Contrary to my mother’s opinion, bbq does not only consist of ribs, ribs and more ribs. Though ribs are delicious, they are not the only food group when it comes to barbecue. Summertime is a great time to try some leaner and healthier meats on the grill. And, while you’re trying something new at your cookout, why not throw a few veggies on the grill, and dare I say it, a fruit or two.
Here are a few ways to make your cookout more healthy:
1. Swap meat for grilled fish. Some heart-healthy options include herring, trout and salmon. If you love hamburgers, like I do, try a salmon burger instead of a beef hamburger.
2. Opt for turkey meat, which is leaner than beef. Hotdogs and hamburgers are my favorites at a cookout because I can get one of each. To cut down on calories and fat, instead of regular or beef hot dogs, I like to grill turkey hot dogs and hamburgers.
2. Choose leaner cuts of meat. Instead of “prime” cuts of meat, look for “select” or “choice.” These cuts don’t have as much fat. Also, choose loin or round cuts of red meat or pork.
3. Include more veggies. Vegetables are high in fiber and low in calories. Some veggies that are great on the grill are corn, asparagus, portobello mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, onions and carrots. If you want to be daring, try some lettuce and tomatoes. These will add an extra kick to your salad. Kabobs are also a great way to incorporate some veggies into your barbecue.
4. Choose white meat instead of dark and remove the skin. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts are a healthier option to those darker meats, such as legs and thighs. If the breasts are too thick, they may take longer to grill. Try the trimmed chicken breasts or you can butterfly them for quicker and easier grilling.
5. Opt for raw veggies as a side. The crunchiness of the raw vegetable can act as a substitute for those unhealthy potato chips.
6. Grill fruit for dessert. Fruits, like pineapples, peaches and plums, are great for the grill. Other options include nectarines, watermelon, bananas, pears and grapefruit. Top with a drizzle of olive oil or a little vanilla ice cream, and you’ve got a delicious and healthy dessert