The 4th of July is here and that means summer is fully underway! As we’re sure you’ve noticed, cookouts and get-togethers seem to be happening more and more, and it can be tough to stay on track with your nutrition throughout all of it. But, we promise you can still have fun without sacrificing your health and fitness goals or sabotaging good habits.
While there will be a lot of tempting food and beverages – you don’t have to choose the beaten path…this holiday can either be a few steps backwards or keep you moving closer to your goals.
First and foremost, make a commitment to yourself before the weekend begins and come up with a plan… review your goals, think about what is important…what have you been working hard towards in the gym or out of the gym? What events are worth it and which ones aren’t?
Give yourself a mental pep talk and really focus on the lifestyle you desire long-term. If you’re saying yes to the booze, overloaded plates, and sugary desserts… just know that those things typically come with the consequence of bloated bellies, poor sleep, and poor gym performance the next week.
So we want to help you find a happy medium - how can we enjoy these holidays without feeling like they always set us back a couple weeks towards our progress??
We’re going to share our best tips for heading to the parties AND some of our favorite macro-friendly recipes for you to share.
Tips For Party-Time
If you’re heading to a party, we know you may not have a ton of control over what food will be there, but we CAN control our actions before, during, and after. Here are our top tips for navigating summer cook-outs:
- Bring a healthy dish! See recipes later for some fun, festive ideas.
- Fill your plate with veggies and protein first, and when you’re eating, eat the carbohydrates last as it can help with managing blood sugar spikes!
- Choose lean protein instead of the heavy brats…stick with chicken, turkey, lean beef burgers.
- If you’re planning to have drinks, try to minimize carbs elsewhere as alcohol acts most like a sugar within the body. So skip the bun and do a lettuce wrap, or moderate the potato or pasta salad you grab.
- Finish with fruit to fill your sweet tooth vs. a cookie or another dessert.
- Try not to sit or stand around the snack table - keep yourself busy so you don’t mindlessly consume when not hungry.
- Stick to 1 plate and stop when full, not stuffed! If you’re really hungry, wait 20 minutes for food to settle before choosing to have an additional serving.
- If you really are unsure of what will be at the party, have a small meal before you go so you don’t show up starving and, in turn, struggling with self-control because the body needs food.
- Be mindful of your condiments –
- “Salads” (especially store bought) are made with mayo and lots of inflammatory seed oils, so skip the potato salad.
- BBQ sauces especially can be filled with sugar! Opt for ketchup and mustard, or a Sugar Free BBQ Sauce.
- Chips and Dips – Be careful here as calories add up quickly with dips. Skip the dairy based dips and opt for guacamole or salsa if it is available. Replace the chips with veggies such as carrots, radish or cucumber slices, or snap peas.
And at the end of the day, if you indulged a bit more than you hoped for, don’t beat yourself up. Learn from it, keep foods whole and unprocessed the next couple of days, get your normal exercise or steps in, and get some extra water in to help with bloating - but no need to go crazy! Swinging the pendulum from one end to the other is never helpful for the body.
Festive Summer Recipes
So if you’re hosting 4th of July, or wondering what you’ll eat at the party you’re headed to, don’t worry - we’ve got you covered!
We’ve pulled together some of our favorite festive summer recipes to help you celebrate, enjoy great food, AND stay within your nutritional goals you have for yourself. Macros included!
Strawberry Poppyseed Salad
Recipe Modified from StayFitMom
MACROS (Serves 5): 215 calories/15g Fats/15g Carbs/6g Protein
Ingredients (for salad):
- 8 oz. of spinach or mixed Greens
- 10 oz. strawberries
- 1/2c candied pecans or walnuts
- ½ small onion, sliced thinly
- 3 oz. goat cheese
Ingredients (for dressing):
- ¼ cup balsamic Vinegar
- 3 tbsp EVOO
- 1 ½ tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 ½ tbsp honey
- ½ tsp dijon
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp pepper
- Toss your salad ingredients in a medium size bowl.
- Mix all your dressing ingredients well and drizzle over the salad when ready to eat.
High Protein Pasta Salad
Recipe Modified from HealthyFitnessMeals
MACROS (Serves 6): 370 calories/15g Fats/32g Carbs/27g Protein
- 4 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 oz. dry penne or fusilli pasta - use whole grain or gluten free if possible
- 2-3 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 2-3 tbsp fresh chopped oregano
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 red onion thickly sliced
- ⅓ cup ground parmesan cheese
- 3 cups packed arugula, roughly chopped
- 4 tbsp EVOO
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, add all the dressing ingredients and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water, according to the package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the chicken. Slice the chicken breasts crosswise to create long (0.5-inch thick) strips.
- In a mixing bowl, combine 1 tablespoon olive oil with the thyme, oregano, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Add in the chicken pieces and stir to coat. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the chicken in a single layer, and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until cooked through and golden on the sides.
- Transfer the chicken along with any accumulated juices to the pasta bowl. Add the pepper and onion, cherry tomatoes, olives, parmesan, and arugula.
- Pour over the dressing and toss to combine. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if necessary, and serve warm or chilled.
BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders
MACROS (1 Slider + Bun): 350 calories/8.5g Fats/39g Carbs/29g Protein
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb lean boneless pork tenderloin
- 2 cups thinly sliced onion
- 1 cup thinly sliced apple
- 1 cup Stubbs Original BBQ Sauce (or Sugar Free G. Hughes)
- Pepperidge Farm Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
- Optional Toppings (Not included in macros): Additional apple slices, or shredded green/red cabbage
- Heat olive oil in a pan on medium high heat and sear the pork tenderloin until browned on each side (approximately 3 minutes per side).
- Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and cover and cook on high for 4.5-8 hours.
- When done cooking, shred pork with 2 forks and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve on a bun with additional toppings of choice!
Air Fryer Corn Dogs
MACROS (1 Corn Dog): 180 calories/10g Fats/13g Carbs/8g Protein
- Applegate Farms Grass Fed Beef Hot Dog
- Pillsbury Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls
- Wood Skewers
- Place the hot dog on the skewer.
- Take one section of the Pillsbury dough and wrap around the hot dog.
- Place skewers on the rack in the air fryer and cook for 8 minutes @ 390 F.
Strawberry Mango HYDRATE Cubes
MACROS: Depends upon size of cubes being used, but calories and carbohydrates will be minimal! Estimation: 10-20 calories and 3-5g of carbs per serving
- 1 cup of strawberries
2 scoops orange mango HYDRATE
- 16-18 oz. of water
- Blend strawberries or whatever fruit you choose in a food processor or blender.
- Then add hydrate and water to the blender or food processor until smooth.
- Pour into ice cube tray and place in freezer.
- Allow to sit for at least a few hours, ideally overnight, and then when ready to enjoy - remove and give a couple of minutes to slightly soften!
Chocolate Chip Coconut Protein Bites
MACROS (1 Ball): 150 calories, 6g Fats, 19g Carbs, 7.5g Protein
- 4 cups gluten free old fashioned oats
3 scoops vanilla CLEAN whey
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (128g)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 4 tablespoons honey (84g)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons sweetened coconut flakes (45g)
- 4 tablespoons mini enjoy life dairy free chocolate chips (60g)
- Blend 2.5 cups of the oats in a blender and then put in a medium size mixing bowl.
- Add in all remaining ingredients and stir well.
- The dough should resemble cookie dough. If it’s too sticky add additional oats or oat flour. (This won’t change your macros much because it will make additional bites)
- Roll into 40g balls and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Once firm you can layer them in an airtight container and they won’t stick together.
- Keep in your fridge for up to 6 days.