Memorial Day is right around the corner, and for many of us, it’s the official start of the backyard barbecue season! It’s always fun to get together with family and friends for a nice communal meal of grilled meats, veggies, and sides. However, for those of us who like to eat clean, barbecue doesn’t always offer the best options.
Luckily, there are some really good alternatives that are both healthy and delicious. Here are a few of our favorite tips for having a healthier barbecue this year.
Skip the Sauce (or Make Your Own)
First, let’s talk about barbecue sauce. That sticky, sweet, and sometimes smoky concoction poured liberally over meat is tempting, but it’s also not so good for you. Today’s sauces are loaded in extra sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. These sauces are often nothing more than empty calories (as delicious as they may be), but they can also contribute to major health problems such as diabetes. We highly recommend avoiding store-bought sauces, or at least ones that contain a lot of sweeteners. Alternatively, you can always make your own healthier version.
For those of us who prefer meatless diets, the backyard barbecue can be a real minefield. Vegans and vegetarians often find themselves stuck with the same old veggie burgers, or scrounging around fruit and veggie trays. However, thanks to some amazing innovations, there are now plant-based burgers that are quite convincing substitutes for the real thing. And if that doesn’t excite your palate, you could always make grilled cauliflower steaks, for example. The point here is that there are more and more healthy options available to choose from. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Opt for Leaner Meats
Luckily, there are also alternatives for those of us who do enjoy a good steak. First, avoid ground meat, as that tends to have higher fat content. Or substitute lower-fat ground turkey for beef. You can also opt for leaner cuts of meat, using a marinade for a couple of hours to boost its flavor. Additionally, consider things like grilling chicken breast and salmon, both staples for a healthy backyard barbecue.
Improve Your Side Dishes
As mentioned above, side dishes at barbecues can be real problem for those looking to eat healthy (pasta salad drenched in mayo, anyone). But there are a lot of healthier side dishes you can make that will both satisfy your tongue and your tummy. For example, white bean hummus makes a delicious veggie dip. If you want something creamy, use plain Greek yogurt like in this coleslaw recipe.
As you can see, there are a lot of choices out there for a healthier but still delicious, backyard barbecue. Need more help eating healthy? We can help. Schedule an appointment with one of our nutritionists to discuss strategies for eating and living a healthier lifestyle. Fill out our contact form or give us a call us at 301-703-5067.