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Yummy & Nutritious BBQ Ideas

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BBQ tips

Barbeques!

When most people think of BBQ’s, the first thought that comes to mind is fatty meats, greasy appetizers, sugary desserts and calorie-loaded drinks. How are you supposed to stick to your diet when you’re hosting one? Or attending one? But there are many delicious, healthy alternatives that will leave you and your guests full, yet feeling satisfied. For your next BBQ cook up some of these delicious meals, or bring some to your next BBQ. Inspire others to cook & eat healthy, too.

I always tell people to pick their poison. If you can only eat your Aunt Bertha’s delicious potato salad once a year at the family BBQ, eat it. But, don’t choose things that you can get all the time, like chips, store bought macaroni salad, the typical hot dog, etc. Also, eat a little before you go. I hate arriving at someone’s home starving, and there’s no food to be found for the first hour except a bowl of cheese doodles. Right? Eat a small, healthy snack before you go and then choose your menu items carefully.

Instead of the usual burgers, hot dogs, sausages, and the classic potato and macaroni salads, why not come up with some new ideas?

  • Grill chicken breasts or thighs.
  • You can try turkey fillets, and all kinds of fish like salmon, swordfish, and shrimp.
  • Start a new trend. Buy a few bison or turkey burgers or turkey tenderloins. Cook them up and then cut into pieces and serve with toothpicks for your guests to sample—they might have it at their next BBQ.

Kabobs! final kabob

Kabobs are easy and you can be as creative as you like. Anything goes. Look in your fridge and see what you have lying around:

  • Meat: Chicken, steak, salmon, swordfish, shrimp, even Tofu!
  • Veggies: Cherry tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions, button mushrooms.
  • Fruit: Pineapple, peaches, nectarines, apples.

Speaking of Veggies…final veggies

You can throw them directly on the grill. Just spray the grill with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray.

  • Ever try roasted Cauliflower or grilled asparagus?
  • Roast corn on the cob, whole portobello mushrooms, and even eggplant.
  • Cut a vidalia onion in half and cook face down.
  • Slice sweet potatoes in half and do the same.

Speaking of Fruits…final fruit

Want a great, delicious, nutritious, low-cal dessert? How do these look? Grill fruit kabobs on the grill as well.

  • You can even grill whole pineapple slices or bananas in their skins on the BBQ.
  • Make a mixed rainbow-colored fruit salad for dessert with: strawberries, mandarin oranges, mangoes, green grapes and blueberries.
  • Make angel food cake with fresh berries and whipped cream.angel2

Need an idea for a side dish to make or bring to a BBQ?final side dishes

Make fresh spinach salads, 3 bean salads, or a Quinoa salad. Quinoa looks like couscous but is high in protein and fiber. Simply cook as you would for rice. Add a can of rinsed black beans, cherry tomatoes and chopped scallions. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, lime juice and cilantro and voila!

Here’s my favorite Quinoa recipe: Quinoa Salad with Apples, Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, and Gouda:  http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/quinoa-salad-apples-walnuts-dried-cranberries-gouda.aspx

The trick is a lot of food, not a lot of calories! Remember, the real reason you’re there is to enjoy the company and catch up with family and friends. Not to stuff yourself with thousands of unhealthy calories. Then I’ll have to hear it the next day with: “What do you think about this new Detox Cleanse I heard about.” Ugh. If you ate healthy people, you wouldn’t need to cleanse! (Hee hee)

 

Want more great BBQ Tips? Check out this FREE Webinar by Guiding Stars – “Healthy Grilling

So, what do you think? What will you try at your next BBQ? What was your favorite idea on here? Any others to add?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Give New Energy to Your Weight Loss Plan with Chobani!

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chobani

Chobani Yogurt + Meal Planning + Exercise = Healthy Weight Loss!

