Better Options to Stay Healthy this May Long Weekend!
The warm weather has finally arrived – birds are chirping, blossoms are blooming, grass is growing and we’ve got the flip flops out. This means the first long-weekend of summer is fast-approaching! Victoria Day weekend, affectionately known as May 2-4, is the first big weekend of the summer and usually means a BBQ, relaxing on the dock or a backyard pool party, all of which are a ton of fun!
However, along with all the festivities comes temptations – the gluten, dairy, sugar and bad fats that we try to avoid, but sometimes cannot resist, are out in full force. Don’t get caught in a situation where you eat a bunch of unhealthy food for days. Prepare properly this year! We can easily replace the usual suspects with healthy alternatives. But let’s be real, as much as we may want to get all Martha Stewart in the kitchen and make extravagant homemade crackers and elaborate twelve layer dips, who has time? This has got to be easy! I have searched for easy substitutions that can be found at the grocery store and/or your local health food store. And I have made sure to give you a few quick and simple, satisfying recipes.
Start with a Smart Snack
So, you get to the party and there are chip bowls, cheese platters and mini quiches everywhere. This could be tough. Well, isn’t it a good thing you came to the potluck armed with your own version of delectable snacks to share then. Nowadays, it’s easy to pick up healthy snacks on the fly. There a ton of tasty options available at your local health food store that wont compromise your taste buds, or the health of your gut. These snacks are a healthy substitution which are just as satisfying, but are free of all the trans-fats, salt and other junk commonly found in party fare. Remember when reading the ingredient list, less is more. And if you don’t know what the ingredient is, chances are it’s not worth eating. The snack aisle no longer needs to be a ‘no entry’ zone if you reach for the right things. These are some of my favorites to try:
- Baked root chips (I am chomping on some right now that only have 3 ingredients: root vegetables, sunflower oil and sea salt!)
- Hummus and veggies (This is a classic, but worth mentioning because I have a serious hummus addiction!)
- Seaweed crisps
- Coconut chips
- Kale chips
- Non-GMO corn chips with salsa
- Roasted chickpeas
FYI: If you are having trouble navigating the snack aisle, ask for help! Most health food stores have Nutritionists on staff who are there to answer any questions you may have.
Good Grub for the Grill
One of the best parts about the change in weather is having a BBQ! The ease of firing up the grill, cooking outside and socializing with friends over a fresh meal is the epitome of summer. It’s quick and no fuss. To make it that much better, let’s keep it healthy too. Replace fatty burgers with lean turkey or chicken. Or skip the meat altogether and grill up some Portobello burgers and fresh, local grown veggies. Toss up a fresh spinach salad with some oil and vinegar dressing on the side and you’re good to go!
Try making these beautiful Chicken and Zucchini Burgers to start off the season. They are bursting with flavour and oh-so-juicy! Feel free to nestle them between a bun or lettuce and add a side of fresh greens.
Click here for the Chicken and Zucchini Burgers
Make Your Bevvies Better
Let’s be honest, it’s not a long weekend without a refreshing drink in hand! Whether you like to enjoy a cold brew, a chilled glass of wine, or a sparkling ‘mocktail’, these beverages can quickly add up in the sweet stuff and make you feel kind of crummy! If you must have an alcoholic beverage, there are no perfectly healthy options in this category, but some aren’t as bad!
If the thought of sipping on suds in the sun makes you bloated just thinking about it, it’s time to reconsider your beverage of choice. Try one of these:
- Gluten-free beer
- Your favourite alcohol mixed with water or soda water and a garnish like cucumber or lime
- Antioxidant-rich red wine
- Your favourite alcohol mixed with no-added sugar/low-sugar juices, such as lemon, tomato, grapefruit, or blueberry
- Tequila mixed with kombucha (they both have beneficial probiotics!)
Try this thirst-quenching drink that is delicious enough to sip all day! If you are going to be in the sun, running around being active and potentially having one or two…or three beverages throughout the day, you need to keep hydrated! This drink contains, sparkling water to keep your water intake up, lemon to alkalize, fresh berries to give you a hit of antioxidants, mint to ease digestion and just a hint of juice to savour your sweet taste buds.
Click here for Alkalizing Berry Mint Sparkler recipe.
Alyth Kersley, CNP, BA.