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

20 Zucchini Recipes to Celebrate Summer Squash Season

20 Zucchini Recipes to Celebrate Summer Squash Season

Summer is peak season for zucchini recipes. This tender green summer squash has a delicate, mild flavor that’s delicious in any form, both cooked and raw. It”;s the perfect veggie for a healthy diet because it blends so well with many other foods. Zucchini is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber, making it the perfect low-calorie ingredient for your weight loss plan. Plus, zucchini is considered a non-starchy vegetable on the Nutrisystem program, so you can eat as much of it as you’d like without worry.

These days, many people are trying zucchini noodles in their recipes, which you can easily make yourself with a handy spiralizer tool. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can also pick them up in the produce or frozen food sections of many grocery stores. “;Zoodles”; make an ideal substitute for standard pasta, which tends to be loaded with unwelcome carbs. This veggielicious alternative to pasta has the same texture and satisfying slurp-ability as other noodles.

To inspire you to take advantage of summer”;s bounty of green squash, we put together this list of our favorite recipes that feature zucchini. It includes whole meals, sides and snacks that are easy to make and just right for hot-weather eating.

Celebrate summer squash season with these 20 healthy zucchini recipes:
1. 3-Step Chicken Zucchini Nuggets >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 1 PowerFuel, ½ Vegetable and ½ Extra

These easy-to-prepare chicken bites are crispy on the outside yet tender and juicy on the inside. They come with a half-serving of vegetables that”;s good for everyone at the table. Don”;t be surprised if these nuggets become a new family favorite!

2. Vegetarian Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 1 PowerFuel, 1 SmartCarb, 2 Vegetables and 1 Extra

Whether you”;d rather not eat meat or just want a meal that”;s filling but won”;t weigh you down, vegetarian meatballs are easy to make and delicious. Pair them with quick-cooking zucchini noodles and you”;ve got a hearty meal that will satisfy the biggest appetite.

3. Zoodle Mac and Cheese with Roasted Veggies >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 1 PowerFuel, 1 Extra and 1 Vegetable

Mac and cheese can be a part of your healthy eating plan when you make it with zucchini noodles and low-fat cheese. We added some flavor and texture variety by tossing in roasted broccoli, onions and sweet potato cubes, but you can make it with any non-starchy veggies you like.

4. Carrot and Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 2 PowerFuels, 2 Vegetables and 2 Extras

Pad Thai may sound exotic, but it”;s a simple dish made with lots of veggies, juicy shrimp, crunchy peanuts and sauce that”;s sweet and as spicy as you like it. To cut down on the calories and excess carbs you get in the takeout variety, we used zoodles, which you can enjoy to your appetite”;s content.

5. Rainbow Vegetable Skewers >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 1 PowerFuel and 1 Extra

Fire up the grill and let the flames bring out the flavors of tender chicken breast and your choice of fresh summer vegetables, including zucchini, onions and potatoes. We gave this dish a tropical flair by including chunks of sweet and juicy pineapple.

6. Italian Lovers Zucchini Boats >

zucchini boats

Counts as: 1 PowerFuel, 1 Extra and 1 Vegetable

Zucchini boat recipes are another popular way to enjoy this non-starchy veggie. Sausage, marinara sauce and ricotta cheese are the makings of a classic Italian dish. Mix them up along with peppers, onions and fragrant seasonings, then load them into zucchini boats for a simple but filling meal.

7. Easy Zucchini Bread >

zucchini bread

Counts as: 1 SmartCarb and 1 Extra

Zucchini bread recipes are a popular way to sneak some veggies into your diet. So many people love this sweet summer classic, so we had to come up with a simpler and healthier way to make it. This version has all the tastes you love–;including honey, cinnamon and nutmeg–;plus applesauce and an egg to ensure it comes out of the oven moist and scrumptious every time.

