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By: Mary Alice Shreve   Date: 6/29/10

The summer grilling season has arrived and with it comes a smorgasbord of good eats. Regardless of if your mouth waters at the sight of ribs or if burgers and dogs are more your style, you can have your ‘Q and eat it too with these tips for keeping your grilling healthful. The grill-meister, the sous-chef, the green bean casserole-bearing guest and the apple pie artist alike can learn how to enjoy a balanced meal with healthy offerings. 

Meat
• Shoot for meat with a lower fat percentage (“lean” or “extra lean”) when preparing hot dogs and hamburgers.
• If you are looking to cut calories, try grilled chicken or fish instead of beef.
      o A 3 oz. grilled chicken breast has almost half the calories and at least 8 grams less fat than a 3 oz. hamburger patty.
      o Remember that one serving of meat is 3 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards).

Sides
• Aim for baked potato chips instead of fried.
     o Baked tortilla chips, a whole grain, are great in moderation. Try them with salsa (very low in calories!) or guacamole (rich in monounsaturated fat).
• If French fries are more up your alley, try baked sweet potato “fries.” Sweet potatoes provide added fiber and antioxidants (namely Vitamin A) and make for a tasty alternative.
• More of a potato salad fan? “Healthify” the traditional mayonnaise-based dish by making it with vinaigrette dressing to lighten the calorie load.
• Similarly, opt for lighter coleslaw by going with either a low-fat mayonnaise or even a vinaigrette dressing; cabbage is rich in Vitamins A, C, E, and B.
• Baked Beans are a great source of fiber and protein. If you are seeking to limit your sodium intake, try a low-sodium variety.
 

“Extras”
• Bring on the veggies. Once you have that sizzling burger on your plate, top it with:
     o Fresh greens (the darker, the better), tomato slices, mushrooms, peppers, roasted zucchini or any of your favorite vegetables. • Whole-wheat buns or rolls are a great option for incorporating whole grains and subsequently fiber into a summer feast.
• Low-sodium condiments are an option for those trying to consume less salt.

Dessert
• A staple of summer bar-b-qs, watermelon is loaded with antioxidants.
• Fresh or frozen berries also supply antioxidants and are sensational alone or sprinkled atop angel food cake. 
 

Eyes bigger than your stomach? It’s easy to overdo it with all that delicious food to choose from.  Here are a few tips to help you stay in control.

• Load up on veggies before hitting other foods so as to keep you from filling up on empty calories.
• Try eating a handful of nuts or drinking a glass of low-fat milk to satisfy your stomach before attending the Q and limit your intake by socializing more.
• Most importantly, be sure to drink plenty of water during the summer heat. Staying hydrated is crucial, and filling up on water can also help keep you from consuming extra calories. 
 

What are some of your go-to dishes for keeping it healthy come grilling time?

 

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5 comment(s) so far...

Re: Eating Healthy at a Bar-B-Q

Great article with great ideas! Practical tips I can actually use.

By Barkley on   Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Re: Eating Healthy at a Bar-B-Q

Inspiring, well-written article!

By Mandy on   Thursday, July 01, 2010

Re: Eating Healthy at a Bar-B-Q

Outstanding ideas and a common sense approach....well done

By joel a on   Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Re: Eating Healthy at a Bar-B-Q

These are wonderful suggestions and ones that everyone can do. Thanks!

By Teresa on   Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Re: Eating Healthy at a Bar-B-Q

It is refreshing to read an article that is not telling you the horrors of red meat and BBQ. Grilling in the backyard is a special time in my family, giving us an opportunity to be outside and away from the television and other distractions. It is good to be able to enjoy that time while also eating healthy.
Thanks for the fine article!!

By Lewis on   Monday, July 19, 2010

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