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  • Tips for a Healthy Barbeque

  • kabobs

    Plan your next cookout:

    As the weather gets warmer, more and more people are firing up their patio grills. Barbeques are a fun part of the summer months and a great way to spend time with family and friends, but they can also be damaging to your heart health and physical wellbeing.

    Studies have shown that the average American barbeque can contain more than 2,000 calories and 120 grams of fat per plate, and that number only increases with the addition of beer or other beverages. To enjoy this barbeque season with a healthy outlook, follow these tips:

    • Go for less fat. Eating a diet high in fat can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart disease, among other conditions. But there are numerous ways to avoid fat and still enjoy your favorite barbeque dishes. When picking out that perfect piece of red meat, try to find a less fatty cut. Use skinless chicken and burgers made from lean ground beef when grilling. Also, substituting low-fat or fat-free mayonnaise for regular in your coleslaw and pasta salad will help to cut calories for a barbeque that will keep your body healthy.
    • Watch the sodium. Too much sodium in your diet can cause high blood pressure, which puts people at risk for cardiovascular and kidney disease. This summer avoid excess salt by making your own marinades and salsas. When grilling veggies, leave off the salt and butter; instead, dip your vegetables in the same healthy marinade you use on your meats for a side dish that will keep your heart happy.
      Try this delicious and easy to make, low-sodium barbeque sauce.
    • Remember that sides add up! One of the easiest ways to get lost in how many calories you are consuming is by filling up on side dishes. Skip any dishes in which mayonnaise is a main ingredient (unless it's low-fat mayonnaise), and substitute veggie plates with low-fat ranch or bean dip for greasy potato chips. Also remember, everything in moderation. Side dishes can be delicious, but you're not meant to eat meal-sized portions of them. Learn more about portion sizes.
    • Substitute whole grains. Whenever possible, swap whole grain for bleached white. Hot dog rolls, burger buns, pasta, rice and other such products can be rich in nutritional value if they are made from whole grains. White breads offer little nutrition and are more difficult for the body to digest, while whole grains will leave you feeling fuller faster and will make digestion easier.
    • Make dessert guiltless. After all the healthy eating done so far, you deserve something sweet. For a guilt-free treat, have a bowl of fresh fruit with low-fat yogurt or whipped topping. If chocolate is your must-have, opt for a cup of frozen berries and bananas with a spoonful of chocolate pudding on top. These guilt-free desserts will be sure to leave your sweet tooth satisfied. Find other guilt-free desert recipes.
    • Keep it clean. To avoid bacteria, keep both food and grill clean. Rather than soap and water, use a wire brush to clean your grill so that it doesn't become sticky with hard-to-remove foods and sauces. Every time you fire up the barbeque, clean your grilling equipment (tongs, baskets, etc.) in hot water. Also, to prevent spreading salmonella, do not let raw meat touch other foods. Keep disinfectant spray handy at all times to clean any cooking space that has been in contact with raw meat.
      Get more food safety tips.

    Find healthy and delicious barbeque recipes.