As you all know by now, I love Greek Yogurt and recommend it all the time for weight loss, healthier eating, pre & post workout snacks, breakfast options, and as a topping or a condiment replacement. You can use it for just about anything at every meal and snack. The best part: it tastes great and packs a high-protein punch! For those of you that eat it regularly but aren’t sure why it’s so fantastic, or for those that have never tried it, here’s a quick list of some of it’s benefits:

Healthy Benefits of Greek Yogurt

  • Protein! My favorite. Protein is so important in helping you feel full and satisfied after a meal so you don’t grab unhealthy snacks later on. Protein helps build those sexy muscles, too. Regular yogurt contains only 8gms of protein. Greek yogurt has between 10-20gms of protein! As much as 2-3 eggs.
  • Probiotics! Not only does it ensure proper digestion and absorption of the nutrients you’re eating, but it acts as a ‘warrior’ protecting your intestines from bad bacteria that can cause illness and diseases, such as cancer, lactose intolerance and allergic reactions.
  • Calcium! As we age, we tend to drink less milk and therefore, take in less calcium which is important for our bones. Osteoporosis=Bad. Calcium and strength training/weight lifting, will ensure your bones absorb plenty of calcium.
  • High Blood Pressure! Dairy is an important element in the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Wouldn’t you rather eat delicious yogurt then take another pill?

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“What a great way to start the morning. Create your own combinations. Add berries, nuts, mangoes, flaxseed!”

Delicious Greek Yogurt Ideas & Recipes

  1. Substitute Plain, Fat-free Greek Yogurt for sour cream in tacos
  2. Use as a dip for veggies or fruit. For fruit: mix in a blender with dried cranberries. For veggies: blend in cucumber and dill, or see dip recipe below.
  3. Drizzle in a little honey, cinnamon, and walnuts for a true Greek dessert.
  4. Make a baked sweet potato even healthier with Plain Greek Yogurt dolloped on top
  5. Roll a banana in yogurt, then in healthy, crunchy cereal. Cut into bite sized pieces. You can freeze it, too!
  6. Dip Strawberries or Apples into Vanilla Greek Yogurt.
  7. Smear a whole grain waffle or pancakes with yogurt, then top with your favorite fruit like diced peaches.
  8. Add to your protein shake in addition to milk. See recipe below.
  9. Add fruit to Greek Yogurt to make it even healthier.  Try mangoes, blueberries, or raspberries.
  10. Use Plain Greek Yogurt in place of mayo on your sandwiches, or in tuna/chicken salad.
  11. “Stuff” French toast slices with Greek Yogurt and strawberries.
  12. Make your own Greek Tzatziki sauce for gyros and chicken souvlaki: http://thehealthyfoodie.com/tzatziki-sauce/

Craving something sweet and unhealthy like doughnuts, cookies, or chocolate? Chobani has a great new line called Chobani Simply 100 Crunch. Why not grab a 100 calorie Greek Yogurt with some crunchy sweetness instead? In addition to the 10gms of protein, it is extremely low in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and only has one carb per serving. You can’t find that in doughnuts. It adds fruit and just a dash of sweetness from yummy things like chocolate, cookies, or waffle pieces. Remember, it’s all about moderation!  You CAN have it all. Healthy food, that tastes great, and some sweets. I tried the Strawberry Chocolate Truffle and it tasted just like a chocolate covered strawberry! A much healthier dessert.

crunch-products

Here’s a great dip. My kids love helping me make this. Like Hummus? Like Edamame? Try:

Edamummus!
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1 1/2 cups cooked, shelled Edamame cooled
2 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 medium cloves fresh garlic chopped
1 TBSP fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3 TBSP fat free Plain Greek yogurt
In a food processor combine Edamame, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and salt. Process til mixture is paste like and Edamame is finely chopped. Drizzle olive oil and blend until well mixed. Add yogurt and mix. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Tropical Protein Shake

½ cup frozen Mangoes, diced
½ cup frozen Pineapple, diced
8oz Coconut milk
4oz Plain Greek Yogurt
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Mix all in a blender, pour and serve.
While you’re at it, make extra and pour into popsicle molds and have a frozen, high protein treat!
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Of course, exercise also plays an important role in keeping your weight under control. While you’re crunching on Chobani Simply 100 Crunch, here’s a cool way to “crunch the numbers” and burn 100 calories by keeping active and having fun. Which is your favorite way to burn calories?
chobani_100cal_12version

Want more Greek Yogurt snack ideas? Want a free coupon to buy Chobani? Visit their Simply 100 website:

http://www.thelightthatsright.com/

Follow the party on Twitter too! #Simply100

So what do you think? Do you eat Greek Yogurt? What’s your favorite way to eat it? Any special recipes?

