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Keeping It Keto Through Summer By Nik Manning of LizeeAngel

Summertime. The time of year most of us look forward to as a time of joy, freedom and let’s be honest, partying! Even with the current pandemic in our purview and instances of social injustices we all *should* be fighting against, summer gives us a perfect backdrop to spend time with family and friends, with social distancing precautions, of course! Whether it be a walk in the park, laying out by the pool or a gathering that’s centered around food, there’s no better time than Summertime! Speaking of centering events around food, what happens when you’re following a low-carb or keto diet? Well, that’s why I’m here! Summer can be the best of times and the worst of times when you’re keto. On the plus side, there’s lots of grilled dishes and salads which are perfect for a low carb life. On the other hand, there’s sauces, ice cream and cakes, mixed drinks, popsicles and my favorite, s’mores, that pop up at every summer event. So what do you do? You look at these 3 dishes you can bring to any summer get together that will guarantee you delicious dishes to keep you on track, as well as make you a culinary star at the party because everyone will find them absolutely mouthwatering, whether they are following a low carb diet or not!

A Good Sauce:

One thing that makes any and every dish better is a great sauce or dip for whatever you’re eating. No really, think about it. Chicken nuggets with no sauce? Never. Fish sticks without tartar? Keep it. Wings without ranch or bleu cheese? Ha! You know it’s true! So when I am attending a party, I always bring along at least one sauce I can use with whatever is being prepared. My go-tos are my trinity of keto sauces: barbecue sauce, ranch dressing and my roasted garlic everything sauce. With a good keto sauce, you can enjoy everything from burgers to roasted veggies without having to worry about how much sugar is in the glaze on a piece of chicken or if the salad dressing is keto friendly. I love to use the BBQ on top of burgers and to finish off a piece of salmon right before it comes off of the grill. Ranch is the perfect side for a plate of grilled wings, for dipping veggies and of course on top of salad, if that’s your thing at a cookout! And don’t even get me started on that roasted garlic everything sauce! It is an umami bomb that literally tastes great on EVERYTHING! I love to brush it over grilled shrimp skewers and ladle it over grilled veggies. It takes your mouth on a wild ride that you won’t won’t to come back from. Just be aware that everyone else will be trying to use the sauce too. Sharing is caring!

Sides and Dips:

One thing I find at cookouts and parties is that the sides, while tasty, are usually carb heavy. Mac and cheese, potato salad, pasta salads and more. So I like to have at least one side that isn’t a veggie tray or salad to enjoy as well. For me, that’s a delicious pot of braised greens, garlicky roasted veggies like asparagus or brussels or an ultimate party dip that I can use to put that veggie tray to good use! A pot of greens is one of the best sides you can bring to a party because in addition to it being naturally low carb and keto friendly, it’s an incredibly easy dish that everyone can enjoy. Leafy greens are fully of iron and vitamin K that are good for heart health and they can be made a day in advance to enhance the flavor. Leaving you free to enjoy the party rather than standing over a pot! Roasted veggies are a great side to bring to a party because once they are roasted, they will maintain the flavor, but can be enjoyed at room temperature as well, making them an easy dish that can be done in 25-30 mins! Additionally, you can throw these recipes on the grill and enjoy them just the same! Just cook until browned and tender. When it comes to dips, I love them! They are a perfect food to me because they have tons of flavor and you only have to scoop it into your mouth. This ultimate party dip is combo of the top three dips IMO: crab, spinach artichoke and french onion. It’s a winner that can be put together in advance and finished in the oven (or on the grill) just before serving. 

Something Sweet:

I have an insane sweet tooth, even though I often refrain from indulging. And when it comes to keto sweets, I’m typically let down. I’d much rather wait 4 weeks and have one cookie than to settle for less than great low carb desserts. However, there are a few things I gravitate towards when I just have to have something sugary! 3 of those go-to’s can be found in the desserts section of my new book, Keeping It Keto, which features 12 keto friendly recipes to help you switch up the monotony of low carb eating. Don’t worry, I have 2 more recipes for you that I love for sweetness at a party when everyone else is enjoying theirs! One of them is a brunch favorite of blueberry muffins! They are perfect for a midday get together when there’s usually non-keto friendly muffins, breads and more. While they are about 10g net carbs per muffin, that’s much less than the 67g net carbs you usually find. If you really want to be mindful of the amount of carbs, you can make them mini for only 5g net carbs too! My final something sweet is a very simple, but super delicious and only one ingredient and that is grilled fruit. This is the perfect snack that gives you a bit of savory from the grill and natural sweetness from the fruit. The heat will caramelize the natural sugars of the fruit and make your tongue dance with excitement! Seriously. Serve with a little keto friendly vanilla ice cream for a snack that feels too good to be true!

Keto in the summertime doesn’t have to be boring or require you to eat before attending a get together! Use these recipes and more from LizeeAngel to live your keto life without sacrificing your summer fun! Thanks to Jamal for allowing me to talk to ya’ll today. Before I go, I just have one question: What’s your go-to summer dish?

Gays in the Life began years ago as a project to help sharpen my writing chops. With each post and each year that passed by, the blog began to morph into something quite different and traveled a variety of creative avenues. Gays in the Life is a lifestyle blog discussing topics in marriage, relationships, life as a young professional, and adventures in living a healthier lifestyle. Enjoy! And thanks for reading, *J

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