A vegan Memorial Day BBQ may seem like somewhat of an oxymoron, but it’s time to break away from tradition and get healthy and creative!
Memorial Day generally involves barbecue grills loaded with racks of ribs and burgers,tables full of macaroni salad and chips, as well as coolers full of beer, wine, and sugary cocktail mixers.
Have you ever experienced something like this? As you are being invited to a BBQ, the invitation ends with an uncomfortable, “Oh yeah, but you don’t eat meat.”
Here’s the Deal
A Memorial Day barbecue does not have to be synonymous with a meat-eating extravaganza. I look at barbecues as an opportunity to spend time with friends, meet new people, play volleyball (there is often a beach v-ball court around here in South Beach), have a few drinks, a lot of laughs, and share my vegan lifestyle simply by being present and being me!
The Bottom Line
You can have a vegan Memorial Day celebration that is healthy, delicious, and fun if you keep these five simple tips in mind.
As cliche as it may be, bring a veggie and hummus platter to the party. Celery, cucumber, carrots, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and cauliflower with a couple different types of hummus is the perfect way to fill up on satisfying, guilt-free food, leaving less room for the unhealthy stuff. People actually end up appreciating having a healthy option in the midst of all the junk food.
2. Replace the meat and dairy with vegan alternatives.
There are so many incredibly tasty vegan products on the market today to choose from. There’s simply no need to put disease-causing animal products in our bodies or support the cruelty of the meat industry. I recently wrote a whole blog post highlighting my top picks for store bought veggie burgers. I also have a post on the best vegan cheese brands on the market to date, so check those out for suggestions.
Of course if you enjoy preparing food, then please, have fun making your home-made vegan patties, potato salad, coleslaw, and whatever else you are craving. There are tons of awesome vegan recipes out there to try!
3. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks.
Sugar is enemy number one when it comes to a healthy immune systems and attempts to prevent weight gain. By remembering to drink lots of water, you will help yourself stay hydrated and avoid other unhealthy liquids. Soda, sweet tea, and juice will only make your calorie intake and blood sugar levels skyrocket. Not good! If you drink alcohol, keep your intake moderate and avoid sugary mixers, including juices. If you really want a mixed drink, try using soda water and fresh lemon with your liquor for a low calorie, sugar-free alternative.
4. Get in an intense morning workout.
Burn off those extra calories in advance with an awesome workout in the morning before the festivities begin. Working out not only helps keep you on track for your fitness goals, but also boosts your mood and energize you for the rest of the day. Even if your gym is closed for the day, you can train in your own home or outside with effective body weight exercises you can do anywhere.
5. Say no to preservatives and artificial ingredients.
Synthetic additives and preservatives sneak into so many of the foods on grocery shelves, and they can wreak havoc on our bodies. The key here is reading nutrition labels—but that can be tricky (learn how to tackle tricky labels in the “How To Go Vegan Beginner’s Guide”).
Labels are your friend. Always read them to find out what you’re really eating.
Now relax & have a blast!!!
And if anyone has links to recipes you have tried and love, feel free to post a comment to share!
*Header art by Mitchell Lazear
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