8. Mega Marinated Roasted Veggies >

roasted veggies

Counts as: 1 Vegetable and 1 Extra

Load up a serving of summer veggies with flavor but not excess calories. Start with coins of zucchini, broccoli florets, chunks of peppers, onions and cherry tomatoes. Marinate them in a simple dressing, then grill or roast them until they begin to brown at the edges and become as sweet as can be.

9. Zucchini Fritters with Soy Dipping Sauce >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 1 Vegetable and 2 Extras

These fritters are like crispy and savory pancakes, only with a healthy serving of vegetables baked right in. Dip them in a quick-and-easy sauce that hits all the flavor buttons, from sweet to salty.

10. Mexican Zucchini Boats >

low carb

Counts as: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel and 1 Vegetable

With this one-dish meal, you can enjoy the zesty flavors of Tex-Mex cuisine without all the fats and excess calories. We scooped out whole zucchini and refilled them with a spicy mixture made with beans, jalapenos, salsa and shredded cheese. Heat them to melt the cheese and tenderize the zucchini, then serve with all the extra salsa you want (it”;s a Free Food).

11. Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Vegetables and Pesto >

zoodles

Counts as: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel and 1 Vegetable

Pesto is easy to make but packs a powerful punch of flavor. We whip it up using farm-fresh basil, protein-rich pistachios and plenty of Parmesan cheese. Toss it with roasted veggies like sweet peppers, artichoke hearts and a hearty serving of zoodles.

12. Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Pasta >

shrimp scampi

Counts as: 1 SmartCarb, 2 PowerFuels and 1 Vegetable

Start with succulent shrimp seasoned with garlic and red pepper flakes to your taste. Add fresh veggies of your choice and serve atop of a steaming serving of tender zucchini noodles ready for twirling. Now you”;ve got a restaurant-worthy meal you can enjoy at home.

13. Air Fryer Sausage, Potatoes and Veggies >

air fryer

Counts as: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel, 1 Extra and 1 Vegetable

The air fryer lets you turn raw ingredients into rich, flavorful meals in minutes. You can forget about piling on extra fats and cleaning up a messy kitchen. This one-dish recipe makes a satisfying breakfast or dinner any day of the week.

14. Zucchini Noodles and Meatballs >

zoodles

Counts as: 1 Nutrisystem Dinner and 2 Vegetables

Are the Meatballs in Marina Sauce from Nutrisystem on your list of favorite meals? Take these protein-rich meatballs to the next level by serving them with a bowl of tender zoodles coated in our savory sauce. “;Spaghetti Night”; has never been so good and good for you.

15. Zucchini Noodles with Chicken and Cheese >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 1 PowerFuel and 3 Vegetables

If you like Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken, you”;re going to love this lighter version. You get plenty of cheese, a serving of protein-packed chicken breast and a pile of zucchini noodles for only 386 calories per serving.

16. Napa Mint Slaw >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: ½ SmartCarb, 1 Vegetable and 1 Extra

Instead of the usual fat-laden summer sides, try this crunchy slaw flavored with a sweet-and-tangy dressing and a spark of fresh mint. It”;s made with napa cabbage, often stocked with the Asian vegetables in supermarkets.

17. Simple Shrimp and Veggies Foil Packet >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel, 1 Vegetable and 2 Extras

Get a taste of a beach vacation in your own kitchen with this easy “;seafood bake.”; Just toss together fresh shrimp, potatoes, zucchini, onions and your favorite herbs. Heat and eat inside crimped and folded foil. Summer eating made easy!

18. Green Zucchini Muffins >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 1 SmartCarb

Yes, you can enjoy homemade muffins and stay on track with your weight loss plan. These lean, green muffins are moist and lightly sweet but packed with nutrition, featuring applesauce, cinnamon and bananas.

19. 4-Ingredient Stuffed Zucchini Buffalo Boats >

zucchini boats

Counts as: 2 PowerFuels, 2 Vegetables and 1 Extra

Zesty buffalo sauce and the gooey goodness of melted cheese transform simple ground turkey and fresh zucchini into a flavorful meal. It”;s loaded with protein and fiber yet low in calories, so you stay full for hours after you finish.

