By Ana Snyder, M.S., Exercise Physiology; CPT, FNS
Summer’s here, and it’s time for some fun in the sun (With sunscreen, of course!). Whether you’re planning a family cookout or celebrating the 4th of July with a big gathering, you’ll be manning that grill. However, if you’re looking to add a bit more nutrition to your meals, you can ditch those old standbys and enjoy a few healthier BBQ recipes.
There are number of reasons to change up some of the less healthy recipes you cook each summer. Saturated fats and loads of sugar are just two reasons. Plus, with the recipe additions and modifications I discuss below, you can enjoy better nutrition without sacrificing flavor. And, after all, that’s what most of us are worried about. We don’t mind eating healthy; we just don’t want it to taste like cardboard.
Seriously, who doesn’t love Buffalo chicken? Whether you’re talking about wings, sliders, fingers, or something else, it’s a staple of summer grilling. However, all that breading is loaded with carbs. Plus, there are plenty of proven benefits of replacing some of your meat with veggies. Combine your favorite Buffalo chicken seasonings with cauliflower florets, toss them, then grill them just like you would chicken. Cauliflower is low in fat, has virtually no sugar, packs in lots of gut-healthy fiber, and delivers plenty of vitamins and other nutrients. Not a fan of cauliflower? Check out some other vegetarian recipes to mix things up.
Who doesn’t start salivating at the thought of a homemade burger? That sizzling patty topped with tomatoes, onions, and pickles just scream summertime. However, red meat is not that great for you, despite recent claims to the contrary. That doesn’t have to mean giving up your summer burgers, though. Instead of beef, use ground turkey. It’s low in fat, high in iron and other nutrients, and widely available at just about every store these days. Many ground turkey blends are fat-free while still packing in the protein, as well.
Looking for great sweet treat recipes to top off your BBQ this summer? Instead of ice cream, cake, or whatever other option you might default to, consider grilled pineapple. It’s so easy you won’t even need a recipe. Here are a few pointers and tips to help you maximize flavor while still being healthy:
It doesn’t get much more comfort-foody than a grilled cheese. Golden-fried bread with glorious melted cheese in the middle? It’s incredible. It’s also pretty unhealthy. Don’t worry, though. There are plenty of ways to make that grilled cheese sandwich a little more nutritious. Here are a few quick tips:
Pork gets a bad rap today. It’s lumped in with beef in the whole red meat argument. However, that doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy. In addition to limiting your consumption of pork and other meat, you can take a few extra steps to make your pulled pork BBQ recipes as healthy as possible this summer. You don’t have to skip those burnt ends; just follow these tips:
It’s summertime, so fire up the grill! Whether it’s a weekend cookout for you and that special someone or you’re having a big gathering, the BBQ recipes and tweaks I covered above will help ensure that you not only get amazing flavor but lots of nutrition to help improve your health. Eating well doesn’t have to mean living off salads. There are options to suit just about anyone, from vegetarians to confirmed carnivores. You just need to eat smart and make healthier choices.