I love hearing from you!

 

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to SurviveEvery Five Years & The Bridges Before Us

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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Goals to Strive For in 2016

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By Christine Ardigo MSRD

Nutrition & Exercise Goals to Strive For in 2016

Okay, my friends. Holidays are over. Your week-long vacation is over. 2015 is over. Back to work and school tomorrow and a whole, fresh new year is ahead of us. This year will be your year to finally meet your goals. And, I’m right there with you. I know what you’re thinking. Yeah, Christine, how hard could it be for you? You live and breathe it every day, right? Well, no. Not in 2015 at all. Not so much in 2014 either. Why? What? Huh?

As most of you know, I published two books in the summer of 2014, and just completed editing book 3. Many people ask me how I can possibly work full time, raise two daughters, maintain a home, run a Nutrition & Exercise Website, and write books while keeping in shape. The answer is: I can’t. Impossible. (And, I NEED my 8 hours of sleep at night!) Something had to give and it did. My immaculate house is a little less clean, I spent less time with my daughters and friends, AND, exercising was constantly put on hold for my book. Eating healthy all the time, too.

Now granted, I did lift weights here and there, started running on a treadmill and outdoors, and rode my bike over the summer, but, compared to my 7 days a week of exercising, I was lucky if it was once a week.  My butt has left an impression in my desk chair. I’d write for hours, my stomach would growl, and I’d run upstairs and grab a cookie to shut it up. Not good.

I cannot tell you how much I wanted to just finish this book and be done with it. Most importantly, to get back in shape. Starting tomorrow, I am starting the:

21 Day No Junk Food Challenge!

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STEP #1:

I know what you’re thinking: Does Christine even eat this stuff? Well, over the past 2 years, yes. (Especially the chocolate part!) They say it take 3 weeks to break a habit so tomorrow it begins for me. You don’t realize how fast these calories add up, and it takes FOREVER to burn off. (Especially when you’re sitting on you hiney writing.) So, no more. Hopefully I wont crave chocolate anymore after this and less calories means less I have to work off. I have fallen in love with something else!

PicMonkey Collage

I love these suckers!  Plums and mandarins/clementines. I found that after I eat a meal, I hate that residual taste in my mouth, so I’d always reach for a cookie or something sweet to get rid of it. Now I grab one of these. They’re sweet and cleanse my palate and, even better: healthy, less calories, high in fiber. YUM! So, hopefully the added calories from junk will be gone. That is step one for me. Eating healthier, BUYING healthier food for the house, not eating junk.

Step #2

Exercise! I have belonged to gyms for 30 years, I love ’em. I love the music, the fellow exercisers that motivate me and give me great, new ideas, all the billions of machines. What’s not to like? When I transformed my body several years ago, I used to go to the gym on my lunch hour, and that truly was the best time for me with a 1 & 6 year old at home. I did this every single day for 3-4 years, then when I worked at a gym part time as their dietitian, I worked out there, too. I loved it and I was obsessed! But, after four years of rushing out on my lunch hour, and rushing back, I just couldn’t do it anymore. It was draining me. My life had become stressful around then, and I just wanted to rest. Relax. Not run ANYWHERE. I switched to going to the gym after work and this worked for a while, too. Until I started writing my books.

I must say, I love trying new things, and when I fall in love with something, I only want to do that. Like weight lifting, rock climbing, running various races.

exercisecollage

(By the way, I was 41 years old on the left. No excuses!)

Writing became my new passion and that’s all I wanted to do. I’d have my gym clothes in the car, drive within a few blocks of the gym, and then say “No! I’d much rather go home and write that new scene I thought about today.” I tried everything. Working out on weekends. Going directly after work. Working out at home. Biking and running outside. But, nothing would get in the way of writing. Last year, hubby and I bought a home gym for the basement. This was it! We assembled it ourselves and the workout began. I felt great again. February, March, and April I pounded away at the weights. I had two huge reunions coming up in the summer and it was now or never.

