The typical menu is usually something to the tune of hotdogs, hamburgers, potato and macaroni salad with other “munchy” snack foods. If you’re trying to stick to a healthy meal plan, occasions like these can make meal choices difficult.
If you’re hosting a BBQ (or bringing a dish to one), try a new approach: healthier!
As a fan of BBQs myself, I am always looking for newer, healthier ways to enjoy old classics. Here are a few ideas:
Replace salty, high-fat hot dogs with skinless white chicken breasts. They are much leaner in fat (and ultimately calories) and naturally lower in sodium. Marinate them and pair with toasted whole-wheat buns.
Hamburgers can actually be a healthy choice, if they are made with meat that is at least 90% lean.
Another burger option: Lean ground turkey meat. Try this new “turkey” twist: add a little garlic and cilantro to pack it with flavor. Top with a light, spicy mayonnaise sauce (simply add a touch of finely chopped garlic, cumin and cayenne pepper to taste). Yes, mayonnaise! Hey, it’s a holiday!
Let’s not forget those side dishes. Usual options, such as potato or macaroni salad, can be very heavy. Instead, make a fresh salad using all of that delicious summer produce. Chop up as many vegetables (raw or grilled) as you desire, top with a light dressing and enjoy. This refreshing side dish will be the perfect compliment to your great-tasting BBQ.
If you are looking for some other small side dishes/ appetizers, cut up fresh vegetables and serve with hummus or a Greek yogurt dip.
Summer may be on its way out but it doesn’t mean that your good nutrition principles have to go with it. Enjoy your occasions and remember to make healthy substitutions when you can!
Until next time, eat smart!