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.

Enter to Win a Summer Girlfriends Getaway!

Grab four of your best girlfriends for a full weekend of relaxation and fun! 


Remember as a kid how much you’d look forward to summer vacation? Forget the staycation days you’ve resorted to—it’s time to recapture that childhood magic (in an adult way!) and revisit the idea of a real summer vacay. How much fun would it be to grab four of your girlfriends for a four full days of relaxation, catching-up and adventure. Enter to win the Summer Girlfriends Getaway at the Lodge at Woodloch in the Poconos and you could win a real escape with your favorite gal pals–just like the good old days (but better…)!

This fabulous prize includes:

  • A four day, three night stay for the winner and three friends
  • Three gourmet meals a day
  • All beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
  • One spa treatment per person
  • Group wine tasting class
  • Chef’s cooking and baking demonstration
  • Outdoor excursions, such as hiking, biking and kayaking
  • Art and cooking classes
  • Resort amenities-hot tubs, pools with hydro massage waterfalls & more
  • $100 Spa & Wellness Gift Card by Spa Week

We know you need no more convincing to enter to win this amazing getaway–so go ahead, enter now! Plus–it never hurts to share with your friends for more chances to win!

Arielle Sidrane is the Associate Editor of Spa Week Daily.

The Catskills: NYC Weekend Getaway Guide

The Catskills are a short drive away from NYC, and with adventures like ziplining and canoeing, it’s the perfect weekend getaway. 

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If you live in NYC, you know that summer definitely beats winter in the city, but sweltering temps and intense humidity can induce some serious exhaustion. Although we have to bite the bullet Monday through Friday, sometimes a weekend retreat is just what the doctor ordered after a long (hot!) week.

One of New York’s best kept secrets and surprisingly close weekend getaways is the Catskills, located about two hours upstate. The Catskills have a rep for being a ski and snowboard hot spot, but the variety of adventurous summertime activities is actually quite impressive.

From adrenaline pumping zipline tours to breathtaking waterfall hikes, this action-packed destination has something fun for everyone. Check out our guide to the Catskills and tell us what activity you can’t wait to try:

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Ziplining at New York Zipline Canopy Tour
64 Klein Ave & 23a Hunter, NY 12442

If you’re looking for a heart-pumping adventure than New York Zipline Canopy Tour should be your first stop. There are several different zipline tours that accommodate all levels, but we recommend the Skyrider Tour that begins with the longest, tallest and fastest zipline in North America. You will be blown away by the views of the Catskills as you soar 600 feet above ground at up to 55 mph. Click here for more information or to book your tour.


Hike the Kaaterskill Falls
Accessible via NY 23A between Haines Falls and Hunter

This stunning two-drop waterfall is one of the oldest tourist attractions in America, with historical references beginning in the early 19th century. Since then it has become an increasingly visited destination thanks to its challenging trails that take you up the lush green mountains surrounding the falls. If you’d like a more relaxing way to take in the stunning scenery, bring some snacks and set up a picnic on one of the smooth rocks situated at the base of the falls.

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Kayak or Canoe at North-South Lake
County Route 18, Haines Falls, NY 12436

North-South Lake, located in the Catskill Forest Preserve, features 1,100 acres of pristine forest, a glistening lake and even a few sandy beaches. While the tranquil environment is reason enough to visit, a bevy of activities like hiking, swimming, boating, fishing and grilling promises hours of family-friendly entertainment. Renting kayaks, canoes and rowboats is extremely affordable, ($20-$25 per day) and there are several picnic tables, grills and benches situated on the lake when you need a break. Click here for more information.

Photo by Doug Kerr via https://www.flickr.com/photos/dougtone/6989055966

Photo by Doug Kerr via https://www.flickr.com/photos/dougtone/6989055966

Antique Shopping in Tannersville
6045 Main Street Tannersville, NY 12485

If shopping is your preferred method of breaking a sweat, get ready to explore the town of Tannersville, an adorable main street locale nicknamed ‘The Painted Village In The Sky’. This quaint town features restaurants and shops, all painted in bright and cheery colors, and the variety of antique stores can’t be missed. After you shop until you drop, head over to the Hunter Inn just a few miles down the road for a relaxing and rejuvenating stay. Click here to find out more.

Creative Commons License

Noelle Chehab is the Junior Editor of Spa Week Daily.



Friday Favorites: The Perfect Peach Jam & More

An easy peach jam recipe and the perfect floppy hat are some of the things we’re loving this week. Check out all of our Friday Favorites, below: 

Friday Favorites

Clockwise from Left: Laine Straw Hat in Tan available at necessaryclothing.com, S’well Water Bottle available at nordstrom.com, Lana Del Ray Quote Print available at etsy.com, Happiness Quote Print available at etsy.com, 4 DIY Hairstyles That Take Unwashed Hair To The Next Level via refinery29.com, Colorsmash Hair Shadow in So Jaded available at sephora.com, Peach Jam Recipe by Martha Stewart via marthastewart.com.

Noelle Chehab is the Junior Editor of Spa Week Daily.