cucumber mint water

Healthy Memorial Day + Recipes

Memorial Day is right around the corner, and I get so many questions from clients asking how to incorporate more healthy options into their cookouts! Hopefully the weather cooperates, and everyone can get outside and enjoy the sunshine over the long holiday weekend. A few tips to make your cookouts healthier:

  1. Stay hydrated. With the temperature getting warmer, it is important to drink more water, and the perfect way to promote that is by making a large pitcher of fruit-infused water. It is refreshing, infused with many nutrients, and tastes amazing! My favorite is a watermelon, basil, cucumber and lime water. Yes – that is correct, I throw fruit, vegetables, AND herbs into my concoction, and if you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend doing so!
  2. Try a healthy appetizer. Who says appetizers can’t be healthy? One that I love to make in the summer is a fresh ceviche – you can use shrimp, fish, crab, etc., and it is a light and tasty snack that can be eaten with tortilla chips or (my favorite) just with a spoon! Sometimes to make it sweeter I will even add a bit of mango to the mix – yum! Protein-packed appetizers are always a smart choice as well, such as steamed shrimp or shrimp cocktail, or maybe even mini buffalo turkey meatballs! (see below for recipes)
  3. More veggies! People love vegetables, but they are not always included for some reason at cookouts – we tend to focus on the proteins and side dishes (typically high in carbohydrates). Make a large colorful salad for a side or try marinating vegetables and placing on a skewer to easily throw on the grill with the proteins! A tasty and healthy way to pack fiber into your cookout meal.
  4. Choose lean proteins. Opt for a leaner protein option to throw on the grill! Turkey burgers can be just as flavorful as ground beef with the right seasonings or try marinating fish or chicken to barbeque. If you are into sausage or hot dogs, a healthy alternative is Applegate brand natural and organic meats – the spicy andouille chicken sausage or uncured turkey hot dogs are a crowd favorite! If you are sticking to a plant-based option but still need a protein, try a Beyond Meat burger for 20g protein.
  5. Fruit for dessert. Fruit is a great naturally sweet, hydrating, and high fiber dessert option. Making a fruit salad and serving with a healthy high protein yogurt fruit dip is the perfect after dinner option. (see recipe below)

Shrimp and Mango Ceviche

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. cooked shrimp (21-25 per pound)
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ½ medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 serrano chili, ribs and seeds removed, minced (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped pineapple
  • 1 mango, peeled and chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Chop shrimp into ½ inch pieces and transfer to a large glass or ceramic bowl. Mix in the lime juice, onions and serrano chile (if using). Cover bowl and refrigerate for 30 min. Optional step: (if you prefer less acidity) drain lime/pineapple juice from the shrimp prior to mixing with remaining ingredients.
  2. Mix in bell pepper, pineapple, mango, avocado and cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro leaves, if desired.

Serve over a bed of greens or in individual bowls or martini/margarita glasses with tortilla chips.

BUFFALO TURKEY MEATBALLS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 lb Ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup Egg white
  • 1/2 cup Blue cheese (crumbled)
  • 1/2 cup Green onions (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Cayenne pepper sauce (such as Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  2. Combine the turkey, egg whites, blue cheese, scallions, and 3/4 of the cayenne pepper sauce in a bowl. Form into 1 in (2.5 cm) balls and place on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until barely done.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining cayenne pepper sauce with the olive oil.
  4. Drain the fluid released by the meatballs and transfer them to a clean sheet of parchment paper (still on the baking sheet). Drizzle a small amount of the cayenne olive oil mixture over each meatball. Bake for 2-3 minutes.

Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip Variations

INGREDIENTS

(Option 1) – Almond Butter Fruit Dip

  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1.5 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon

(Option 2) – Key Lime Fruit Dip

  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1.5 tbsp honey
  • 2 key limes zested
  • ¼ tsp vanilla

(Option 3) – Chocolate Fruit Dip

  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1.5 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

  1. Stir all ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Serve in a bowl with chunks of fruit to dip.

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