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Fire up the Flavor, Nourish Your Body: BBQ Tips keeping nutrition for women in mind

Updated: Mar 12

Root Healing and Nutrition | Toronto | BBQing and Nutrition for women

As the last of the warm summer breeze sweeps through Toronto, the tantalizing aroma of barbecues firing up fills the air. As a holistic nutritionist based in the vibrant city, I’m here to help you create mouthwatering grilled dishes without compromising on taste, or health. There are five things to keep in mind that will help you elevate your BBQ game while keeping your holistic nutrition goals intact.


"Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors - it's how you combine them that sets you apart".

- Wolfgang Puck


1) Choose Lean Protein Sources:

Kickstart your BBQ journey by opting for lean protein sources. Lean proteins are lower in fat and calories while still providing the essential nutrients your body needs. Try skinless poultry like chicken breast or turkey cutlets, or lean cuts of meat such as flank steak. If available, consider grass fed meat options for your grilling experience. Lean proteins help support muscle growth and repair, can aid weight management by keeping you feeling fuller longer, meaning we intake fewer calories and can help keep women's hormones in balance. Some good pescatarian protein options are salmon, trout, tuna or shrimp. You can also choose to fire up some plant- based proteins like tofu, seitan and tempeh. These options not only offer essential nutrients but also reduce the intake of saturated fats. Lean and plant based proteins help synthesize and regulate hormones by providing an array of nutrients the body needs to keep them in balance.


"Grilling gives you an ability to cook something without adding a lot of fat, but still keeping the flavor". - Bobby Flay


Keep in mind: If you're buying pre-marinated proteins, be sure to check the nutrition labels. Avoid products with high sodium or sugar content, as these can counteract the benefits of choosing lean proteins.


2) Marinate for Flavor and Tenderness:

Marinating isn't just about infusing flavor; it can also make your meats tender and juicy. As Jamie Oliver wisely puts it, "Marinating can turn tough cuts of meat into tender masterpieces". Create your own marinades using heart-healthy oils like avocado, olive, coconut, sesame or grapeseed oils. Experiment with herb and citrus-based marinades. Mix fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, or mint with citrus juices, garlic, apple cider vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil and marinate your protein before grilling for a refreshing and aromatic twist. By using fresh garlic and apple cider vinegar it can help digest food, which means your body can absorb more nutrients and keep your gut healthy. Using fresh herbs allows you to not only choose the flavor but they also give your dish more depth without adding more calories. By harnessing the natural goodness of fresh herbs, you can boost the nutritional value of your meals as well. Herbs are a great source of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants, which can help keep women's skin glowing and prevent premature aging.


Keep in mind: The length of time you marinate depends on the type of foods chosen anywhere from 30mins to 24 hours. The longer the food marinates the more the flavors infuse and the more tender the food. This time frame is the same for plant-based protein options.


Root Healing and Nutrition | Toronto | BBQing and Nutrition for women - Grilling Vegetables

3) Embrace Vibrant Vegetables:

No BBQ is complete without a medley of colorful vegetables. You can choose from a variety of veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, asparagus, and Portobello mushrooms. Their natural sugars caramelize enhancing the taste of the vegetables. Grilling vegetables locks in their nutrients ensuring that you get the nutritional benefits of these foods on your plate. Unlike other cooking methods which can cause vegetables to lose their nutritional value. The nutrients found in vegetables can help support women's energy production, strengthen your immune system, regulate hormones, balance blood sugar, reduce inflammation and keep you hydrated. Staying hydrated is important as it helps regulate circulation, digestion and body temperature.


"Emphasize the importance of veggies: "Grilling vegetables is a great way to enhance their natural flavors". - Gordon Ramsey


Keep in mind: Brush or coat your vegetables with oil and seasonings for an additional flavor burst.


4) Mindful Grilling Techniques:

To achieve that perfect BBQ meal without charring your food, use mindful grilling techniques. Some mindful grilling techniques includes the use of indirect heat for larger cuts of meat to prevent overcooking or charring and using direct heat to create a sear. You want to make sure the grill is clean to avoid any unwanted flavors from your previous grilling session. When grilling your vegetables keep the lid open and the lid closed for grilling meat. Knowing when to have the lid open of closed helps to ensure even cooking and preserve the flavors you have chosen to infuse. A BBQ also gives you the opportunity spend time with family and friends outdoors. This relaxed social atmosphere helps reduce stress and increase mental wellbeing. As a holistic nutritionist I recognize the impact of stress on women's overall wellbeing, hosting a BBQ gives you time to relax, connect with family and friends and nourish the mind, body and soul. The food combinations of colorful vegetables, lean protein and fish, promotes a balanced intake of macro and micronutrients, which the body needs to rejuvenate and repair to keep you moving and feeling your best.


“The best way to cook is the way that respects your ingredients”. - Alice Waters


Keep in mind: Preheating the grill for around 10-15 minutes helps to ensure even cooking and adding a little oil to the grates prevents food from sticking.


Root Healing and Nutrition | Toronto | BBQing and Nutrition for women - Going beyond traditional sauces

5) Go Beyond Traditional Sauces:

You can upgrade your BBQ experience by experimenting with creative, health-conscious sauces and rubs. By making a homemade sauce that incorporates fresh ingredients, like a pineapple salsa or a Greek yogurt-based tzatziki. A balsamic glaze is a delicious and tangy alternative to traditional BBQ sauce. It's made by simmering balsamic vinegar until it thickens and develops a sweet and savory flavor. You can create a zesty, low-sugar BBQ sauce by mixing Dijon or whole grain mustard with a touch of honey for sweetness, or add in cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, or chipotle powder for a kick of heat. This combination provides complex flavors without relying on excess sugars. Excess sugar can deregulate blood sugar levels, which in turn ladies, decreases our metabolic health. When we make our own sauces we avoid additives, preservatives and excess salt, all which can put a women's body out of balance and decrease your energy.


Keep in mind: The beauty of whole food-based sauces is that you have the freedom to customize them to your taste preferences. Adjust the ingredients to achieve the desired level of sweetness, tanginess, or spiciness. These sauces not only enhance the flavors of your grilled dishes but also contribute to a well-rounded and health-conscious culinary experience!


As you embark on your journey to healthier and tastier BBQs, focus on lean proteins, colorful vegetables, mindful portion control, fresh ingredient sauces or rubs and hydrating food choices. BBQing can be a delightful and health-conscious experience for women, contributing to your nutritional needs and overall well-being. Using a dash of creativity, you can achieve both delectable and nutritious grilled dishes that align with your holistic nutrition goals. So, fire up that grill with confidence and savor the flavors of a well-balanced BBQ feast!


“you don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients”. - Julia Childs


Holistic Nutritionist Pam Kudlowich conquered chronic pain, inflammation, and extra pounds through a radical shift to whole foods and self-care. From processed to holistic, her journey is a triumph—pain vanished, weight dropped, and energy soared. Now a Holistic Health Practitioner, Reiki Master, and Nutritionist, based in Toronto, Canada, Pam's story packs a punch of inspiration, proving that a mindful shift in lifestyle can unlock transformative wellness. When Pam is not busy transforming the world through nutrition, she can be found playing basketball and chasing her toddler.

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