Burgers and hot dogs? Borrrinnggg. Offer to bring some turkey burgers this year. Be sure to choose turkey meat with > 90% lean meat. Lean meats are so important to promote optimal heart health. And when we dress these turkey burgers up, no one will even know they are the healthier choice.
For One Caprese Burger: (Multiply recipe by as many as you like, this burger with 99% lean turkey meat will be ~230 calories)
4 oz >90% lean ground turkey
1 tbsp whole wheat bread crumbs
Garlic preference for taste
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
6 Sundried tomatoes (dry)
1/2 oz Mozzarella Cheese
3 Basil leaves chopped up
Mix together ground turkey with the bread crumbs, garlic, ½ teaspoon olive oil, sundried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil leaves (can also add in arugula leaves – very good!).
Create a burger patty out the mixture and grill.
Don’t like turkey meat? Try ground chicken!
My suggestion – top them with a sweet honey mustard and a slice of a fresh tomato. Make your own honey mustard by mixing your favorite mustard with agave nectar. Make it a sweet, hot honey mustard and add in some cayenne pepper. To die for.
If your host requests sausages, bring some chicken sausages. These chicken sausages can come in really fun mixtures and act as a great, leaner alternative to regular pork sausages. (Brands to look for: Al Fresco, Bilinski, Thin ‘n Trim)
Mmm grilled foods just taste like summer. Try new grilled items and make them into sides. Some of my new favorites?
Grilled Romaine Lettuce: Take the whole Romaine heart and spray with fat free cooking spray, or spritz with some olive oil and place it right on the grill. Add some squeezed fresh lemon juice and white wine vinegar and top with some blue cheese crumbles and mandarin oranges – fresh, delish salad. Done.
Pineapple, peaches, nectarines and watermelon to name a few.
Grill them all and eat as is. Or put over arugula or your favorite lettuce greens and top with some balsamic. Summer’s freshest flavors right there.
Zucchini, Onions (red or yellow), Squash, Eggplant.
Refer to Alix’s previous blog post for other great grilling ideas.
Want an alternative to creamy veggie dip?
Remember from our #happyslimhealthy snacks post, you can bring some Tzatzeki sauce and hummus as dips with your cut veggies.
Or you can always make your own fabulous dips:
Mix together a ripe avocado with diced red onions, cherry tomatoes, juice of 1 lime, minced garlic and cilantro. Now, if you want to get really crazy and make it a little creamier, you can add in some plain Greek yogurt.
Mix together diced strawberries, diced mango, cilantro, garlic, s&p, red onion, cherry tomatoes and jalapeño with the juice of a half a lemon and a half a lime and olive oil. (You can also sweeten it up with some balsamic glaze).
Raw Bean Salad over Spinach (or alone)
Large Butter Beans
Sundried tomatoes (dry)
Juice of 1 lemon
Mix your beans and edammame with the sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes also if you would like, garlic and minced basil. Squeeze on some lemon juice and toss with olive oil, white wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar. To add a little sweetness you can also squeeze on some agave nectar. Can make as a big side dish or put the mixture over a lettuce of your choice and create a more traditional looking salad.
(Quick tip – the butter beans come in a can, I suggest straining them in a pasta strainer and rinsing them with a little water)
So many options here, but for a quick BBQ salad side dish, sauté some onions (these are optional), dice cherry tomatoes and mozz and throw all of these over some arugula and spinach. Make your quinoa and mix into the salad. So freaking delicious. The quinoa adds not only fiber and protein but a little chewiness that your mouth will love.
You can also mix quinoa into your bean salad mixture and it creates a whole new dish of greatness.
Watermelon & Feta Salad:
Really, that’s almost the whole recipe. Dice your watermelon into cubes (you can use the grilled watermelon here too if you like!) mix in some feta cheese, and dice up some mint leaves. Top with some white wine or balsamic vinegar, a little agave nectar and a splash of olive oil, donezo.
Really those natural flavors speak for themselves in that dish.
Pasta salad with lettuce in it
Mint leaves chopped
White wine vinegar
Mix juice of one lime (maybe more depending on how many people you are cooking for) with mint, oil and vinegar (optional to spice it up can mix with cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes) and set aside – this is the dressing. Grill your shrimp OR use shrimp cocktail to make this a little more like a ceviche. Squeeze some lemon on top of the shrimp and add in your avocado diced up, the berries, red onion and cukes. Top with your dressing.
Ok what is the 4th of July or any summer BBQ for that matter without a drink…
Muddle some fruit (strawberries and blueberries) and mint leaves, skip the simple sugar and add to one shot of vodka and mix with club soda or even some Fresca for a refreshing lower calorie BBQ beverage alternative.
Stay safe and have a #HappySlimHealthy 4th of July everyone!!!
- Jenna A. Stock, RDN