The summer is fast upon us, traditionally marked by the Memorial Day holiday. With that comes outdoor picnics, BBQs, time with friends and family....and FOOD!! When trying to follow a healthier diet or when living with dietary restrictions or allergies, it can feel overwhelming to think ‘what will I eat?’ at your favorite cookout. The great news….there are some really simple modifications to ensure you can enjoy those classic BBQ dishes, while feeling confident that you can stick within your diet and dietary needs.
· Starter Appetizer: sub out a cheese board for a fresh avocado salsa with corn chips. Up the ante with a Cowboy Salsa (rinsed canned black beans, fresh corn kernels, diced fresh tomato, fresh cilantro, diced avocado, light granulated garlic powder and fresh lime juice – that’s it!)
~Gluten Free & Dairy Free (GF/DF), low glycemic & keto-friendly (without the corn)
· The Burger: there are a few options here. Try all-natural grass-fed beef, or ground organic turkey with diced onions and granulated garlic powder, or ground organic chicken with diced onions and dried rosemary, or a portobello mushroom cap marinated in red wine vinegar/olive oil/salt/pepper/granulated garlic powder/Italian seasoning. All options can be grilled and deliciously enjoyed!
~GF/DF, low-glycemic & keto-friendly
· Cheese: if you’re lusting after that classic cheesy-goodness for your above burger, try VioLife Cheddar or Smoked Mozzarella slices – these are entirely plant-based and add a delicious bit of flavor, so you can savor the cheeziness, without the dairy.
· The Bun: if having that scrumptious bun for your above 'burger' is a must, try Schar Ciabatta or O’Dough’s Seeded Hamburger bun for a gluten-free option. Both have minimal ingredients, zero or low sugar and you can feel confident that you’re making a healthy choice! **Another great option is to skip the bun all together and enjoy a 'naked' burger over arugula dressed with olive oil and lemon juice and freshly sliced tomatoes.
~GF/DF, low-glycemic/keto-friendly (with naked option)
· Potato Salad: try using roasted sweet potatoes mixed with red onion, dried cranberries, crushed walnuts, fresh thyme and lightly dressed with olive oil; add salt/pepper to taste. The flavors of the sweet potatoes, cranberry and thyme will shine!! If you just need to must have that creamy mayonnaise-feel, use a tablespoon or two of Sir Kensington’s avocado oil-based mayonnaise. **A fun note, avocado oil is rich in Omega 3s, a necessary component for hormones to regulate the blood cells responsible for managing inflammation and maintaining a healthy heart!
~GF/DF, low-glycemic (without dried cranberries)
· Coleslaw: a raw broccoli mix is a heart-healthy option as the base. Included in a traditional broccoli-slaw mix is red cabbage, broccoli stems, kale and carrots. Mix this with a little olive oil, apple cider vinegar, yellow onion, pine nuts or dry roasted pumpkin seeds, fresh parsley and season with salt/pepper and you’ll have a delightful side slaw, free of dairy, sugar and guilt!
~GF/DF, low-glycemic, keto-friendly
· Macaroni Salad: use your favorite recipe and sub traditional macaroni for Jovial’s gluten-free brown rice pasta (it comes in many fun shapes/sizes) or freshly made quinoa. Quinoa has a nice 'bite and crunch' to it and pairs well with diced onions, celery, bell pepper and carrots. Dress your 'salad' with red wine vinegar and olive oil, salt and pepper and herbs of your choice. And of course, add Sir Kensington’s avocado oil-based mayonnaise in lieu of the Hellmann's if you're craving a creamier option.
~GF/DF, low-glycemic (with quinoa option)
· Red white and blue dessert: make up a nice platter of fresh watermelon slices, fresh cut strawberries, fresh blueberries and sliced jicama. Yes, jicama! It’s a lovely white root vegetable with a crisp texture and refreshing sweet flavor. You could also add fresh chopped mint!! **If you want a little extra flair here, you could also use So Delicious Coconut Whipped topping – it's low in sugar from the natural sweetness of coconut, so you can have little guilt and also enjoy a light and fluffy whipped 'cream' holiday classic!
~GF/DF, low-glycemic (without whipped topping)
The greatest part of celebrating Memorial Day is remembering the value of FREEDOM! Whether opting to live a healthier lifestyle, following doctor’s orders, experimenting with weight loss, accommodating dietary restrictions or just because you CHOOSE to eat a cleaner diet….know that you can freely enjoy delicious barbecue picnic dishes! Wishing you many happy summer days ahead!
With much gratitude for all who have fought and sacrificed to preserve this land of the free and the brave. May we all find gratitude for our continued freedom, and be empowered to live with the freedoms that bring us our best life!
From Jen: I'm always interested to learn new twists on summer holiday classics! Please share your favorite subs, swaps or recipes on our Facebook page here: @NWCnewtownCT
By Jen Rizza, Founder of Newtown Wellness Collective
Jen is a RYT yoga teacher specializing in restorative and yin yoga practices, a Reiki Master Teacher, and internationally certified wellness coach, supporting clients seeking overall greater balance of health, energy and wellbeing in their lives.
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