This time of year is synonymous with barbecuing for most of us, but unfortunately it’s often a time when all that’s on our menus are some fat-laden hot dogs and greasy hamburgers. However, barbecuing doesn’t have to equal unhealthy food! So here are seven tips to help you enjoy the BBQ season while still eating healthy.
1. Go for lean or extra lean meats– Try looking for healthier meat options than processed, fatty products such as chicken, turkey or even soy hot dogs. And when purchasing meat at the supermarket, look for those marked lean or extra lean and remember to trim the visible fat prior to grilling.
2. Add flavor with marinades- marinating meats a few hours before you begin grilling can add delicious flavor without hiking up the calorie count too much. Worcestershire sauce (2 tablespoons contain 30 calories), low sodium soy sauce (120 calories), lime juice and tomato paste (40 calories) work really well.
3. Serve a vegetarian option– Why not take a break from the not so exciting veggie burger option and try something a little different? Try grilling extra firm tofu- it will work really well on a skewer with some vegetables.
4. Go for barbecued veggies- barbecued veggies are delicious, and a great way to add more variation and color to your party food. Try wrapping different vegetables in foil and popping them straight on the grill- whole mushrooms, corn on the cob and asparagus spears work really well. Or, if you are making kebabs, try layering onion slices with bell peppers and zucchini for a healthy treat.
5. Serve whole grain on the side– Rather than opting for the traditional white bread or rice with your burger, go for whole grain buns or seeded breads instead. You can also make your own whole meal pasta, brown rice or buckwheat salads with extra veggies, rather than serving creamy store bought cole slaw or potato salad.
6. Control portion size- Choosing healthier portion sizes at your barbecues is the best way of keeping your calories at bay. Eating smaller portions- like choosing an extra lean ¼ pounder over a fatty ½ pound burger, or slicing larger cuts of meats thinly before serving will help significantly.
7. Resist that ice cream for dessert- Finally, try finishing off your meal with a healthy treat, serve barbecued bananas- when the charcoals starts to die down, wrap bananas in foil in their skins and pop them on the grill, leave for 10 minutes, then unwrap and enjoy.
Healthy barbecuing doesn’t have to mean boring or bland eating. Simply by using a few of these tips, you can continue to enjoy a great barbecue while avoiding the guilt. Feel free to contact our office for any specific dietary questions you may have, 845-634-8877.