If you're wondering how a potato-chip dusted soiree can do anything beneficial for your skin, remember that as with any meal, it's all about choosing nutrient-dense foods. Nutritionist Brooke Alpert, RD, author of "The Diet Detox," says that in order to get that glow (while wearing sunscreen, of course!), you should look for anti-inflammatory foods first and foremost. "Inflammation is bad for your skin because it can cause everything that's unpleasant on your face, including puffiness, breakouts, redness, etc.," she explains. Not sure which foods fit the bill? Use this anti-inflammatory food pyramid as a little cheatsheet.
Some foods, like citrus fruits and seafood, she continues, can help boost collagen production, and because collagen keeps skin looking youthful, these are obviously a good things to incorporate into your next cookout as well. Hydration is important, too, so H2O-rich foods are also a must.
Below, Alpert gets specific—keep reading for six beauty-boosting foods (plus recipes!) she recommends adding to your next barbecue menu.
Ditch the 'dogs for these skin-friendly BBQ items below.
Sparkling watermelon lime spritzer
Dehydration can cause all kinds of problems for the skin, so water intake is critical for maintaining a glowing complexion—especially if you're going to be spending time in the sun. To add an extra-beautifying boost to your hydration efforts, Alpert offers up her recipe for a sparkling watermelon lime spritzer. (Fizzy H2O is, after all, just as hydrating as flat water.) "Watermelon is anti-inflammatory, plus it has electrolytes which boost hydration," Alpert says.
To make her mix, combine pureed watermelon with sodium-free seltzer water, fresh-squeezed lime juice, and a scoop of collagen powder. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a slice of lime. "Citrus fruits like lime help promote collagen production," she adds. Plus, pairing collagen powder with vitamin C-rich fruits can makes it more effective, too. (Noshing on watermelon itself is good for your complexion as well.)
For a second skin-enhancing mocktail option, try this blackberry basil moscow mule, which also features anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Guacamole with cucumber slices
"Avocado is loaded with heart-healthy [and hydration-helping] monounsaturated fats and is high in potassium, which is [also] important for staying hydrated as well as for electrolyte balance," says Alpert. The most barbecue-friendly way to get your fill of this beauty fruit? Guac, of course (great news). Try whipping up one of these eight mind-blowing 'mole recipes, all of which feature an extra-healthy twist or two (adding cucumber increases hydration to your skin).
Shrimp cocktail or shrimp salad
According to Alpert, shrimp contain two types of antioxidants—selenium and astaxanthin—which have been shown to help reduce inflammation. If you want to get a little more creative than simply "throwing shrimp on the barbie" at your next BBQ, she recommends preparing a shrimp cocktail or salad. This Cold Shrimp Salad recipe from The Healthy Foodie is a nutritional powerhouse which pairs the crustacean with that aforementioned beauty-boosting avocado (and more). Plus, it only takes about five minutes to prep, so it's the perfect addition to any busy-girl meal. Or, try this Mexican Shrimp Cocktail from Eating Bird Food which also mixes shrimp with avocado and other healthy superfoods (e.g. anti-inflammatory garlic) for an added glow.
Grilled salmon burgers
Because it's a good source of antioxidants, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids, Alpert recommends swapping traditional beef burgers out for versions made with salmon. (Victoria Beckham would do the same.) Try this yummy recipe from Laughing Spatula, topped with an avocado salsa, at your next summertime soiree and reap the glow-inducing benefits.
Citrus fruit salad
Citrus, says Alpert, is a wonderful source of vitamin C, which helps to boost collagen production. Plus, fruit salads can be super hydrating, especially if they utilize certain types of fruit. Try this recipe from recipe blog Tastes Better from Scratch, which features a simple combination of grapefruit, pomelo, tangerine, orange, and clementine mixed in with blueberries (more skin-friendly antioxidants!) and mint.
"Seafood is a great source of protein which helps promote collagen," says Alpert, who recommends adding it ceviche-style onto your next BBQ menu in order to incorporate the beautifying powerhouse in a refreshing, snackable form. "The heavy use of lemon or lime [in ceviche] is great to support your collagen production, too," she adds. Try this super-easy ceviche recipe that's stacked with additional skin-boosting ingredients, including vitamin C-rich mango. Bon appétit.
Want more healthy BBQ food swaps? Here are nine. But if you're not quite ready to give up on hot dogs, get creative instead with these 14 healthy (and in some cases, anti-inflammatory) topping recipes.
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