Summer is officially here and that doesn’t mean just hot days and poolside fun, but also means it’s BBQ season. Summer get-togethers are made better with delicious grilled items, sides, and decadent desserts, but can also include a lot of fattening foods that are unfortunately not great when you’re trying to get that beach bod.
With this in mind, here are some easy ideas and swaps you can make when you’re enjoying a barbecue but want to watch your calorie intake as well.
A lot of the easy and typically-expected bbq staples like burgers, bratwursts, and hotdogs can be full of a lot of fat, saturated fats, and calories. Plus, wrap those in a high-calorie bun with a lot of condiments and you may be consuming a 1000 calorie burger without realizing it. One of the easiest ways to avoid the high-calorie BBQ food fests is to swap out your proteins for something leaner and healthier. Try these ideas to save some calories while still enjoying a lovely summer evening bbq:
- Turkey or veggie burger patties
- Skinless chicken breasts
- Fish filets
- Ditch the bun and swap in a lettuce wrap
Amp Up Your Veggie Intake
At a barbecue, a great way to avoid eating too much of the high-calorie options is to increase your vegetable intake. Consuming vegetables that are high in fiber helps make you feel full and keeps you feeling full longer, so make sure to try the following tips:
- Snack on fresh vegetables instead of chips
- Grill vegetables for your sides – zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, peppers, and onions are great options
- Keep your veggies lighter, but still tasty with a spritz of a healthy, natural oil and a little bit of high-quality Himalayan pink salt
Don’t be Too Saucy
Sauces and condiments can be the downfall of a seemingly healthy bbq meal. High-fat condiments like mayonnaise can add a lot of calories to an otherwise low-calorie chicken breast sandwich. And, high-sugar condiments like ketchup or barbecue sauce can also up your calorie intake and make your “healthy” choices take a nosedive. By swapping out these sauces for healthier choices, you can avoid this struggle. Try the following:
- Organic, soy-free mayonnaise
- Try dried herbs and seeds to add flavor without needing a high-calorie sauce
- Opt for low-sugar or sugar-free sauce options
- Season your food with natural lemon, lime, or grapefruit juices rather than a sauce
Don’t Drink Your Calories
Barbecues are one of the best places to crack open a few beverages with friends and enjoy, but those beers or spiked seltzers can add a lot of calories to your night without filling you up. Some good choices instead of beer, ciders, and seltzers include a vodka soda with a slice of lime, a skinny margarita that has little or no sugar added, or a wine spritzer.
Sweet Treats Don’t Have to Ruin Your Diet
Having a sweet taste to end your night is not something you have to avoid when trying to watch your calories. Rather than the calorie-heavy cakes and brownies, try some grilled peaches or pineapple with a little bit of honey on top. Or, add a dollop of Greek yogurt and cinnamon to some fruit salad to make it feel like a decadent, creamy dessert. You can also make delicious, but healthy milkshakes that can still be low-calorie, low-carb and good for you.
Choose the Right BBQ Tools
To thoroughly enjoy your summer barbecues, make sure you have the right space and the right tools for the job. Comfortable outdoor chairs and unbreakable, but gorgeous drinkware and dishes can be a nice option. Plus, you want to ensure you have a grill that can stand up to the test of many nights cooking for the group. You can even outfit your grill and the outside area with a full outdoor kitchen and really spice up the bbq atmosphere.
Whatever grill options or outdoor furniture you have, with a few small changes to your bbq food choices, you can still enjoy a delicious, decadent, and low-calorie barbecue this summer. Enjoy!