4th of July Survival Guide: How to BBQ without the guilt

WrestlerNutrition.com’s 4th of July Survival Guide: How to BBQ without the guilt.

4th of july bbqSummertime BBQ’s and parties, especially 4th of July weekend, are filled with rich and delicious foods. These times are supposed to be about fun and relaxation; however, for many wrestlers there also comes the stress and guilt of filling our bodies with unhealthy foods. For most, wrestling is a year round sport and elite wrestlers know that what you do to your body in July definitely plays a role in how your season is going to go. So does that mean you have to skip the BBQ or only stick with salads? No! Just follow some of these guidelines and tips and you’ll be able to enjoy the weekend with your friends and family without all of the guilt or worry:

  1. Have a game plan going in:

Treat this weekend like you would a match. Have a game plan on what should do in order to come out of this BBQ victorious. Talk to the host about what will be served or if you could bring anything for the event. This will allow you to plan your meals for the days based around what will be at the BBQ. This will allow you to look forward to enjoying some good food, along with staying on track with your weight.  It might also be a good idea to eat a little something before you go the event as well. A small salad or fibrous piece of fruit will help you feel a little fuller and not feel the urge to over eat at the BBQ.

  1. Up your protein:

Protein is very easy to control and make healthy. And at most BBQ’s, there are usually a variety of healthy and unhealthy choices to pick from.  Hamburgers, saucy ribs, and hotdogs are choices to stay away from due to them being fattier meats and calorie dense. Options such as lean steaks, grilled chicken, and shrimp are more ideal choices; being less fatty and more nutrient dense. You can have a little more of these proteins to help keep your diet in check and also help control your appetite for the rest of the day.

  1. Produce is your friend:
Fresh fruit stand with boysenberries, raspberries, cherries and grapes
Fruits and veggies are healthier snacks for during the day thank chips and dip.

Summer is a great time to be consuming produce. Most fruits and vegetables, come into season during the summer and are more flavorful anyway. At most BBQ’s, fruit salads and vegetable platters are almost always present. This will allow you eat throughout the day and not feel like you’re missing out. Most fruits and vegetables are low calorie, nutrient dense foods which shouldn’t affect your weight at all. Plus, what’s better than juicy, refreshing produce on a hot summer day!!

  1. Take a seat and relax

Eating while distracted can cause you to forget how much or even what you’ve been eating. Grazing at the food table can also cause you to over eat. The best strategy is to make yourself a plate and take a seat and enjoy your food. Most strict wrestlers don’t have opportunities to indulge in most BBQ foods. Take some to relax and enjoy your food. As much as practice and conditioning are important to the success of a wrestler, allowing your body to heal and recover is just as important. Make this day about relaxation and enjoying the company of friends and family. Then wake up the next day and get back on the grind.

  1. Alcohol calorie conscious (age 21+ wrestlers):

With all BBQ’s, you can expect many things to be present, such as hamburgers, macaroni salad, and often alcohol. It can be hard to be at an event with everyone drinking and not feel the urge to join in. Beers and cocktails can be heavy in carbs and calories. But if you do feel like having a drink or two, there are options for you to keep your weight in check. For beer drinkers, there are low calories, lite beer options, such as MGD 64 and Beck’s Light both coming in at 64 calories a bottle. For non-beer drinkers, a serving of voldka, depending on the brand, can vary between 30-100 calories. Choose a lower calorie option and have a little fun, without compromising your weight. And please, make sure that if you do drink, you’re over 21 and doing so responsibly.  Never drink and drive and always know where you are staying or who your designated driver will be.

Last but not least:

People Standing by Barbecue
Relax and enjoy the weekend!

It is extremely hard to be around all this delicious food and not be tempted. Even the most strict of dieters, can’t help but be tempted. But if you follow these steps we outlined for you, you should be able to get away with eating a little bit of something you’ve really been craving without compromising your progress toward your goals. Maybe you’ve really been craving ribs and you know the host makes the best ribs in town. Talk to the host to see if he can make you a small amount of ribs with very little sauce or even sauce on the side. By doing thing you can control what you’re eating while still getting to treat yourself.  Every wrestler works hard and even the most disciplined and intense of us deserve to have some fun without having to stress. So enjoy your 4th of July and stay responsible!

