Healthy barbecues

There’s still time to squeeze in a few more evening BBQ’s before the summer hits, but try not to pile on the pounds while you’re at it.

There’s still time to squeeze in a few more evening BBQ’s before the summer hits, but try not to pile on the pounds while you’re at it.

We gave Toby Smithson, a dietitian at the Dietetic Association in the US, the menu for our evening soirees, and she showed us how to slash fat, calories and sodium.

Hamburger

For your patties, Smithson says to use at least 90 per cent lean beef or turkey meat. ‘You can add an ingredient like salsa to add some juice to the burger,’ she says.

Another tip: In place of pickles, load up on veggie-based sides such as tomatoes and cucumbers for less sodium content.

Hot dogs

‘Hot dogs are high in sodium (420 milligrams) as well as fat (11 grams),’ Smithson says. Healthy alternatives include veggie dogs (zero fat, 290 milligrams of sodium) and light beef franks (seven grams of fat, 460 milligrams of sodium).

Potato chips and dip

Smithson advises replacing those fattening chips with raw vegetables and scooping into a low-fat dip made with fat-free sour cream. If you can’t resist chips, opt for baked ones with salsa instead of a cheese-based dip.

Corn on the cob

‘As is, corn on the cob has no fat,’ Smithson says. ‘If you’re adding melted margarine, use it sparingly to help cut down on the fat and calorie content.’

Potato salad

Lower the fat content by stirring in reduced-fat mayo and extra veggies in the recipe.

Fruit salad

‘Fresh fruit is already a healthy choice, containing no fat,’ Smithson says. She suggests mixing things up at your cookout by grilling fruit for dessert. Brownies and ice cream: By now, it’s common knowledge that you can reduce the fat and calories in brownies by replacing the fat source with apple sauce, but Smithson says prune puree is another good fat substitute. Bonus: Prunes are a good source of fibre, which helps decrease the risk of heart disease and obesity.

Soda

Regular soda offer calories with no nutritional value (a.k.a. empty calories), so cut back with sugar-free sodas.

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