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Healthy Barbecues: Is There Such a Thing?

White Plains Hospital

June 1, 2021

Healthy Barbecues: Is There Such a Thing?

The trick to eating well at barbecues is taking the same care you would in selecting foods for your own family.

It may take a little self-discipline, but it is certainly possible to eat well at a backyard barbecue. And it may not even be a sacrifice.

Start out by choosing lean protein. Grass-fed beef is a healthy (but not inexpensive) choice, so it may not always be available. But roasting less expensive cuts of meat on a skewer can still reduce the fat content. You can also add fresh vegetables to the skewer for a well-rounded dining experience. Alternatively, if offered you can choose chicken breast or go for a turkey burger as an alternative to beef.

Or, try eating your burger without the bun. Okay, so maybe start with just half a bun. Not only are you eliminating some unnecessary carbohydrates in the bread, but you will also actually savor the taste of the meat. And if you’ve skipped the bun, you can treat yourself to a baked potato. Adding a little bit of butter or sour cream should not put you back too far. Or, if there is corn on the cob – did you know one ear counts as two servings of a vegetable? That’s pretty good. Just go easy on the butter and salt.

You might be surprised, but often barbecues will have healthy vegetable choices. As long as you avoid creamy dips, these vegetables are a good selection. Guacamole, especially homemade (which is really easy, here’s a recipe:, can be a tasty, healthy, and satisfying (as in “filling”) snack. And you just can’t beat those vegetable fats! Bring it the next time you get an invite.

Need some more ideas? Check out these recipes by White Plains Hospital registered nutritionist Sarah Cunningham:

Garlic and Black Pepper Grilled Shrimp

Strawberry Caprese Salad

Mango-Yogurt Pops

The trick to eating well at barbecues is taking the same care you would in selecting foods for your own family. Make a good choice of your basic courses, see that they have been prepared in the healthiest way, and eat in moderate quantities.

And remember, one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself this year is to spend time with good friends. So enjoy!

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