July 2019

Cocktails…

With the warm weather here to stay for a while it’s nice to try some low calorie summer cocktails to stay cool.  Here are 8 low calorie cocktail recipes you might want to try:

  1. Pinot Grigio Melon Ball Spritzer
  2. Watermelon Mojito
  3. Skinny Sangria
  4. Mango Margarita
  5. Lemon ‘N’ Lime Cocktail
  6. Strawberry Margarita
  7. Pina Colada
  8. White Wine Sangria

You can see all of the ingredients and instructions for these drinks by clicking on this link:  https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/recipes/8-low-calorie-summer-cocktail-recipes-must-try-3-amazing/

Here are a few things to remember if you want to try and “lighten up” one of your favorite cocktails or even come up with a unique drink yourself:

  1. Use a no calorie sweetener (Stevia, etc.) instead of sugar or simple syrup
  2. Squeeze in real fruits for flavor
  3. Use no calories sodas or even flavored sparkling water instead of regular soda
  4. Try coconut water for additional flavor with many health benefits
  5. Make your own drink mixes with items like green tea, mint, lemon, etc.
  6. Garnish with fruit and fresh herbs

For wine lovers replace ½ a glass of white wine with club soda and a splash of citrus juice for a refreshing, bubbly cocktail that’s fewer calories.  You can also try infused alcohol like flavored vodka to save on the calories of sugary mixes yet still impart flavor.

Save a lot of calories for the delicious food that’s all around in summer by trying some of these techniques so you can still enjoy a cocktail while not going over on your calorie budget.  Cheers!

 

Mocktails…

It’s not really easy any time of year to find recipes for non-alcoholic drinks that taste delicious…and Summer time is no exception.  With fruity drinks taking center stage in warmer weather sometimes taking out the alcohol just leaves you with juice and a tiny umbrella!  Well, it doesn’t have to be that way…not with these options:

Cucumber-Mint Limeade

http://www.intheraw.com/using-itr/recipes/cucumber-mint-limeade/

 Black Cherry Basil Mocktail

https://www.wickedspatula.com/black-cherry-basil-mocktail/

 Copa Verde Mocktail

http://themerrythought.com/recipes/copa-verde-mocktail/

 Ginger Beer Mojito

https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/GINGER-BEER-MOJITO-RECIPE/

 Strawberry Orange Mango Kombucha Mocktail

https://www.theroastedroot.net/strawberry-orange-mango-kombucha-mocktails/

 Watermelon Lime Mocktail

http://www.eatyourselfskinny.com/watermelon-lime-mocktail/

Pineapple-Mango Agua Fresca

http://www.intheraw.com/using-itr/recipes/pineapple-mango-agua-fresca/?ref=search&product=stevia-in-the-raw&dish_type=beverages&page=1

Non-Alcoholic Sangria

https://simpleveganblog.com/non-alcoholic-sangria/

Pina Colada

https://houseofyumm.com/pina-colada/

Grilled Pineapple Lime Mocktail

http://themerrythought.com/recipes/mocktail-monday-grilled-pineapple-lime-mocktail/

Of course you can always opt for flavorful beverages with alcohol as well…and here is a site with some tasty cocktails that utilize herbs for an abundance of flavor:

https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/healthy-drinks/10-tasty-herb-cocktails

Cool down with these flavorful mocktails or cocktails…whichever you prefer…and ENJOY!

 

 

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Healthy Barbecue Options

by Michelle on July 24, 2019

With warmer weather it’s time to use the barbecue and commence with grilling!  While it is a bit healthier to grill foods (usually not many fats are needed) the sauces that are used can increase the sugar content too much and make a healthy cooking option not so healthy after all.  Items like lean meats, chicken breast, fish, vegetables, and even fruit, all taste fantastic when grilled and sometimes the flavors of certain items are even enhanced when cooked over an open flame.

The way you cook on the grill is almost as important as what you cook.  Proteins (meat, chicken, and fish) sometimes stick when no fats (butter or oils) are used so a little bit of olive oil is fine…just a little bit though.

