Today on the blog we are thrilled to bring you a fun, lighthearted series in preparation for summer! It’s starting to warm up, the days are longer, the kids are taking swim lessons and we’re gearing up for … summer barbecue season! We don’t know about you all, but our team loves nothing more than relaxing with family and friends during these slower New Orleans days. We are thrilled to partner with Langenstein’s and Touro Infirmary as sponsors to bring you “Girl Vs. Grill,” a collection of online summer recipes that will culminate with two in person events in May. We hope you will take inspiration from these recipes, register for the dietitian led shopping tours on May 14 and join us for an interactive learning (and shopping) experience. As always, there will be swag … this time it will just be centered around creating the perfect summer grilling party!
Simple tips to follow from Touro Nutritionist Julie Fortenberry
With the arrival of spring and summer means days at the pool, family picnics, and many outdoor activities. Summer is a time of year when family memories are made, and it is a season that we look forward to no matter what age we are. For many, however, it can be a time of year for added anxiety over certain social events and the food choices that accompany. Add in the fact that we are out of our normal routine and possibly traveling on summer vacation. This may all be a lethal combination for three months of weight gain! Here are a few tips to lean down your summer.
Warmer weather usually means we welcome back the backyard grill. This can actually be a healthy change from the same old kitchen recipes. Fill your grill with lean cut meats such as fish, chicken, filets and pork loin. Veggie kabobs are an easy and delicious way to sneak in some vegetables. Try adding mushrooms, squash, onions, and cherry tomatoes to a skewer and grilling a few minutes. Busy mom tip: grill extra meat and vegetables for quick dinners during the week.
When we think of “sugar” we often think of the dessert table that is lingering after the actual meal is complete. However, sugar is everywhere when we start looking for it. Let’s take a closer look at BBQ sauce, for example. Two tablespoons is often equal to consuming 3-4 packs of sugar! No one has room for that on their table! Besides the obvious of unwanted weight gain, sugar has many negative effects on our body. Sugar is addictive, it causes additional cravings, can cause elevated cholesterol levels, as well as insulin resistance. Instead of grilling with standard BBQ sauce, try using lemon juice and fresh herbs like rosemary and basil for added flavor.
Side items at summer gatherings can really do your waistline in (or should I say out?). Limit the potato salads, baked macaronis, chips and beans swimming in BBQ sauce. Be sure to take advantage of fresh fruits as summer is the season for some of the sweetest choices. And believe it or not, people actually really are fans of vegetable trays this time of year because they are usually looking for something cold to eat.
There is nothing worse than feeling bloated especially this time of year when you are preparing to be beach and poolside. When looking to beat the bloat, limit the oblivious offenders like beans and fried foods. It is also wise to be aware of what foods cause bloating for you individually. For many it is excess carbohydrates, dairy and gluten. If you notice a food is causing you to feel bloated, simply eliminate that particular food.
In a fun city like New Orleans alcohol, is usually a staple in our social events and meals especially during the summer time. Alcohol contains only empty calories and has no nutritional value. It also affects your weight in a very negative way.
Alcoholic beverages can have a place in our lifestyle. The goal is to be mindful of what you are drinking and the amount consumed. Steer clear of calorie laden beverages such as daiquiris and cream based drinks such as a mudslide.
So which drinks should you choose? The answer may lie in your personal preference! Calorie for calorie a light beer, a shot of alcohol and 4 oz wine are about the same. I always recommend that someone choose the drink that they would consume less of. For example would you drink 6 beers or 2 glasses of wine? If you do choose a mixed drink, be aware of the mixers. This is where the extra calories can add up quickly. Tonics, sodas and juices pack in the sugar content. In place use a sparkling water such as LeCroix.
In addition to these tips, be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and get regular exercise. The much welcome warmer weather and additional hours of daylight in the evening are a great excuse to work in some evening outdoor exercise for the whole family!
We hope you will come meet Julie in person on May 15 at Langenstein’s to receive personal tips for grocery shopping and cooking at home all summer long! You’ll also walk away with a fun gift bag stuffed with summer barbecue items!
Julie Fortenberry, RD, LDN/LD
Wellness & Lifestyle Nutritionist, Touro Infirmary
Julie is a registered dietitian, licensed in the state of Louisiana & Mississippi. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Southern Mississippi. She completed her dietetic internship at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans. Julie brings real-life understanding to wellness and nutritional counseling, and believes that lifestyle changes and wholesome nutrition are obtainable. As a registered dietitian, Julie has counseled hundreds of clients of all ages and status assisting them in meeting their individual health goals. After all, she’s a working mom who has to balance her professional pursuits with a busy home life.