened cocoa powder, so they”;re totally Nutrisystem-approved.

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17. 5-Ingredient Watermelon “;Cake”; >

Watermelon-Cake

Forget baking on a hot day and turn a sweet watermelon into an instant cake instead. All you do is slice up the melon, decorate it with whipped topping and berries, and look for happy faces to break out around the table.

18. Cannoli Stuffed Strawberries >

Cannoli-Stuffed-Strawberries

If you think a cannoli is the perfect dessert, wait until you try this easy-to-make version to add to your recipes for the BBQ. The filling has real ricotta cheese, vanilla and chocolate chips, but it comes inside of a juicy, sweet strawberry. You get six strawberries and only 165 calories in a serving.

19. 2-Ingredient Fresh Fruit Popsicles >

Homemade popsicles

Kids and adults alike will smile as they cool off with these sweet and fruity treats. They”;re so simple to make and easy to customize–;just choose a couple of fruits to include or make a variety so everyone gets their favorite. Best of all, they”;re naturally sweet and have just 85 calories so you can treat yourself and stay on track toward your weight loss goals.

20. Summer Fruit Salad with Honey Lemon Dressing >

recipes for the bbq

Take ordinary fruit salad to the next level with a sweet and tangy dressing that brings out the flavors of melon, peaches and berries. Add a few snips of fresh basil or mint, and wait for the questions about what your secret ingredients are!

Check out 23 more delicious recipes for the BBQ >
Also, check out the rules to our awesome summer giveaway >

The post 20 More Recipes for the BBQ appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

10 Tips for a Healthy Home Cookout

10 Tips for a Healthy Home Cookout

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.

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Here are 10 easy tips for a healthy backyard barbecue:
1. Don”;t starve yourself before the cookout.

healthy breakfast

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.

cookout grilled 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.

home cookout

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! >

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4. Tackle your cravings head-on.

cookout cravings

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.

Click here for more surprising weight loss tips from our health experts! >

5. Keep the calories on your plate, not in your glass.

cookout recipes

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.

cookout recipes

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.

marinated meat

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.

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8. Grill some fruit for a sweet, surprising dessert.

grilled peaches

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!

cookout recipes

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.

cookout recipes

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.

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The post 10 Tips for a Healthy Home Cookout appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com