20. Shrimp and Scallop Kebabs >

zucchini recipes

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, ½ Extra and 1 Vegetable

Nothing says summer like summer squash! Throw that summer squash on a kebab and you’ve got the perfect seasonal dish for warm weather and sunshine. These Shrimp and Scallop kebabs pack in the lean protein and fiber-rich veggies for a nutritious dish that satisfies.

The post 20 Zucchini Recipes to Celebrate Summer Squash Season appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

5 Tips to Plan a Diet-Friendly Backyard Summer Picnic

5 Tips to Plan a Diet-Friendly Backyard Summer Picnic

Planning on a staycation this year because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? Join the crowd in not joining the crowd. Not going to the beach, the lake, the mountain or the water park puts a lot of pressure on your backyard to be the place you want to be, especially for fun summertime activities. Now is the time to plan for a summer picnic… and to have a plan to keep it healthy and diet-friendly!

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Here are five fun ways to enjoy backyard summer picnic food and still lose weight:
1. Load some veggies on that grill.

grilled vegetables

Even veggie haters find grilled vegetables to be irresistible. That’s probably because this particular cooking method brings out their inherent sweetness. Slice up some onions, zucchini, eggplant, carrots and even cabbage “steaks,” then grill them up as a healthy side.

To keep your meal diet-friendly, load up half of your plate with veggies. Trending now: the carrot “hot dog.” Cook whole carrots on the grill and serve them on a whole wheat frankfurter bun with all the fixings. You can also use veggies in another way: in some grilled vegetable recipes, vegetables are layered between cubes of chicken, a firm fish like tuna or swordfish, shellfish such as shrimp or even lean beef. Vegetable kebabs can help you keep your meal balanced between higher calorie protein and lower calorie veggies with a fiber-friendly twist.

Check out these seven foods that taste better on the grill! >

2. Make sides that are the star of the meal.

The Leaf healthy summer picnic tips

Forget the mayonnaise-laden potato salad, pasta salad and coleslaw that crowd every summer picnic table across the land. They’re as ho-hum as they are fattening. Instead, focus on some of the farm fresh produce that’s readily available this time of year.

Consider replacing slaw with a Zesty Cucumber and Dill Salad that takes minutes to prepare and can sit in the fridge for hours, just getting more and more savory the longer it marinates! You also don’t have to nix slaw completely from the menu—just liven up a cabbage-carrot mix with a dressing of low-sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar and peanut butter. This Spicy Peanut Slaw recipe supplies one PowerFuel and two Vegetables to your daily count.

Love pasta salad? Broccoli, bell pepper strips and cherry tomatoes turn a simple Creamy Pasta Salad (mixed with nonfat Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise) into a work of art. Plus, it clocks in at only 228 calories per serving, even with the chopped turkey bacon added for crunch and protein. One serving counts as one SmartCarb, one PowerFuel and one Vegetable. Click here for the recipe! >

You also don’t have to banish potato salad if you make it the Nutrisystem way, using reduced fat mayo, nonfat Greek yogurt or even a piquant vinaigrette. Think outside the summer picnic basket too: Eliminate half of the potatoes from the recipe and mix in turnips, cauliflower or parsnips. Add fun and flavorful ingredients like dill, green onions, chives or capers. Then throw in some of your favorite vegetables, like fresh peas, bell peppers or radishes for a flavorful bite. Make a healthier potato salad for your summer picnic with these five tips. > 

3. Add Nutrisystem foods to the mix.

The Leaf healthy summer picnic tips

How good would your Nutrisystem Hamburger or Grilled Chicken Sandwich taste if you made it on the grill? What about the Chicken and BBQ Beans? Yes. THAT good. End your picnic meal with a Nutrisystem Ice Cream Sandwich or, as just about everyone does, with s’mores. Well, with our own S’mores Pie made with a graham cracker crust, ooey gooey marshmallow and real melted chocolate tucked inside. Mmmmm—and it’s only 140 calories!

