Monday, December 18, 2017

Serve up Some Healthy Fun

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by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner

From barbequing to having fun, here’s how to do it healthier …

As we learned in “Seasonal Health Advantages” (, summer lends itself to healthy activities and food. Maximize these natural perks with healthy hacks.

A Healthier Sizzle

You know it’s summer when the smell of grilled food infuses the neighborhood. Hungry or not, you instantly crave your cookout favorites. Follow these rules for healthier grilling.

Go Lean

Simply delicious.

Replace staples like hotdogs, sausages, and beef burgers with leaner protein choices. Think chicken, fish, and turkey. You still can make them fun (kabobs, anyone?), and simultaneously eliminate the hassle of digging out condiments and buying buns in bulk.

Get Fruity

Marinades can reduce the formation of toxic compounds developed while grilling meat by up to 99 percent. However, this is not permission to slather steaks in heaps of Sugary Wilbur’s BBQ sauce.

Use grilled, diced fruit and veggies as a chutney to replace high-sodium marinades. Try a salsa of apples, pears, pineapples, peppers, and onions. Add some nutrition along with bold flavors.

Marinate meat for about two hours; produce and seafood need less time. Consider making a meal of grilled vegetables to eliminate the carcinogenic compounds released when grilling meat.


Cook meat in the oven or on the stove. Then, add it to grilled vegetables to create that sought-after smoked flavor. Or, cook meat elsewhere and simply heat on the grill to minimize time at high heat over open flames. That’s where grilling gets unhealthy. This pre-cooked approach saves time, too. Spend more of your cookout enjoying guests rather than sweating over a fiery grill. (Save sweating for the Fitness Floor. It’s more productive there!)

Keep It Active

Get the party moving!

Think beyond the seating. Keep guests active with strategic placement of fun. Provide plenty of opportunities for your picnickers to warm up to each other. After all, the day is about socializing. Otherwise, we’d all sit home and boil hotdogs on the stove.

Leave out hula hoops, balls, jump ropes, and Frisbees. Purchase a few fitness tools for summer gatherings and vacations. Ask a personal trainer for game ideas focused on fitness and friendly competition. Challenge your buddies to badminton instead of burger eating.

Consider sharing moves from your favorite Group Fitness class. Replace talk of aches and pains (from yardwork or overzealous pick-up games) with active remedies like chair yoga or a Pilates stretch. Help them leave in better shape than when they arrived.

Keep the music playing. Get guests moving and grooving. Go for a walk or visit a nearby park. With plenty of options, there will be active fun for all. And when it’s s’mores time, you can feel less guilty indulging in these charbroiled marshmallow-and-chocolate traditions. Set up a few backyard relay races and you may be able to enjoy a sangria, too. (Nope, it’s not a serving of fruit.)


“A Healthier Way to Grill,” at

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Grilled chicken & veggies:

Golf balls & rope:

Exercise ball:

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