The Healthiest Choices At A Summer BBQ
Summer grilling season is one of the best times of the year. Once the weather warms up, it’s time for a cookout. Every long weekend (or regular weekend–or sometimes even on a Thursday) is the perfect excuse to throw out some coals and grill some meats and veggies. Friends gather, family members pull out their famous recipes, and the good times roll until your pants feel tight.
Unfortunately, BBQ season and bikini season usually overlap. And if you’re watching your weight, back-to-back BBQs can expand your waistline — if you eat the wrong things. So we’ve put together a quick guide to help you navigate through the healthy and not-so-healthy choices usually offered.
Follow these rules and you’ll be able to enjoy the party and the food without feeling guilty about it the next day. But feel free not to completely deprive yourself of your favorites even if they’re on the “skip” list. Just remember to go HAM on the healthy stuff first and you won’t overdo it on the heavier options.
What to Have: Turkey
Turkey is always a lean and healthy choice. Really watching your calories? Opt for white instead of dark meat and skip the skin.
What to Skip: Soda
Save your calories for summer BBQ. Don’t waste them on soda that you can have any time of the year (and that has around 150 calories per can and lots of sugar).
What to Have: a Burger
A quarter pound burger on its own has about 500 calories. That’s roughly a fourth of your calories for the day, but it’s a lot of good protein and iron. If possible, go the turkey burger route.
Want to save some room for dessert? Skip the nearly 100 calories in the slice of American cheese.
What to Skip: Potato Salad
Aunt Cheryl may make the best in town, but each cup has around 350 calories and 20 grams of fat per cup. Limit yourself to a few bites off of your boyfriend’s taste so you can compliment Aunt Cheryl without hurting your waistline.
What to Have: Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are surprisingly low in calories. One with all of the fixings will only run you around 300 calories. Want to cut calories even further? Skip the bun, slice your hot dog like a sausage and dip it in sauce.
What to Skip: Alcoholic Beverages
Beer and margaritas are delicious but full of empty calories. Still want to celebrate the occasion? Bring along skinny margarita mix or light beer.
What to Have: Watermelon
Don’t be afraid to load up — even if you have to bring a tray full of slices yourself. Eating lots of this healthy snack (very low in calories) will fill you up before a tempting meal.
What to Skip: Ribs
They’re delicious, but covered in sauce and naturally high in fat. Limit yourself to just one or two or skip this BBQ treat altogether.
What to Have: Corn on the Cob
This is another good vegetable you shouldn’t be afraid to bring. It will fill up half of your plate at roughly 155 calories per ear.
What to Have: Cole Slaw
A cup of homemade cole slaw is surprisingly low in calories at around 100 calories per cup. Fill up on this instead of potato salad for a delicious diet-friendly side.
What to Skip: Bread
From cornbread to Hawaiian rolls to Texas toast, skip it all. They’re high in empty calories. Plus, they work at any time of the year, not just the summer. Hold off on all that.
What to Have: Brisket
This is more healthy protein, and one of the most delicious items on the grill. But you can save calories by going easy on the sauce.
What to Skip: Dessert
Or at least save it for later — at least 20 minutes after your meal. That will give your brain a chance to realize if it’s full.
What to Have: Kebabs
Protein and vegetables are always a good choice. Feel free to load your plate up.