It’s an 80-degree day, light clouds and little humidity. Arguably the best kind of weather for the North East in the summer when “swamp-like” is a more accurate term to describe our days.
The air is light, neighbors are out for walks and responsibilities seem just a little easier to manage with that extra dose of vitamin D.
Your phone goes off:
“Let’s do a barbecue today!”
“Leaving work early, meet you for dinner?”
Good weather = socializing and traveling. And that’s absolutely how it should be… but what if you have a goal to lose weight, or gain muscle or just stick to healthier eating habits?
Do you ditch your friends or family? Deny your kids the magic of a summer barbecue at sunset? Probably not. And you shouldn’t, either.
So what can you do when faced with situations where there will likely be a plethora of processed foods, alcohol and restaurant dishes where you have little insight into how it’s prepared?
Lucky for you, we’ve put together 4 tips for getting you through barbecues, graduation parties, beach weekends and after-work socializing that will help you stay on track while still having a great time:
#1 — When in doubt, fill your plate with vegetables. Nearly every get together has a vegetable spread. Fill your plate with as many colors as you can. Vegetables are jam-packed with micro-nutrients and fiber keeping you fuller longer and less likely to keep going back to the table filling up on processed items (I see you, pigs in a blanket). If you’re at a restaurant, go for a veggie-filled salad and a lean protein on top– you can even ask for olive oil and a slice or two of lemon on the side to keep your dressing free of “franken-chemicals” found in so many salad dressings. Or, order the burger without a bun and ask for a salad on the side instead of french fries and chips.
# 2— Pack healthy snacks. I need a snack in my bag at all times, but that is especially true for any kind of travel or beach day. Boardwalks fill the air with that delicious smell of zeppole, funnel cake and pizza and after a few hours in the sun it’s easy to crave it all. Rest stops tempt you with McDonalds and Auntie Anne’s so having a few options already in your bag helps you avoid those pitfalls. Pre-pack trail mix, nut butter packets, fruit, homemade sandwiches, protein smoothies and pick up a few protein bars to help curb cravings– we love RxBars and have a few flavors at the front desk for you to try!
#3 — Drink Water. This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s easy to forget to drink water, or not drink enough of it, during the summer months. You’re likely sweating way more than in the cooler months, and it’s essential to hydrate even if you’re not working out. On top of that, water helps immensely to aid with digestion. Water helps break down food for digestion, increasing our ability to absorb nutrients. So, make sure you’re drinking a few glasses with every meal to help keep you happy and hydrated!
#4– Come prepared with a balanced dish at BYOB parties. Look, pigs in a blanket are delicious, but provide little nutritional value and are usually made with so many chemicals that our stomachs hate. Find a recipe that you like full of veggies, healthy fats (avocado, olive oil) and protein so that you’ll be more likely to eat your own dish if the other options at the party don’t work out. Check out this recipe below that we love:
Balsamic Grilled Chicken and Zucchini
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. orange zest
1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
2 medium yellow zucchini (about 1 lb.)
2 medium green zucchini (about 1 lb.)
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2″ thickness
extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
- In a small sauce pan over medium heat add honey and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer until slightly thickened, 10 minutes. Turn off heat; stir in orange zest and oregano. Reserve 1/4 cup for serving.
- Meanwhile, trim off both ends of each zucchini. Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, create long flat noodles by running the blade against the length of each zucchini. Season with salt and set aside.
- Preheat grill on medium-high. Drizzle Tyson Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place chicken on grill and cook for 4 minutes on each side. Brush glaze onto chicken and cook until lightly charred all over and internal temperature reaches 170°, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate and cover loosely with foil.
- Bring an 8-quart stock pot of water to a boil and generously season with salt. Cook zucchini until al dente, 2 to 3 minutes, and drain. Slice chicken against the grain and serve over zucchini noodles with a drizzle of balsamic-honey glaze and a sprinkle of sea salt. Serve immediately.