Making healthy choices while at the lake, on the river or up in the mountains can be difficult. Hell, for some reason it's a challenge the second you're grilling out back. The truth is that it is not impossible, it just takes planning ahead. Not to mention summer is the time of great produce abundance and it only makes sense to take advantage of all the great seasonal fruits and vegetables, while out in nature.
Wash, chop it and throw it in a baggy. Take your veggies with you pre-washed, chopped and ready to go. Then you have no excuse not to throw them on the grill or to reach for them when you’re craving something crunchy. These days you can get a wide variety of veggies already prepared. If you love your grilled veggies, and who doesn’t, prep them and add your favorite grilling oil and herbs to the bag. By the time your grilling dinner at the lake the veggies will be infused with flavor. If you don’t feel like messing around with oil and herbs, throw in Italian dressing or your favorite balsamic vinaigrette instead.
Keep it simple. Most fruit just needs washed and it’s ready to go. Picking simple fruits like peaches, apples, apricots, cherries or strawberries doesn’t require any fancy tools beyond water. Watermelon is one exception, but it’s totally worth the few extra minutes it takes to chop it up. Plus it will conserve cooler space if it’s already pre-chopped. Side note: soaking the watermelon in rum or vodka negates its health benefits, namely the low caloric density. You can call it happy melon, but you can't call it a healthy choice. Rule.
Puree onion and mix it in with your hamburger meat. First and foremost, your burgers will taste better than anyone else’s and that’s really what’s important. Second, it will help displace some of the calories found in a typical burger and add a smidge of fiber. Third, you can get juicy burgers while opting for lean meat because the onion will keep it juicy. Forth, long term bonus, yellow onions are rich in compounds that help fight colon cancer. Tasty burgers better than everyone else's while healthier and reduced risk of butt cancer - WINNING!
Banish iceberg lettuce; out in nature and all together. Iceberg lettuce offers no real nutritional value and is often on the recall lists due to contamination. Nothing ruins a trip to the great outdoors like uncontrollable diarrhea. Instead opt for healthy romaine lettuce that will still give you that great crunch factor on top of your burger. Not to mention if you’re looking to ditch about 200 calories you can use a leaf of romaine in place of a bun. Romaine is loaded with healthy nutrients including vitamins A, K, E, folate and magnesium and only contains about 7 calories per cup. Not too shabby. Plus it can be prepped and laid flat in a baggy, saving even more precious cooler space. Iceberg can’t do that either.
Don’t be ridiculous. You can still have all your grilled favorites; you just need to make healthy choices relating to them. Choose lower fat ground hamburger or bison for burgers. If you’re opting for brats and franks, make sure to look for ones that are nitrate free and lower in fat. When you’re grabbing buns, be honest with yourself. There are in fact whole wheat hamburger and hot dog buns; both of which are far less likely to result in the abdominal distention associated with white buns. There are also gluten free buns available that actually taste good and there's always the option of having enjoying your tasty meat naked - sans bun. Make sure to check all your condiments for food dyes, high fructose corn syrup and monosodium glutamate (MSG). There are condiments on the same grocery shelves sans these harmful food additives.
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