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May came and my husband and I were doing so much gardening, ripping out things, relandscaping our entire backyard, and maintaining our pond, that the weights were put on hold. I argued with myself that I was burning so many calories outside, that it was the same as lifting weights. But, by June, I started editing my book. I truly just wanted to finish and get it published, so the weights were put on hold again. I supplemented with jogging and biking around the block. The muscles started to disappear. The muffin top started to appear. Throw in that lovely peri-menopausal “slowing metabolism, while your appetite sores through the roof even though you just ate” and I knew something had to give.

I have almost 3 published books under my belt, but I’ve been miserable. Maybe it was the lack of endorphins I was so used to. Maybe it was my jeans being tighter, my arms not looking as cut, reverting back to old ways of wearing baggy tops (hiding), not being as strong, running out of breath by doing simple things. Who knows, but I had enough. I plan to publish book 3 soon, and I think that will be it. At least for many years. I’ve lost my body, my good mood, time with my family and friends. I kinda want my life back.

So, to jump start my exercise, I had to make a choice. Go back to the gym? Hmm, at this point, winter is here again and I’m not sure I’m ready to jump back into that just yet. Start lifting weights with the full gym again? Sure. I have a great set up downstairs and with the book almost behind me, I have no excuses. But, I missed the atmosphere of the gym, and I know I desperately NEEDED cardio. I am so out of breath I’m angry with myself. I can’t even mop my wood floors without huffing and puffing. So, what did I do? I looked into exercise DVD’s. No, not the ones from the 80’s with leg warmers and 2 lb weights. I needed ones to fit my needs. Ones where they had cardio, but also heavier weights, and fun things like Kick Boxing, and Boot Camp. One without annoying background music or voices that after a while you have to turn the volume off, and play the stereo. Well, after much research I found it:

Cathe

http://shop.cathe.com/ICE-s/119.htm

I bought this 7 DVD collection for myself for Christmas and started doing it every day. Cathe ICE. I love Cathe so far, and she inspires me. The music is a techno sound, but low, and no singing. Her voice is motivating without being too smiley and annoying. There is always one girl in the background that does it with a slower, or less strenuous move. You can choose your own weights. They’re using twelve pounds? Use 3lbs. They’re using 3lbs? Use 10. You can do whatever level you’re at. I hurt my shoulder over the summer while gardening and I learned to not do any moves that involves lifting my arms out like I’m flying. My knees have started to hurt (probably from all the sitting) and I know that I need to do any squat/lunge moves slower. I also lose my breath constantly!  But, the great thing about a DVD? You can pause it and catch your breath as many times as you want. And, if that’s what I need to do in the beginning, I do. Also, if you don’t have time to do the full DVD, do as much as time allows and finish it later, of tomorrow. There are 7 DVD’s so I have 7 different workouts to do every week. Some DVD’s also have bonus tracks (like Ab specific) and you can do those too.

I’m not trying to sell anyone on anything. Just letting you know that there’s always another way, another avenue you can try. My goal is to do these every day and supplement with weights in the basement. I hope to have my body back by the summer. In case you don’t know, there are plenty of Youtube workouts you can do as well. When my legs were hurting really bad from all the sitting, I went to my TV upstairs and Googled “Yoga”, and found a ton to do on my giant screen TV.

As a present to you guys, I pledge to post more often. I went from twice a month, to once a month, and now I haven’t posted in almost 2 months. I miss it and I think it will motivate you and me. I might even post quick, short ones here and there to keep you on your toes. If you’d like daily motivational tips, please join my Facebook Page, where I post a little something EVERY day.

So, what are your Healthy Goals for 2016? Share some on here so we can all be motivated. Do you have specific ones? Any tricks any tips?

I love hearing from you!

CHRISTINE ARDIGO – Author of Cheating to Survive & Every Five Years

The greatest compliment you can give me is when you share this with others.
I sincerely appreciate it:

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