Below is a sample meal/strategy plan for the day:

Sample plan

Breakfast – normal

An apple or small salad 30 minutes before you go to event

Lunch – 7 oz of grilled chicken

Corn on the cob

3-5 pieces of shrimp

Dinner – 6 oz of lean steak

Salad w/ veggies

Baked potato

Snack on fruit throughout day to curve cravings

Here are some delicious recipes you can make and not feel guilty about eating:

PopsiclesRed White and Blueberry Popsicles

Yield: makes 10 popsicles


1 heaping cup raspberries

1 cup blueberries

1 cup vanilla flavored Greek yogurt


Using a small 4 cup food processor, or blender, puree the raspberries until smooth. Set aside.

Do the same with the blueberries. (If your blueberries are super purple, add a little blue food coloring.)

Put the yogurt and each of the berry purees in small measuring cups with spouts. The goal is to thin them just a bit so they are pourable. Use water for the yogurt and the raspberries, and, depending on the color of your blueberries, you can use water, or yogurt if you need to brighten up your ‘blue’. Keep these cups chilling in the refrigerator when you are not using them.

To layer your pops, start by pouring a little of the blueberry in the bottom of each mold. The only tricky part to these popsicles is getting the layers in without too much spillage to mar your stripes. Use my photos as a rough guide for how much blue you want. Don’t get too fussy, it should look rustic!

Put the mold in the freezer and freeze till firm, at least an hour, or more.

Layer a little bit of yogurt into each mold for the next stripe. You will be able to see through the side of the mold to check your progress. At this point, cover the top of the mold with foil, and insert the popsicle sticks. Make sure to get the stick a little bit into the frozen layer so they will stand straight. Put back into the freezer until solid.

Remove the foil at this stage, you won’t need it since the stick is in and you need to layer. Next comes your raspberry stripe, and so on until the molds are filled. Make sure to freeze each stripe until solid before adding the next. Don;t worry if the stripes are uneven, but do try to clean up any dribbles as you go. I used a popsicle stick to scrape down the insides of the mold after each stripe.

Once filled and completely frozen solid, you can un-mold your pops. Fill the sink with hot water. Remove the foil, and immerse the mold just up to the lip, being careful not to let any water splash onto the top. Hold it for 30 seconds, remove, and try to pull the pops out. If they don’t slide out, immerse again for just a few seconds.

I recommend keeping the popsicles in the mold until you are ready to serve, or, if you are working in batches, wrap each pop quickly in waxed paper or put into a baggie and put back in the freezer. I don’t recommend making these more than a day in advance.


Be sure to thin your purees, and your yogurt so that you can more easily layer them into the mold. If they are too thick, you will have trouble doing this neatly.

potato saladPotato Salad

Per Serving: Calories 105, Fat 1g, Sat Fat 0g, Cholesterol 1mg, Sodium 138 mg, Carbs 22g, Fiber 3g, Sugar 4g, Protein 4g

Serves 8



2 large stalk CELERY, RAW


1 small RED PEPPER, SWEET, RAW, chopped

1/2 cup RADISH, RAW, diced

1/4 cup PARSLEY, RAW







1 dash SALT, TABLE


2 tbsp PARSLEY, RAW, chopped

1/2 tsp PAPRIKA


Place potatoes in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook

covered, until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain immedi­ately. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut into 1/2 inch cubes and place in a large bowl.

Add celery, green onions, bell pepper, radishes, and 1/4 cup parsley. Stir to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients and add to potato mixture. Mix gently.

Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons parsley and paprika.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

chickenHoney Mustard Grilled Chicken

Per serving: Calories 266 kcal, Carbohydrates 22 g, Cholesterol 70 mg, Fat 6 g, Fiber 0.1 g, Protein 24.7 g

1/3 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons  low-fat mayonnaise

1 teaspoon steak sauce

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves


  1. Preheat the grill for medium heat.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mix the mustard, honey, mayonnaise, and steak sauce. Set aside a small amount of the honey mustard sauce for basting, and dip the chicken into the remaining sauce to coat.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill chicken over indirect heat for 18 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, or until juices run clear. Baste occasionally with the reserved sauce during the last 10 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning!



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