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

10 Ideas for a Happy and Healthy Mother’s Day

10 Ideas for a Happy and Healthy Mother’s Day

While giving a thoughtful present is a great way to show your love, there’s nothing quite like the gift of creating memories. Spend this Mother’s Day having fun, getting healthy and bonding with the important women in your life. Whether it’s your mom, grandmother or mother-in-law, there are many ways to celebrate this important day.

Our health and wellness experts at The Leaf have put together a list of 10 unique activities that promote well-being, happiness and just having a plain old a good time. We know you don’t want to show up to mom’s house empty handed, so we’ve also included thoughtful gift ideas and some delicious and healthy holiday recipes to go with each creative adventure. Your mother will love the fact that you’re spending valuable time with her and she will surely appreciate your loving efforts!

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Celebrate Mother’s Day the healthy way with these 10 activities and gift ideas:
1. Life is a Picnic

picnic

Bring to life some healthy picnic ideas at the park! Put together a meal that’s complete with the works. Fill up a basket with some yummy and healthy picnic foods, snacks, sandwiches and beverages and grab a comfy quilt to sit on. Don’t forget to pack plates, napkins, utensils and bug spray! Find a nice spot under the shade and enjoy the springtime breeze combined with great conversation and quality time.

The Leaf Gift Idea: Surprise mom with these healthy, homemade snacks and desserts that are portable, picnic-ready and delicious. Check out the recipe ideas below for some tasty wellness inspiration!

3-Step Cinnamon Pecan Cookies >
No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bites >
Cannoli Stuffed Strawberries >
3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cups >
Zucchini Fritters with Soy Dipping Sauce >
Smoked Salmon Cucumber Cups >

2. Move with Mom

Healthy Mother

If your mom is into fitness, schedule a fun total body workout class that you can take together. Group workouts are a fun way to strengthen your bodies and relationships. Break a sweat and have fun at a power yoga class, spin class, Zumba or aerobics. Dancing is another great low impact activity that many mothers enjoy. You could head to a community line dancing class and learn something new while you create memories.

The Leaf Gift Idea: Gift your fitness-loving mom a new colorful yoga mat, reusable water bottle or a new set of dumbbells. Get inspired by our list of Must-Have Fitness Gear! >

3. Spoil Her Shopping

Healthy Mother

Take a trip to the mall and shop ’til you drop! In addition to spoiling your mom with some new stuff, you’ll both get exercise as mall walkers, trekking from store to store. Make the day all about mom and let her choose where she wants to shop. If you’re not the best at picking out gifts, this will allow her to choose exactly what she wants.

The Leaf Gift Idea: Let mom explore the mall and pick out a new purse, piece of jewelry or outfit. You could also treat her to a gift card to her favorite store.

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4. Munch on Brunch
Healthy Mother

Is it even Mother’s Day if brunch isn’t involved? Hit the road and head to mom’s favorite restaurant to grab a bite to eat. Just make sure to check out our Breakfast Dining Out Guide before you order! If your mom’s feeling lazy (she’s allowed, it’s her day!), treat her to a healthy breakfast in bed. The Leaf Weight Loss Blog is filled with healthy breakfast ideas that are worthy of a fancy brunch. She will love our recipes for Loaded Omelet Muffins, Cauliflower Breakfast Hash and Churro French Toast Rollups. You can even make her a warm stack of flapjacks with Nutrisystem High Protein Pancake Mix!

The Leaf Gift Idea: While she’s digging into her breakfast in bed, give mom the gift of comfort with a new weighted blanket. According to Healthline, weighted blankets may help to relieve stress, pain and insomnia.

5. Get to Work
Healthy Mother

Now is the perfect time to complete all of those projects your mother has been asking about! Do her spring cleaning by scrubbing the bathroom, washing the windows and organizing the pantry. Paint that old bathroom she’s been wanting to redo and fill the house with fresh flowers. Speaking of flowers, plant some new ones in her garden and get the yard ready for spring. You can also help mom plant some healthy vegetables and herbs in the backyard or indoors in pots.

Learn more about the surprising benefits of gardening and exercise your green thumb with mom this Mother”;s Day. You can also try other outdoor activities for a fun and productive home workout: Mow the lawn, rake the leaves and finish any other tasks she needs done. You’ll get a good total body workout and mom will be happy with her freshly cleaned home!

The Leaf Gift Idea: If she’s got a green thumb, treat mom to some new stylish gardening equipment for tending flowers and vegetables.

6. Tea Time

tea time

Catch up with mom over a cup of hot tea. Head to a local teahouse and sip on some chai with biscuits or grab grandma’s favorite antique teapot and brew your own at home. In addition to enjoying a tasty beverage, tea provides many health benefits. According to Medical News Today, green tea has been shown to decrease the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Learn more about why you and mom should drink green tea this Mother”;s Day! >

The Leaf Gift Idea: A new tea set with a beautiful design is the perfect gift for a tea-loving mom. She’ll be brewing up her own healthy tea at home and inviting you over for weekly tea time.

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7. Farmer’s Market Fun

farmer's market

Pick up mom and head to the local farmer’s market! Treat her to some of her favorite items and get some exercise as you walk around shopping. Let her pick out some new fresh flowers for the garden or porch. Fill up a basket of fresh, local produce for her weekly meal planning. Keep your eye out for other unique, locally made goodies and crafts like candles, wreaths and other seasonal décor. Find out how to know what produce is in season this spring! >

The Leaf Gift Idea: Before you get to shopping, gift mom a new shopping tote bag to fill with her farmer’s market finds! While you’re there, buy her favorite flowers, fruit and anything else she shows interest in.

8. Self-Care Sunday

self-care sunday

Don’t underestimate the importance of self-care. Drop mom off at the spa for a Mother’s Day filled with massages, facials and relaxation. Take her to the salon to get her hair done, followed by a mani-pedi. She will love getting pampered and spending time with you.

The Leaf Gift Idea: Create a self-care gift basket filled with face masks, soaps, essential oils, candles, a new book and a plush bath robe with matching slippers.

9. Explore the Great Outdoors

Healthy Mother

Take advantage of the springtime weather with a fun hiking workout, walk at the park or bike ride. You could even head to a local botanical garden or arboretum to gaze at the beautiful flowers and trees. Get active and create memories with an outdoor adventure that you both enjoy.

The Leaf Gift Idea: Help mom stay active with a new activity tracker! This will allow her to track her steps and activity with an easy-to-use tool that promotes health.

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10. Dinner Date

Healthy Mother

Cook a healthy meal together and enjoy some quality time this Mother’s Day. Try some of these easy, healthy and delicious dinner recipes with mom! > If you both aren’t in the mood to cook, head out on the town and dine out at your mom’s favorite restaurant. Check out our Dining Out Guide to ensure you make a healthy choice and don’t forget to pick up the check at the end of the night!

The Leaf Gift Idea: If your mother loves to cook, treat her to that new cooking appliance that she has been eyeing. Maybe she wants to try out an air fryer or whip up quick and easy meals in an Instant Pot. She will love the gesture and new addition to her healthy kitchen.

Looking for more wellness and lifestyle tips this Mother”;s Day? Look no further! Our lifestyle and weight loss experts at The Leaf are here to help you and mom achieve your weight loss goals and overall health and happiness this spring!

The post 10 Ideas for a Happy and Healthy Mother’s Day appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com