Transform your end-of-summer barbecue menu with these healthy swaps guests will love.

As summer winds down, there seem to be a lot of “lasts” — the last few carefree days before school starts, the last of the warm weather and sunshine, and the last barbecue of the season.

Whether you’re hosting a Labor Day barbecue or bringing a dish to someone else’s party, you’ll want the meal to be as unforgettable as the summer memories you’re leaving behind. How about giving the same old menu a healthy twist without taking away the yummy traditions guests expect? 

“Food triggers an emotional response for many of us, especially on holidays and family gatherings,” says April Dearden, a certified nutritionist, wellness coach and founder of the New Normal Lifestyle Inc. “There is a comfort and familiarity that comes with the food at these events. Swapping out fats and sugars for herbs and spices creates dishes that are healthy yet don’t leave us feeling deprived. My goal is to make dishes that look and feel like the original version but are so full of flavor that people won’t even know it’s healthy — because it’s just delicious.”

Below, Dearden shares her recipes for revamping your entire menu — from side dishes to desserts. 

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For a lean lunch or dinner, these Baja fish kabobs do the trick.

Ready in 15 minutes • Makes 4 servings

Baja Fish Kabobs Recipe


  • 1 lb firm white fish (red snapper, cod, mahi mahi, swordfish), cut into 32 pieces
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili peppers
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, cut into 1″ chunks (16 pieces)
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (16 pieces)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1″ chunks (16 pieces)
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 8 metal skewers (or wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for 15 minutes)


1. Preheat grill. Place juice of 1 lemon, lime juice, lemon zest, chili peppers, cumin and paprika in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add fish to marinate for 5 minutes.

2. Prepare avocado sauce while fish is marinating. Add avocado chunks, juice of 1 lemon and cilantro to a blender and purée.

3. Thread 4 pieces of fish, onion, tomato and bell pepper onto each skewer.

4. Place skewers onto grill and cook 2 to 3 minutes; flip and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with avocado dipping sauce.

Nutrients per serving (2 skewers): Calories: 222, Total Fats: 9 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 40 mg, Sodium: 78 mg, Total Carbohydrates: 13 g, Dietary Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 23 g, Iron: 1 mg

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You’re only 60 days away from finally making exercise and clean eating part of your lifestyle.

Healthy New You with Katie Corio

New Year’s is approaching fast, and if you’re like 99 percent of the world, part of your resolution is to get fit/lose weight/eat healthy. Unfortunately, the majority of resolutioners will abandon their healthy goals by March, and so continues the cycle of gym memberships that go unused. So also continues the cycle of quick-fix programs and yo-yo diets, which not only do a number on your metabolism but which also undermine your confidence.

“I have been there,” says Katie Corio, NPC bikini competitor and creator of Oxygen’s Healthy New You online education program. “I have felt the guilt and the low self-esteem that comes with being out of shape. I understand what it is to want to be fit and healthy, but to have it seem so out of reach.”

Stats: Katie Corio 

Birth date: August 29, 1993
Height: 5’3”
Weight: 127 lb
Current residence: Del Mar, California
Sponsor: 1 Up Nutrition
Instagram: @cutekatiebug  @cutekatiebug_workouts  @fitforlift_ig
Twitter: @cutekatiebug
Snapchat: “cutekatiebug”

Rising Above

Corio went from being super active to sedentary after she tore her meniscus in a volleyball tournament. Though she did the work to rehab her knee, Corio gave in to the typical college lifestyle — late-night drinking, poor food choices and zero exercise — and quickly lost her physique. “I remember trying on bikinis in the dressing room and noticed how different I looked,” she says. “That’s when I decided I needed to make some real changes.”

Corio hired a trainer who competed in figure competitions and was immediately inspired to do so herself. She did three NPC bikini contests and a powerlifting event and excelled at them all. However, after her last bikini competition, Corio felt horrible. She had stiff, swollen joints and would lie in bed at night in tears wondering why she could not move. The doctors diagnosed her with rheumatoid arthritis and told her to stay away from the gym. “That was like a death sentence to me,” Corio says. “I thought my fitness days were over.”

The lab coats also wanted to dose her with medication, but Corio was reluctant. She researched alternative treatments and decided to try homeopathic remedies and an anti-inflammatory diet to control her symptoms. She continued doing physical therapy exercises to loosen and warm up her joints, and after several months, she was living and training almost completely pain-free.

“This filled me with hope that I could manage my symptoms naturally,” she says. “So I decided to train for a USPA powerlifting meet to prove to myself — and the doctors — that I could lift heavy and be strong with rheumatoid arthritis and that I didn’t need their harsh medications to cope.” Needless to say, she crushed her competition, squatting almost 300 pounds with perfect form and optimal mobility.

Total-Life Transformation

Even if you don’t have rheumatoid arthritis or the desire to squat the equivalent of a baby water buffalo, you likely can relate to Corio’s dressing-room drama. “That terrible day of trying on bikinis helped me move forward,” she says. “I was determined to improve my self-confidence and be happy with my body again. My intuition was telling me there were bigger and better things in store, and I fully committed to seeking those out. I didn’t realize at the time that much more than my body was going to change.”

