Surviving the Summer BBQ


Who doesn’t love a summer BBQ? Well, if you fall into the health-conscious category, navigating through the calorie-laden dishes can be a bit daunting. Fear not; BBQs don’t have to be all about hot dogs and sausages. Here, I’ll share a few ways for you to revamp almost any food into a healthy alternative without sacrificing taste. The next time you fire up the grill, you’ll be able to kick back, relax, and enjoy yourself without feeling guilty for digging in.

Be picky, choose lean

• Lean meats- London broil and ground meat.
• Meatless options- veggie kabobs or burgers.
• Poultry- chicken or turkey breast.
• Fish- Salmon or tuna fillets.

Skip the chips

• Don’t waste your time with chips; they’re loaded with empty calories. Reach for greens, not greasy snacks.

Don’t let ‘salad’ fool you, try a healthy side

• Avoid potato and macaroni salads, which are loaded with saturated fats, carbs and starches.
• Opt for greens, grilled veggies and fruits.
• Bake sweet potatoes or zucchini and squash ‘fries.’

Watch your Condiments

• Be wary of condiments loaded with sugar, preservatives, and corn syrup. Instead, season your dish with fresh herbs and spices, as well as sea salt and olive oil. Prepare homemade salsa, hummus, and guacamole; top your burger with a dollop of each. Another great BBQ staple is grain mustard and homemade ketchup made from agave nectar.

Train your brain for grain

• Reach for whole wheat or sprouted grains instead of white breads, which lack fiber and nutrients.

Have a game plan

• Survey the appetizers, alcohol, and the main course. When you take the time to soak up the environment, you are more than likely to reach for a smarter, healthier option instead of devouring the tempting nachos.

Lend a helping hand

• Offer to make a healthy alternative such as a vegetable medley or whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. Not only will the host be thrilled, but you’ll have a healthy option to enjoy instead of overdoing it on the not-so-healthy fare.

Find out more about nutritionist and author Amie Valpone at