The best of summer combines warm weather with eating outdoors.
“Cooking and eating food outdoors makes it taste infinitely better than the same meal prepared and consumed indoors.” ― Fennel Hudson
Since it’s now officially summer and also time to celebrate July 1st in Canada and soon July 4th in the United States, it’s time to create a delicious, sugar-free barbecue menu.
No time of year energizes meal times more than summer. The promise of warm evenings spent sitting outdoors at a nicely dressed table, sharing a meal grilled just for you, makes the idea of barbecuing outdoors even more enticing. Fresh air, good food and the novelty of eating al fresco combine to make meals memorable experiences.
I’ve curated a menu from existing and new recipes just in time for the celebrations.
What’s on the Menu?
What foods will you enjoy as you gear up for the long weekends to come? Barbecuing naturally fits with summer eating. A menu featuring fresh, delicious food is usually the centerpiece, drawing your guests around the grill long before dinner is served.
Creating a menu can be as easy as visiting your own garden or a local market where the abundance of a summer growing season can be found. The decision as to what to serve is up to Nature, in my opinion.
What Mother Nature provides will be on offer, at its nutritional peak and often inexpensive since crops explode into fullness all at once.
Base your menu on the selection you find keeping in mind that a balanced meal needs complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fat. These should be easy to find as most grocery stores market towards the grilling season.
Remember to keep the 30/30/40 Rule in play as you pull together recipes.
No added sugar!
Summer time eating often leans on the sweet side with the usual fare of sticky sauces, alcoholic beverages and gooey desserts.
Your menu doesn’t need to feature foods loaded with added sugar but it’s not always easy to avoid this ingredient as so many foods today contain it. You may not be surprised to find sugar in obvious sweet foods like cookies and pies but it is surprising to find sugar in ketchup or salt.
Strive to keep your daily intake of sugar to no more than 6 grams – the same as 6 teaspoons of white, refined sugar, per day. But even as I type this, I cringe because this particular white grainy substance is not a food or an ingredient but a nasty refined drug-like substance that destroys health.
I would prefer 0 grams/day of refined sugar intake. That’s why I’ve created the Strike Sugar program. The goal of the program is to help you rid your body of sugar through a tight four week program structured around eating NO refined sugar or carbohydrates of any kind.
Throughout the four weeks you reset the organs that handle your blood sugar – the pancreas, adrenals, liver and spleen. Giving them a much needed rest and detox helps you re-establish a healthy balance inside, while also helping you wipe out cravings for sweetness.
What happens to your body as you undergo this process is nothing short of miraculous.
Regain the energy of your youth
Wipe out sugar cravings
Sustain a steady, pleasant mood
Enjoy sex again
Have clearer skin, glowing hair and strong fingernails
Strike Sugar is a powerful program. Hundreds of thousands of people have discovered the truth of this. They’ve reclaimed their lives! Welcome back!
Let’s get on with the eating!
While hamburgers, hot dogs, kabobs, chicken and steak are the top grilling items, here are a few checklists to guide you through building your own sugar free, delicious menu.
You’ll find original recipes created with the Eat Clean principles in mind.
Checklists for your best ever bbq:
Burgers and hot dogs
Special toppings for meats
Grilled anything tastes better with BBQ sauce! That’s just a rule of grilling. But many barbecue sauces are sugar loaded time bombs.
The problem is worsened when you consider that sugar has over 100 different names, from high-fructose corn syrup to molasses, fructose, maltose and glucose to dextrose and molasses.
Brands like Sweet Baby Ray’s aren’t lying when they say they are sweet! Get this! Just two tablespoons, which is the standard serving size for BBQ sauce, of this brand contain 16 grams of refined sugar!! Most barbecue sauces contain huge amounts of sugar per tablespoon, from 4 – 6 grams being the standard.
Imagine if you lay your BBQ sauce on thick. It would be easy to consume as many as 32 – 48 grams of sugar in one serving in one day in your sauce alone! And you haven’t had any bread, cocktails or dessert yet!
Use my All Purpose Eat Clean barbecue sauce for your grilling adventures this summer. Make the recipe in advance and note the distinct lack of sugar. Honey is used to just barely hit the sauce with a sweet note but it’s enough.
Note: The ECD Recharged has many grilling recipes including BBQ sauce
- 15 oz. can tomato sauce (no sugar added)
- 6 oz. can tomato paste (no sugar added)
- 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce OR coconut aminos
- 1/2 cup avocado or rice bran oil (needs high smoke point)
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp onion powder
- 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 Tbsp raw honey
- 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- Combine all ingredients together in a Mason jar.