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4. Plan active backyard fun and games.

The Leaf healthy summer picnic tips

Exercise off any excess calories from your summer picnic by planning outdoor activities for young and old. If you have enough yard, set up a volleyball or badminton net. Kids aren’t the only ones who can enjoy backyard games like tag, freeze tag or dodge ball, particularly if you incorporate water balloons into the fun. You can even do a riff on the egg-and-spoon relay race with filled water balloons and a wooden spoon. Throw Frisbees back and forth or set up a game of cornhole or horseshoes. Organize a post-picnic walk around the neighborhood or a nearby park.

5. Hydrate wisely.

The Leaf healthy summer picnic tips

While you can always turn to light beer and wine coolers to save some calories, don’t forget that studies have shown that alcohol can stimulate the appetite center of your brain and make you eat more, says the United Kingdom National Health Service.

Both wine and beer come in non-alcoholic versions. You can also whip up some delicious and satisfying “mocktails” that will wow your guests. Try a non-alcoholic Strawberry Daiquiri that combines fresh and frozen strawberries with water and lime juice in the blender. It’s only 55 calories per serving and counts as one SmartCarb on Nutrisystem. Find this mouthwatering non-alcoholic drink recipe and four more mocktails right here! >

Avoiding alcohol at your backyard picnic can help you avoid unnecessary calories. However, you can still enjoy alcohol in moderation on your Nutrisystem program. If you’d like to have a drink, check out this article on 10 Low Calorie Beers That Actually Taste Good! > You can also brush up on your Nutrisystem knowledge and learn more about alcohol on our program right here. >

Be sure to explore The Leaf for more tips to enjoy this summer season with family and friends, including expert fitness and nutrition tips as well as delicious seasonal recipes for your weight loss journey!

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The post 5 Tips to Plan a Diet-Friendly Backyard Summer Picnic appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

Get Back on Track Before Summer: How Nutrisystem Can Help

Get Back on Track Before Summer: How Nutrisystem Can Help

While we were all distracted with new daily routines during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic—working from home, Zoom calls, home schooling, binge-watching the shows everyone is talking about and keeping an eye on the news—we picked up a few extra pounds without even being aware of it. It’s no surprise that when we are housebound and stressed out, we are tempted to overeat and indulge in unhealthy foods. But here’s what you might not expect: Nutrisystem makes it easy for you to drop the unwanted weight before summer. Even better, we do it without taking away the small pleasures of eating that have made this time inside more bearable. Let us explain how we can help you clean up your quarantine diet!

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Here are six ways Nutrisystem can help you get back on track before summer:
1. Get a Head Start

before summer weight loss

Just seven days after you begin your Nutrisystem plan, you may start to see a difference. Our first week on the program is a One-Week Reboot to jumpstart your weight loss. In a study, average weight loss was 5.4 pounds during this first week.* It’s a lower calorie week that includes delicious, filling Nutrisystem meals, healthy snacks and unlimited non-starchy vegetables to keep you satisfied. Get a head start on your weight loss goals with a little help from Nutrisystem.

2. Fun and Fresh

before summer weight loss

When there’s no place to go and little to do while social distancing, meals are often the highlight of our days. So you aren’t likely to stick to any weight loss plan that expects you to skimp on the joy of sitting down to eat three times a day. With the diverse and delicious Nutrisystem menu filled with healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner choices, you’ll look forward to treating your taste buds to your favorite cuisines every day. Plus, we’re always in the kitchen cooking up new ideas and products! From classic American and Italian to Asian-inspired and Tex-Mex, every meal satisfies real appetites while providing the nutrients you need to feel your best.

