Tiffani Bachus by Tiffani Bachus
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You can’t have a party without food. However, the typical backyard barbecue with chips and dip, burgers and hot dogs, and ice cream and cocktails can quickly blow the calorie budget. One fun-filled afternoon could easily have you consuming more than 1,000 calories in refined snacks, greasy meats, and lots and lots of sugar.

Instead of the same old menu, let’s build a feast full of flavor and color by choosing from the abundance of seasonal fruits and veggies available at this time of the year. We’re talking about corn, tomatoes, eggplant, berries, peaches, plums and all of the herbs you can get your hands on. And we’re swapping out the traditional hamburgers and hot dogs for omega-3-rich wild Alaskan salmon, whose season will soon be coming to an end. Get it while you can!

While most gatherings are pretty heavy on the cocktails, beware of the mixed concoctions that can pack a punch—of calories! Margaritas and piña coladas are full of juice, which sends their calorie counts sky high and ramps up your appetite. Our Pink Sangria will whet your whistle without all the sugar and calories. Click here for more great lightened up cocktails.

Enjoy our lightened up Labor Day menu and those warm summer nights!

Pink Sangria

Pink Sangria

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 apple, peeled and sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped mint
  • 1 (750 mL) bottle sparkling rose

Directions
Place raspberries, apple, orange and mint in the bottom of a pitcher. Stir in sparkling rose and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve.

Grilled Eggplant and Pepper Roll-Ups 

Grilled Eggplant and Pepper Roll-Ups

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 eggplant, sliced lengthwise into ½-inch planks
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 8 large basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup hummus

Directions
Heat grill to medium-high. Rub oil onto eggplant and place eggplant and pepper onto hot grill. Let pepper get black on all sides, remove and place in a paper bag; seal to let steam for 10 minutes. Cook eggplant two to three minutes per side and place on a plate. Remove pepper from bag and using a paper towel, rub off the charred skin. Use a sharp knife to slice down the middle of the pepper and remove the seeds. Cut the pepper into four long pieces. To assemble, place one piece of eggplant on a plate. Top with one piece of pepper, two basil leaves and one tablespoon hummus. Start at one end and carefully roll up the eggplant. Place on a serving dish. Repeat with remaining eggplant, pepper, basil and hummus.

Chipotle and Lime Grilled Corn 

Chipotle and Lime Grilled Corn

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 ears corn
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • ½ teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions
Heat grill to medium-high. Tear off four pieces of aluminum foil, large enough to wrap each piece of corn. Place one ear of corn onto each piece of foil. In a small bowl, combine oil, lime zest, juice, chili powder and salt. Mix well and rub onto each ear of corn. Wrap foil around corn and place on grill. Cook over medium-high heat for five minutes and then turn the corn and cook an additional five minutes.

Salmon and Peach Kebabs 

Salmon and Peach Kebabs

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 pound wild Alaskan salmon, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 peaches, cut into chunks about the same size as the salmon
  • 1 poblano pepper, sliced in half, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 skewers

Directions
Heat grill to medium-high. If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine oil, cilantro, zest and juice. Reserve half of mixture to drizzle on top of kebabs after they’re cooked. Place salmon, peaches and peppers into a large bowl and pour over remaining marinade. Stir to coat everything. Thread salmon, peaches and peppers onto skewers and place onto grill. Cook for four minutes, flip and cook an additional four minutes. Remove to a serving plate and drizzle with remaining marinade.

Deconstructed Plum and Nectarine Crisp 

Deconstructed Plum and Nectarine Crisp

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 nectarines
  • 3 plums, pluots, or plumcots (the last two are plum-apricot hybrids)
  • 1 cup vanilla frozen yogurt
  • ¼ cup low-sugar granola

Directions
Heat grill to medium heat. Slice all fruit in half and remove pits. Place fruit, cut-side down, onto grill and cook four to five minutes. Flip and cook an additional two minutes. Remove to serving platter and chop fruit into large chunks. To assemble, take a large spoonful of grilled fruit and place into a bowl. Top with one-quarter cup vanilla frozen yogurt and one tablespoon granola.

*You can use any stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries, apricots, etc.) combination that you like in this recipe.

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