- Place lid on jar and shake well.
- Use on meat as you would any other BBQ sauce.
- Refrigerate leftovers.
Special toppings – ketchup, salsas, spreads
Ketchup is the mother of all toppings when it comes to burgers, dogs and meat. However like most toppings this one contains high amounts of sugar. Most commercially prepared ketchups contain 4 grams of sugar in every tablespoon.
Remember the WHO suggesting 6 grams of sugar daily? Ketchup will get you there faster than you’d like.
Commercially prepared salsa follows close behind with 1 tablespoon of sugar per tablespoon of salsa. No one eats just 1 tablespoon of this stuff! It is more likely you will eat multiple servings of salsa with that bag full of corn chips.
Mustard is usually considered a free food meaning there are not many calories in it (if you count calories and I don’t). But when it comes to Honey Mustard this condiment contains 1 gram of sugar per teaspoon. Most people use more like 3-4 teaspoons.
Consider making my delicious (I make this on repeat) Mango Salsa. Sweetened only by the juice of the mango and red pepper, every mouthful of this colourful salsa delights. I chop it all by hand while sipping a crisp rose wine (I will address wine later).
- 2 - 3 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced small
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped in the same way as mango
- 1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped fine
- 1 fist sized red onion, peeled and chopped into the same size as mango and pepper
- 1 jalapeno (optional ingredient but if you like it hot, use this) seeded and minced fine
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 fresh limes, juiced
- 1 tsp Pink salt
- 1 tsp Black pepper
- As you chop place ingredients into a decorative serving bowl.
- Drizzle with lime juice and dust with salt and pepper.
- Stir ingredients to combine.
- Let stand for several minutes to allow flavours to combine.
- Serve on all meats or use as a topping on green salads.
- Refrigerate leftovers.
Burgers, hot dogs and meats
No summer grilling menu is complete without some version of a hamburger, hot dog or some other variation of meat. For sheer suitability in any menu the hamburger wins out every time. It can be a gourmet version loaded with exotic ingredients like those you’ll find in Jamie Oliver’s Insanity Burger – ground chuck steak, bacon, Leicester cheese and more. Oy!
However a burger can be divinely simple as a good Classic Burger recipe proves. Or it can be mindful of living creatures featuring only plants and literally knocking your socks off.
I will deliver both and leave all else for now …
This is from my Eat-Clean Diet Recharged book. It is AMAZING!
- 1 cup black beans, rinsed, drained and mashed
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 2 Tbs leeks whites only, chopped
- 2 Tbs pumpkin (canned) or sweet potato mashed
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp EVOO
- 4 Toasted Ezekiel buns (optional, not included in cal. count)
- Mix all ingredients except EVOO and buns in a large bowl. Coat clean hands with olive oil to mix.
- Divide mixture into equal fourths, shape into patties.
- Heat grill pan over medium flame and coat lightly with oil.
- Add patties and cook 5 minutes per side or until patties are "golden" and crispy.
- Serve on toasted burger buns.
- Dress with favorite accoutrements!
- Rolled oats, small flake 1/2 Cup
- Oat milk or water 1/3 Cup
- Garlic 2 cloves, minced
- Onion 3 Tbsp
- 1 whole egg or 1 flax egg x 2
- Lean ground beef - 1 Pound
- Worcestershire sauce - 2 Tbsp
- Whole wheat buns x 4 also you can try sourdough or Ezekiel
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well with clean bare hands. Shape into patties and grill for 7-10 minutes on each side or until the burgers reach desired doneness.
- Serve with grilled tomatoes and onions along with fresh lettuce leaves, homemade ketchup, relish and dijon mustard.
Round out your summertime grill session with beautiful sides featuring the stars of summer – vegetables!
I’m looking out of my window at my garden which is now coming into its full glory, imagining what I will create with the massive bunches of herbs, zucchini, onions and greens I see.
Lean heavily on fresh produce. There is no eating like the eating that happens with gorgeous fresh produce.
- 1 cup dry whole wheat couscous
- 3/4 cup vegetable stock
- 3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 Tbsp. best quality olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. lime juice (the juice of 1 lime)
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
- 1 cup cucumber, chopped and seeded
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
- 1/2 cup feta cheese (optional, I made mine without)
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Bring stock and orange juice to a boil. Add couscous and stir. The turn off heat and cover pot tightly. Don't peek. Let stand.
- Make dressing by combining olive oil and lime juice. Whisk and set aside.
- Back to the couscous. Remove lid and fluff grains with a fork. Add chopped vegetables and drizzle with dressing. Add oregano and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Best served cold. Enjoy!