bbq

How to Have a Happy Healthy BBQ

By: Alissa Palladino, MS, RDN, LD, ACSM-CPT

With the warmer weather and longer days, summer is a wonderful time for cook-outs.

Here are some tips for navigating barbecue season while staying on track with your health goals:

Meat tends to be the star of the barbecue. Here’s how to make it healthier:
  • Grill fish more often
  • Skinless chicken breasts are best
  • Make turkey or chicken burgers
  • Choose lean cuts of meat
Focus on Fruits & Veggies

Fruits & veggies are key components of any healthy meal, and the grill offers new ways to enjoy them. Make fruit and veggies the stars of your barbeque instead of treating them like a garnish. 

  • Throw veggies on the grill
  • Try grilling fruits
  • Go green for your sides
  • Offer raw veggies
  • Serve fruit for dessert 
Condiments, Beverages & Sides

This is where empty calories often sneak in.  Small changes around condiments and beverages can make a big difference in reaching your health goals.

  • Opt for olive oil-based dressings
  • Choose mustard over mayo
  • Add flavor with fresh or dried herbs
  • Stick to one thinly sliced piece of cheese on your burger or sandwich 
  • Pile on lettuce, tomatoes and onions
  • Drink water or unsweetened tea
  • Go with whole-grain breads
  • Tried sweet potato fries?
Tips & Tricks

Dietitian-approved ways to stay on track with health goals during the summer barbecue season:

  • The Plate Method-Barbecue Style: The “Plate Method” is a great tool for building a balanced meal without having to count calories or measure portions.
  • Moderation: A healthy lifestyle is about balance, not deprivation. Fill the majority your plate with lean meat, fruits, veggies, whole grains and heart-healthy fats, but save a little room for a special treat. Everything can be enjoyed in moderation!
  • Change the Focus: Make your barbecue about more than just the food by focusing on friends, family, fitness and fun. Enjoy the sunshine, relax, spend quality time with your loved ones. When games are fun with family or friends, you’ll almost forget it’s “exercise!”

Follow these tips, and you can stay on track with your health goals this summer while enjoying the barbecue season!

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