Corio found that the healthier she got, the more her mindset and desires changed. “I started sitting a little taller, looking people in the eye and speaking with more deliberation,” she says. “I transformed from the inside out rather than the outside in. That, I think, is the secret beauty in living a healthy lifestyle: It isn’t just a physical improvement but a total-life transformation.”

Happy New You

This is the transformation Corio wants for you, as well, as the coach of our new 60-day Healthy New You online video program. “I know what it takes to break out of that cycle and can teach people how to maintain their health and fitness long term,” Corio says. “Together, we can turn any resolution into a daily, sustainable lifestyle.”

Corio’s program of consistent exercise and clean eating enables anyone at any level of fitness to succeed. “It’s about finding exercise options that you love and look forward to, and finding recipes and heathy foods you enjoy eating,” she says.

Her workouts are a progressive mixture of total-body training and bodypart splits using simple equipment (e.g., no gym membership required!) so you can do them anywhere, anytime — in 60 minutes or less! Corio also curated her best collection of recipes to share with program participants, and moreover, she will show you how to create your own healthy meal plan. “My step-by-step guide centers around macronutrients and teaches you how to put your meals together in a well-balanced and nutritious way,” she says.

“My hope is that you will use the Healthy New You program as a springboard to living a fit and healthy lifestyle,” she continues. “At the end of 60 days, you will have all the tools you need to make your new, healthy habits a permanent part of your life. Ladies, I got you! No more starting over. We will do this together, once and for all!”

Slow-Cooker Turkey and Sweet Potato Stew

Makes 6 servings

“’Tis the season to get cozy! Warm up with this easy, healthy recipe!” Corio says.


  • 1 lb extra-lean ground turkey breast
  • 16 oz sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 zucchini, cubed
  • 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 2/3 cup marinara sauce
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 bay leaves


In a skillet, brown ground turkey, breaking it up as it cooks. Remove and put into a slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. The liquid level should fill the pot a little more than halfway with ingredients inside; add more chicken broth, if needed, to level out. Cover and cook 4 hours on high, or until potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaves and serve.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 212, fat 1 g, carbs 30 g, protein 21 g, fiber 8 g, cholesterol 30 mg, sodium 468 mg

Ho-Ho Holiday Survival

Here are five tips from Katie Corio for avoiding collateral celebratory damage.

  • Pace yourself. Your eyes are usually bigger than your stomach. Eat a small portion and then wait before diving in for seconds.
  • Hydrate. A lot of times we mistake thirst for hunger. Drink a full glass of water between each helping of a meal for hydration and appetite control.
  • Exercise early. That way, you ensure it doesn’t get pushed back by family plans or lack of energy. Plus, you’re more likely to make healthier choices after a nice sweaty workout!
  • One is enough. Don’t deprive yourself of the joy of the holidays. Indulge in dessert but remember that one is enough: Have one piece of pie — not three!
  • Plan ahead. If you know you’ll be enjoying a high-calorie, home-cooked meal later in the day, eat light and healthy leading up to that meal.

Resolve to Evolve

Preregister now for the Healthy New You program! You’re only 60 days away from living your fittest life — ever. Go to and get ready to face down your resolutions!

The One-Plate Glute Workout

Believe it or not, Katie Corio’s glutes were flatter than a flap- jack before she started lifting. After years of trial and error, she found a winning formula that gave her a brag-worthy booty. Here are some of her favorite go-to moves to build gravity-defying glutes. 


Do all the exercises in order one after the other. Rest one minute and then repeat for a total of two rounds. Choose whatever weight plate is appropriate for your fitness level.

Exercise; Reps

Pulse Sumo Squat; 15
Plate Swing; 15
Walking Long Step Lunge and Twist;  15 (each leg)
Single-Leg Hip Thrust; 10 (each leg)
Single-Legged Romanian Deadlift;  10 (each leg)

Pulse Sumo Squat

Pulse Sumo Squat

Hold a plate with both hands and stand with your feet outside shoulder-width apart, toes turned out comfortably. Bend your knees and drop your glutes straight toward the floor, stopping when your thighs reach parallel. Rise back up a couple of inches, lower back to parallel and then stand all the way up to complete one rep.

Katie’s Tip: Focus on squeezing your glutes at the top of each rep — exaggerate it even — and go nice and slow for each rep.

Plate Swing

Hold a plate with both hands and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees soft. Break at the hips and push your glutes back to swing the plate underneath you and between your legs. As it comes back through to the front, quickly extend your knees and snap your hips forward, creating enough momentum to lift the plate to shoulder height. Guide it down carefully and go right into the next rep.

Katie’s Tip: Don’t round your back as you swing the plate between your legs. Keep it flat throughout.

Walking Long step Lunge and Twist

Walking Long step Lunge and Twist

Hold a plate with both hands at your chest. Take a large step forward, bending your front knee while keeping your back leg straight. Lunge until your front thigh is parallel to the floor, then twist your torso toward the forward leg. Return to center, push off your back foot and bring your feet together. Continue, alternating sides.

