Those following a Keto diet are well aware of some of the restrictions that come with the low-carb, high-fat diet, especially around the summer months when grilling is rampant, with burgers being tossed, snacks being opened and beer being popped on a regular basis. By now, the keto dieter has become used to tossing the bun and guzzling water or club soda, but there are other tricks to making a fun Labor Day barbecue without making it bland, thanks to Dana Murrell, executive chef for diet-specific meal kit delivery service Green Chef. Murrell shares three quick and easy tips to add some keto-friendly flavor to summer’s final grilling day. You can try these tips on your own or go to Green Chef’s website for a variety of Murrell’s weekly menus, specifically created for most diet types.
What is a Keto diet?
A keto — or ketogenic diet — is a super-low-carb diet, high-fat diet which utilizes the fat as energy, putting your body into a state of what is called “ketosis.” According to WebMD, ketosisis a “normal metabolic process, something your body does to keep working. When it doesn’t have enough carbohydrates from food for your cells to burn for energy, it burns fat instead.
A Keto diet has been said to help with weight loss and increase physical performance by utilizing fat as energy instead of carbs, therefore turning your body into a fat-burning machine. One of its drawbacks, however, is the dietary restrictions. Little carbs mean no potatoes, breads, rice—beer. And with Labor Day being the unofficial end of summer, one last barbecue is usually in the works.
Murrell, however, provides three quick Keto-friendly tips to help you feel like you’re not missing out on the barbecue fun.
Keto tips for BBQs
Replace potatoes with cauliflower
“One of my favorite low-carb summer time side is a “faux”-tato salad.,” Murrell says. “We replace the high-carb potato with low-carb diced cauliflower, florets and stems.” Murrell suggests boiling the cauliflower until it’s just tender, then mix in with your favorite salad dressing. “This helps those following a Keto diet enjoy the classic summertime sides without totally sacrificing their hard work. Trust me, you won’t even notice the difference.”
Double-dip in ‘chips’
Chances are, potato chips will be at whatever party you’re throwing or attending, but a Keto-friendly alternative, Murrell says are making Parmesan Crisps (or Fricos) instead of opening a bag of traditional chips. She suggests spreading a tablespoon of shredded Parmesan cheese to make one chip (make as many as you can eat) on a nonstick liner about 4 inches apart. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, then let cool for 2 minutes. Murrell also suggests trying cured meat chips, like pepperoni or salami and follow the same instructions for as you would for Parmesan. Allow for extra time to ensure crispness. “Chips are a barbecue staple,” Murrell says. “There are so many misconceptions that eating healthy means bland snacks, but you can still maintain a high level of creativity and variety to keep food exciting and full of flavor, no matter what diet you’re following.”
Grill your lettuce (slightly)
Murrell says you can add a new dimension to your salads by lightly grilling romaine hearts. Just slice the romaine hearts lengthwise, keeping the core intact. Drizzle with some oil and lightly season with some salt and pepper. Place directly on the hot grill and cook for 1-2 minutes. You can then either chop them up and to a salad or keep the root end attached and plate the salad on top of the lettuce. “This simple but fun technique can also be applied to other hearty large leaf greens, like Lacinato kale,” Murrell says. “This allows you to create a restaurant-quality meal that fits within the diet, rather than letting the diet determine the meal.”