Olive oil is a healthy choice and a little goes a long way.  There are now nonstick grilling mats and pans specifically made for the barbecue and these, of course, require no butter or oils to prevent sticking…making them a great healthy option.  You can also cook things in tinfoil “packets”…vegetables and fish are good options for this method…so as to keep items from falling through the grates of the grill.  It also steams the food so you aren’t having to use anything on the items to prevent sticking.

Another pitfall for people looking to eat healthy and enjoy a barbecue are the sauces used to marinate the proteins.  Sugar is usually in large quantities in these sauces as it imparts a lot of flavor when it caramelizes.  Even a healthy fish filet can be rendered unhealthy by a high calorie sauce, so whenever possible use marinades and sauces sparingly and AFTER cooking to minimize damage to your diet.  Also, remove any visible fat from meat and the skin from chicken and turkey for the best option.

There are many healthy barbecue recipes to try with a variety of foods and depending on your preference, there are many variations.  Here are a few links to sites offering healthy barbecue recipes that you might want to try:

  1. https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/dinner/grilling-recipes/
  2. http://www.cookinglight.com/food/top-rated-recipes/five-star-grill-recipes
  3. https://www.delish.com/entertaining/g2167/healthy-grilling-recipes/
  4. https://www.bonappetit.com/gallery/healthy-grilling-recipes
  5. https://www.cookincanuck.com/15-healthy-barbecue-grilling-recipes/

Side Dishes are also an area where many people eat more calories than they realize and a diet can really be derailed due to a great side dish.  Potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw, and baked beans are the traditional sides at most barbecues, but they are loaded with fat and calories (and sugar as well) and aren’t on any weight loss program.  While they’re delicious, it’s best to avoid them and opt for things like grilled vegetables, a leafy green salad, bean and avocado salad, or even a baked potato cooked on the grill.

When it comes to dessert, a couple of good things to grill in the fruit category are pineapple slices and peaches.  The fruit sugars in these delicious items caramelizes when grilled and they become very sweet.  They are great options that are still healthy when it comes to barbecue fare.  Even small changes to your normal barbecue dining can mean positive results for your health and make eating better easier and easier every time you incorporate them.

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Light Summertime Eating

by Michelle on July 3, 2019

When the weather is warm it’s natural to crave something on the lighter side to eat.  Items that are heavy meals (lasagna, meatloaf, etc.) aren’t usually what people gravitate towards in summer months.  In fact, eating lighter fare in warmer weather is actually beneficial…but how?

  1. Body temperature stays low:  The body works harder to digest heavy, hearty meals so keeping things lighter (chilled soups, smoothies, etc.) helps you stay cool.
  2. You’ll be well hydrated: Fresh, raw fruits and veggies naturally contain more water so eating light produce will naturally keep you hydrated.  Try snacking on cucumber, jicama, or even frozen grapes.
  3. It can help control weight gain: Eating light makes it easier to feel “light” which hopefully prompts you to get out and be more active.
  4. You might avoid binging: Developing a habit of eating light and HEALTHY options can go a long way in not overdoing things when on vacation during the summer or even at home in general.
  5. Your cravings will diminish: Serotonin, responsible for a balanced mood, is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight…but carbohydrates can produce the same effect.  If you can get outdoors more often in warm weather then the sunlight can boost your mood instead of the heavy, unhealthy carbs that you might normally crave.

Here are some great websites with light summer recipes that can help you get started:

  1. https://www.cookinglight.com/food/quick-healthy/quick-easy-summer-recipes
  2. https://www.yellowblissroad.com/27-light-and-fresh-summer-meals/
  3. https://cookieandkate.com/2016/18-light-summer-dinner-recipes/
  4. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipes/630/everyday-cooking/seasonal/summer/
  5. https://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/packages/best-summer-and-grilling-recipes/healthy-summer-recipes/photos/light-summer-dinner-recipes

Cooking “light” doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor.  Eating a meal that doesn’t weigh you down not only has health benefits but might also open your eyes (and taste buds) to things that could soon become new favorites year-round!  Happy eating!

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