3. Regular Snacks

healthy snacks

If you have to identify one cause of weight gain, it’s likely that you’ll point to “frequent snacking.” Many of us of have loaded our pantries with snack foods to keep our families happy and occupied, and we are dipping into those packages ourselves when we are bored, worried, hungry or pre-occupied.

Now for the good news: you don’t have to give up snack time to lose the weight before summer! In fact, daily snacks are an essential part of your Nutrisystem weight loss plan. The difference is that with Nutrisystem, you eat snacks that are nutritionally balanced and in the right portions for you. Plus, you get to choose from a wide range of options, including savory treats like Honey Mustard Pretzel Bits and White Cheddar Popcorn. We also offer delightful sweets, such as our Chewy Chocolate Fudge Bar and Red Velvet Cupcake, so snack time is still a fun part of your day.

Be sure to check out some more of the healthy snack ideas and treats from our wellness and nutrition experts at The Leaf! Here, you’ll be able to learn more amazing inspiration for healthy meal prep to shed those unwanted pounds from the Coronavirus quarantine.

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4. Comfort Cuisine

before summer weight loss

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the resulting lockdown have many of us in a constant state of stress. This can cause our bodies to produce a hormone known as “cortisol.” It increases our appetite, especially for foods that are high in sugar, fat and calories, according to the experts at Harvard Health Publishing.

To help us deal with stress, we tend to crave “comfort foods”—those meals that remind us of home cooking and the feeling of safety we enjoyed as children. With the Nutrisystem’s menu, you’ll be able to enjoy featured homestyle dishes that are sure to carry you back to those more relaxed times, including Chicken Pot Pie, Lasagna with Meat Sauce and Salisbury Steak with Mac and Cheese. Dig into these diet-friendly dishes filled with comfort and look forward to better days ahead.

5. Immunity Support

immune system

While you’re eating delicious food that satisfies your appetite, you also want to make sure you supply your immune system with the nutrients it needs to ward off illnesses. With Nutrisystem, you eat four servings of non-starchy vegetables each day, which load you up with fiber, antioxidants like vitamin C and other key nutrients for your immune system. Vitamin C is said to prevent colds and has been shown to help shorten the duration of cold symptoms, says Harvard Health.

The probiotics in Nutrisystem NutriCrush Protein Shakes can also help support your immunity with beneficial, disease-fighting microbes. Probiotics have been shown to support a healthy immune system and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut, says Healthline. There’s lots of fun ways to enjoy our rich, creamy shakes at home during the current quarantine and times of social distancing. We compiled eight simple recipes that punch up the flavor of the shakes that you can enjoy as you lose weight. Try them out here! >

6. Contactless Delivery

before summer weight loss

Nutrisystem can also help guard your health as you are shedding the weight by bringing good food right to your door through our renowned meal delivery service. All of your healthy meal prep is done for you and shipped directly to your home, keeping you safe and headache-free from dealing with grocery stores! You can stock up your pantry and freezer with a selection of your favorite foods, while also cutting down on trips out of the house. You stay safe without giving up on the variety of meals and snacks you love as you are losing those extra pounds before summer. Best of all, when we’re all ready to go outside again, you’ll be leaner and happier than you were before the lockdown.

Be sure to read more fitness and healthy recipe tips from our experts at The Leaf to keep you and your family healthy and happy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Get back on track before summer! Try out the Nutrisystem meal delivery service today. >

*In a study, avg weight loss was 5.4 lbs in the first week. The avg weight for the study participants was 207.3 lbs. Results vary based on starting weight and program adherence.

*Usage of this kit for more than one week in any consecutive 4-week period may lead to health complications and is not recommended.  Please be sure to eat all of the food recommended for this program. Failure to follow the program protocol and eat all of the food recommended may involve developing serious health complications. If you have diabetes, are under 18 years of age, are pregnant or a nursing mother, or following a specialized diet for health issues, you may not use this kit. Please consult your physician before purchasing (or beginning) this kit.

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The post Get Back on Track Before Summer: How Nutrisystem Can Help appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com