Barbecuing is a great way to relax, enjoy the outdoors, and spend time with family and friends. And it can be a great-tasting, healthy option for preparing food. But BBQs can also bring with them temptations and risks. Here are some tips to make your BBQ a healthy one:
1. Consider the protein
Many meats traditionally served at barbecues are loaded with fat and sodium and invite extra fats and condiments. Rather than sticking to the common hamburger and hot dogs, try choosing proteins such as skinless chicken, turkey breasts, and fish. These options are lower in fat and are great without cheese and bun.
2. Spice it up!
BBQ sauce is often a staple condiment at the grill. But it is typically loaded with refined oils and unnecessary sugars or other sweeteners. A great way to make your BBQ healthier is to hold the BBQ sauce, and instead marinate your protein and veggies (see recipe), or add a dash of seasoning to maximize flavor.
3. Eat your veggies
The grill isn’t just for meats. Vegetables add a variety of colors and textures to the BBQ menu, and grilling is a great way to add flavor to your veggies. Try onions, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, and corn on the cob. Choose fresh veggies in season to enjoy the most flavors. To prepare, lightly oil the grill to keep food from sticking. Chop but don’t peel veggies and leave corn on the cob whole and in the husk. The peels provide more nutrients and a smokier flavor.
4. Enjoy some sides
Side dishes such as pasta and potato salads often include unwanted fat and calories. Instead, make healthful, delicious sides that allow you to have some great flavors and variety without the unnecessary ingredients, such as the Cucumber Dill Salad (see recipe).
5. How sweet it is!
To add some sweetness to the BBQ menu, try throwing some fruit on the grill! Here are a few sweet ideas:
Try grilled watermelon, pineapple, peaches or bananas. Grilling caramelizes fruit and brings out its natural sweetness.
Pair grilled watermelon with arugula and balsamic dressing for a juicy fruit salad.
Brighten up your plate with colorful fruit skewers made with strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, kiwi and blueberries.
For extra flavor, sprinkle cinnamon and/or lemon juice on the fruit.