The "Three C’s" for a Crowd-Pleasing Summer Cookout

With summer break coming up, it’s about that time again: cookout season! Whether it’s a neighborhood get-together, family reunion, or graduation party, being the host can seem overwhelming. Here are a few tips to make your cookout a hit.

1.  Change it up

Hotdogs and hamburgers are always a crowd favorite. However, don’t be afraid to change it up! Families attend multiple cookouts throughout summer time so you don’t want your event to be just another cookout. Try spicing up your toppings table. Add avocado, salsa, bacon, a variety of cheeses, pineapples, or anything else you think your guest might enjoy alongside the classic cookout toppings. Your guests will be happy to create their own hotdog or burger and you won’t have to worry about customizing each individual meal.

2.  Consider the Aesthetic

 Picture from renovatedecorateorganize.com

Picture from renovatedecorateorganize.com

There’s more to a cookout than just serving delicious food. The best part of cookouts are the summer vibes and being surrounded by your friends and family. Have some family-friendly music playing in the background, set up outdoor games, such as corn-hole, to entertain the kids and adults, or hang up some string lights for when it gets dark. You can never go wrong with a bonfire for s’mores! Your guests will feel more relaxed in this atmosphere.

3.  Collaborate

It’s a lot of pressure trying to be the chef for an entire get together. Don’t be afraid to ask your guests for help. Friends and family love feeling like they had a part in the occasion. If it helps, assign different people different items, but keep it broad. Maybe a few families can do desserts while others take over the sides. This way there’s not too much of anything and each family can add their personal touch.

Try these recipes if you want some healthier food options at your cookout:

Hawaiian Turkey Sliders (from eatingwell.com)

Ingredients: 

 Picture from eatingwell.com

Picture from eatingwell.com

·         1 pound 93%-lean ground turkey

·         2 tablespoons reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce      

·         2 scallions, sliced

·         1 large garlic, minced

·         ¼-inch-thick fresh pineapple rings

·         1 small red onion, sliced

·         Toasted whole-wheat slider buns

·         2 tablespoons mayonnaise

·         6 small leaves Boston lettuce

Directions:

1.       Preheat grill medium-high

2.       Combine turkey, teriyaki sauce, scallions and garlic in a medium bowl; gently knead together. Do not overmix. Form into 6 burgers, about three inches wide.

3.       Oil the grill rack. Grill the burgers 2-3 minutes per side. Grill pineapple rings until lightly charred. Grill onions until lightly charred and starting to soften.

4.       Assemble the burgers on toasted buns with 1 teaspoon mayonnaise, 1 lettuce leaf, 1 pineapple ring and about 3 onion rings each.

Summer Vegetable Kabobs (sunriseseniorliving.com)

Ingredients:

 Picture from sunriseseniorliving.com  

Picture from sunriseseniorliving.com  

·         ¼ cup dry white wine

·         ¼ cup honey

·         2 cloves minced garlic

·         2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

·         2 tablespoons olive oil

·         1 ½ teaspoons pepper

·         1 teaspoon salt

·         1 cup cherry tomatoes

·         1 red bell pepper, cut into pieces

·         1 zucchini, sliced

·         Metal or bamboo skewer

Directions:

1.       Mix together wine, honey, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the vegetables and toss to coat. Cover the container and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.

2.       Heat the grill to medium high, then prepare the skewers. Thread each vegetable on separate sticks.

3.       Place the skewers on the grill and close the top. Grill for around 5 to 10 minutes, but keep a close eye on the tomatoes, they may be done within 3 minutes. Turn each stick occasionally.

4.       Let the vegetables cool and mix them up on the skewers.

 

 

Why Lunch Really is the Most Important Meal of the Day

In modern society, we often hear the saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But in dozens of countries around the world, lunch holds a place of cultural importance. In many studies, researchers have found that lunch may be even more important for school-aged children than any other demographic. Most schools don’t provide breakfast; therefore, lunch is the only meal that students have to give them energy throughout the day.

The Benefits

Eating lunch raises your blood sugar level in the middle of the day, which gives you the energy you need for the rest of the day. It also enables you to focus and concentrate for the rest of the afternoon. According to Live Strong, if you’re feeling sluggish, eating even a small lunch can renew your energy and help you feel refreshed and ready to take on the next several hours. For kids, lunch is crucial because this is when they get their nutrients and vitamins for the day. A balanced lunch can improve three channels: physical development, cognition, and behavior. Without these, it is nearly impossible for a student to develop mentally or physically. Many well-designed studies, such as one from the University of California, Berkeley, have shown that “students at schools that contract with a healthy school lunch vendor score higher” on statewide achievement tests.

lunch time.jpg

Lunch Breaks

Everything throughout a school day is fast paced, and students rarely have a chance to relax. A lunch break is essential for a successful day. According to a psychologist at UC, Davis, “Staying inside, in the same location, is really detrimental to creative thinking.” Innovation happens when people change their environment. Therefore, moving locations, even if it’s just to another room in the same building, is crucial to keep your mind active throughout the day.

In addition to taking a lunch break, eating a full meal on your break will lead you to having a smaller dinner. Eating late at night can lead to digestive and weight problems. In contrast, eating a full meal earlier in the day can help you maintain a healthier weight. If you are unable to get a full meal in, then try to eat something that is high in protein, such as yogurt or nuts. Also, it is important that when you do eat your lunch, you try to eat at a slow pace. According to a Harvard Mental Health article, this will prevent you from experiencing bloating, acid reflux, and indigestion. When you eat slower, you feel full faster, and you’ll eat less.

Besides the feeling you get when you eat a tasty meal, eating lunch has so many benefits that will help you out on a daily basis, and impact your mind/body for a healthier future.