Katie’s Tip: Long step lunges target the glutes and hamstrings more than a traditional lunge. Exhale and blow out all your air as you twist.

Single-Leg Hip Thrust

Single-Leg Hip Thrust

Lie faceup, knees bent, and position a plate across your hips. Extend one leg straight up over your hip and then press down through your grounded foot to lift your hips toward the ceiling, keeping your hips square and the plate centered. Slowly lower to the start and repeat. Do all reps on one leg, then switch.

Katie’s Tip: Changing your foot position changes the emphasis of the move: The closer it is to your glutes, the more you engage your hamstrings; the farther away it is, the more you engage your quads.

Single-Legged Romanian Deadlift

Single-Legged Romanian Deadlift

Hold a plate with both hands and shift your weight onto one leg. Extend your opposite leg behind you, then hinge at the hips and lower your torso toward the floor as you simultaneously lift your leg behind you, hips square. When your torso and leg come parallel to the ground and/or you feel a stretch in your standing hamstring, return slowly to the start. Do all reps on one leg and then switch.

Katie’s Tip: Lower the plate over the arch of your standing foot and pull your shoulders back for optimal position and balance. 

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This simple recipe from OC4 coach Jen Widerstrom features a savory, satisfying, meaty mix of mushrooms and lean beef. Omit the cheese, if you’re dairy-free.

Spicy Stuffed Peppers

Serves 3


  • 3 medium bell peppers (any color) 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems removed, chopped 1 pound Laura’s Lean Beef
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, plus more to taste 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 (28–ounce) can crushed tomatoes 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 large handful of roughly chopped fresh spinach 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional) 3/4 cup chicken stock


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Prepare the bell peppers by cutting them in half through the stem and removing the core. Place in a large baking dish, cut side up, and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and black pepper, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the carrot and mushrooms and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Add the turkey, the 1 1/2 tsp salt, the 1/4 tbsp black pepper, the garlic powder, oregano, paprika, and the ½ tsp red pepper flakes, and break up the meat while incorporating all the spices. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the meat is no longer pink.
  5. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the crushed tomatoes and let the mixture simmer over low heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust the seasonings, adding more salt, black pepper, or red pepper flakes to taste. Add the rice, spinach, and basil and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice.
  6. Spoon the turkey-veggies mixture into the halved bell peppers until nice and full. Top each pepper with a little bit of cheese (if using). Pour the stock into the bottom of the baking dish and cover the dish lightly with foil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the peppers are just tender.
  7. Remove from the oven and discard the foil. Transfer to a plate and serve.

Now in its fourth year, The Oxygen Challenge 4 has helped thousands of participants all over the world transform their bodies and their lives. This summer, we are bringing you two of television’s most celebrated experts: Jen Widerstrom of NBC’s The Biggest Loser and Karina Smirnoff of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars!

So what are you waiting for? Start transforming your life and body now.

Join the challenge today!

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OC4 Coach Karina Smirnoff shares two of her favorite easy seafood recipes that provide the protein you need to fuel healthy muscle growth without extra calories and fat.

Zucchini Swordfish

Serves 2


  • 1 large zucchini, sliced into thin, 3-inch strips
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 box precut white or oyster mushrooms
  • Handful black olives, chopped
  • 1 tbsp canned jalapenos, minced
  • 2 1-lb swordfish steaks, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp black truffle oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic glaze
  • 1 bunch thyme, stems removed


  1. Turn on broiler to 550 degrees
  2. In a medium pan, add oil and thyme. Cook for 2 minutes on medium, then add zucchini. Season with pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat a separate pan to medium, add oil and mushrooms and cook for five minutes.
  4. Add olives, jalapenos and balsamic glaze and heat through.
  5. Remove from heat. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Season swordfish with truffle oil and black pepper on both sides. Place on baking sheet and back in the over until fish starts to sizzle, about 7 minutes
  6. When the outside turns golden brown, remove from oven. Divide zucchini between two plates then place fish on top. Divide mushroom mix and pour over the top of each fish.

Miso Glazed Salmon with Broccolini

Serves 2


  • 2 6-ounce salmon filets
  • ¼ cup brown sugar 
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • Sprig parsley
  • 1 bag broccolini
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • Juice of one lemon, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl mix sugar, soy sauce, miso, mirin and half the lemon juice. Add salmon to bowl and turn to coat.
  3. Place salmon on baking sheet covered with foil and cover with remaining sauce. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  4. Steam broccolini until desired tenderness, then season with pepper. Place salmon on top and top with remaining lemon juice and parsley.

Now in its fourth year, The Oxygen Challenge 4 has helped thousands of participants all over the world transform their bodies and their lives. This summer, we are bringing you two of television’s most celebrated experts: Jen Widerstrom of NBC’s The Biggest Loser and Karina Smirnoff of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars!

So what are you waiting for? Start transforming your life and body now.

Join the challenge today!

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