July 4th BBQ Fare: How to Make Healthy Choices

Chances are you’ll be attending a barbecue of some sort this weekend—here’s what to eat so you don’t ruin your summer diet just yet.

Colorful Chicken Kebabs

Happy July 4th week! We’re just as excited as anyone to celebrate the U.S.A. this weekend–with only one thing holding us back. The calorie-laden BBQ fare is making us just a little nervous this early in the summer. We’ve got weeks of bikini-wearing to go! To get the scoop on which BBQ staples are okay to indulge in and which are the worst offenders, we chatted with nutrition and lifestyle author Elizabeth Somer, as seen on The Today Show and Dr. Oz. She gave some important insight on which foods to skip, and what you can try instead to replace them with! Somer says:

Skip the high-fat entrees, like hot dogs and sausages. Instead, Try obtaining your protein from omega-3-rich salmon, chicken breast, shrimp, or portabello mushrooms.

As far as sides go, Somer says to skip the chips. Instead, get your crunch from greens! Try a tossed salad made with dark greens (kale, spinach, etc.), rich in the eye-protective compounds, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Skip salty seasonings and condiments like teriyaki, soy and barbecue sauce. Liven up your meal with something a bit healthier! Try Puree fruit instead and add to a marinade. Adding a bit of a sweet ingredients (like watermelon or dark cherry juice) to grilling sauce adds flavor and helps balance other bold spices in the marinade.

Skip hamburgers, which have a higher fat content. Instead try ground chicken or turkey burgers using breast meat. Add diced onions and celery for flavor, then top with a slice of watermelon or pack the burger with dark greens, like spinach or romaine. You’ll still get that flavor you’re craving!

As we all know, alcohol is a sneaky culprit and the downfall of many a diet. We talked to Registered Dietitian and Lead Nutrition Expert at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating, Rene Ficek, who gave us some tips on which beverages you should reach for this BBQ season:

1. Light beer is best. On average, a light beer will contain 80-120 calories, which isn’t too bad. Some beers, like wheat based beers or IPA’s, can contain upwards of 400 calories, which can really break the calorie bank!

2. Drink dry wine- not sweet. Sweet wine typically has an additional 100-150 calories per glass.

3. Use club soda as a mixer. Club soda pairs well with vodka or gin. Plus, you will be helping to rehydrate yourself to prevent a hangover. Lemons and limes can help flavor this mixer without adding calories, plus it will add a nutritional boost of vitamin C!

4. Say no to adding juice, sports drinks, energy drinks or soda to any alcoholic beverage. They simply add calories and do not offer any nutritional benefit.

What’s your best tip for staying healthy at a BBQ? Share it in the comments below!

Arielle Sidrane is the Associate Editor of Spa Week Daily.

Summer Treat We Love: GoodPops

This fresh take on frozen treats is so 2014.


What do we crave when it gets unbearably hot outside? Something cold to cool down with! Ice pops have been a summertime staple since lazy childhood days. Unfortunately, we typically associate ice pops with lots of added sugar. Not quite what we’re looking for anymore, in days when green juice can be a lunch and veganism is the norm!

That’s where GoodPops come in. Made from fresh, organic, local ingredients in Austin, TX, these fab frozen finds used to only be available on the West Coast. This summer, though, NYCers are getting lucky—GoodPops can now be bought on Fresh Direct!


At only 48-102 calories a piece, you’d be crazy not to stock your freezer with delicious flavors like Watermelon Agave, Banana Cinnamon Strawberry Lemonade, Hibiscus Mint, Coldbrew Coffee and Chocolate Milk. We promise, you’ll be reaching for these every time. They’re just the refreshing treat you’ve been searching for!

Arielle Sidrane is the Associate Editor of Spa Week Daily. 


Recipe of the Week: Shrimp Louie with Sriracha Aioli from The Lemonade Cookbook

Shrimp Louie with Sriracha Aioli is a spicy, creamy and crunchy recipe that you will love noshing on all summer long!

Shrimp Louie Main

If there’s one thing The Lemonade Cookbook does right, its Southern California comfort food – as evidenced by the tangy, creamy and incredibly satisfying Shrimp Louie recipe that we whipped up this week.

While this summer recipe may not be quite as healthy as you’re usually used to seeing, ingredients like avocado and shrimp boast some impressive health benefits, and make you feel full longer. Lemonade Cookbook authors Alan Jackson and Joann Cianciuli recommend topping a toasted bun with the semi-spicy shrimp mixture for a spin on the New England lobster roll.

This recipe can be time-consuming if prepared all at once, but if you pickle the cucumbers in advance, you can throw it together in less than 30 minutes. Another bonus is that you can refrigerator the leftover shrimp mixture to use for tomorrow’s lunch!

Find out how to make Shrimp Louie with Sriracha Aioli and let us know if you love this recipe in the comments below!

Ingredients for Pickled Cucumbers

  • 1 hothouse cucumber, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, and seeds scooped out with a spoon
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Ingredients for Sriracha Aioli

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

Ingredients for Shrimp Boat

  • 1/2 pound cooked small shrimp, such as Rock or Bay
  • 4 firm-ripe Hass avocados, halved
  • 1 small seedless grapefruit, segmented (note: we skipped this and topped with thinly sliced avocado instead)


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Dice the cucumber into small pieces or shred with the large holes of a box grater. Mix the cucumber pieces in a strainer with the salt, and let stand in the sink or over a bowl for about 30 minutes, shaking and turning them a few times to drain their water. In the meantime, prepare the pickling liquid by combining the vinegar, water, and sugar in a small pot over medium heat. Bring the liquid to a boil, stirring to be sure the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside in the refrigerator to chill.

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After the cucumbers drain, squeeze the pieces in a dish towel to get out most of the liquid, and transfer them to a large bowl. Pour the chilled pickling liquid over the cucumbers, mixing well so all the pieces are coated. Set aside in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Drain the cucumbers from the liquid before adding to the salad.

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To prepare the sriracha aioli, combine the mayonnaise, Sriracha, sesame oil, lime and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Blend well with a small whisk to fully incorporate the ingredients into the mayo.

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Add the shrimp and drained cucumbers to the Sriracha aioli; mix really well to coat in the mayo.

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To serve, mound the shrimp salad inside the avocado halves. Shingle a couple grapefruit segments on top to garnish.

 If you liked this recipe you will love The Lemonade Cookbook by Alan Jackson and Joann Cianciulli, available at amazon.com

Noelle Chehab is the Junior Editor of Spa Week Daily. 

Recipe of the Week: Lime-Cilantro Slaw from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites

This week we tried a zesty, refreshing and low-cal recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites!

Lime Cilantro Slaw

Summer is the season of backyard barbeques and picnics at the park, which can quickly derail your diet. But kicking back and relaxing while indulging in refreshing snacks shouldn’t have to spell disaster for your bikini body!

That’s why this week we tried out a new recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites – written by the people behind America’s best-loved restaurants. This zesty Lime-Cilantro Slaw is super satisfying thanks to the crunchy cabbage and fresh herbs infused in every bite. The best part of all is that this summer side takes less than 15 minutes to whip up, making it the perfect dish to bring along to any outdoor occasion.

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4 cups thinly sliced cabbage (green, red or both)

1/2 cup chopped scallions

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

For the Dressing:

1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil

Finely grated zest of 1 lime

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt


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In a bowl, combine the cabbage, scallions and cilantro.

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In a separate small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients.

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Add the dressing to the cabbage and stir well. Add more sugar and/or salt to taste.

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Serve right away or refrigerate. Can be served chilled or at room temperature.

Noelle Chehab is the Junior Editor of Spa Week Daily.