Summertime and the Backyard Barbeque


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It is summertime... the time of year to get friends and family together for a backyard barbeque. So pick up your apron and fire up the grill, and then follow these barbecue basics for healthy meals now and anytime of the year.

Opt for Lean Meats

There's nothing wrong with enjoying a traditional hamburger or hotdog on occasion but these aren't the only foods that taste great on the grill. To keep calories and fat consumption in check, try burgers and dogs made from leaner cuts of meat, turkey or vegetables, such as a black bean burger or turkey sausage dog. Marinated fish, seafood or shrimp also offer a healthier grilling option when compared to fatty cuts of beef, pork or lamb.

Add Fruits & Veggies

Whether you are a vegan or not, fresh fruits and vegetables taste great when cooked on the grill. This summer try fruits like peaches or pineapple slices and veggies such as sweet peppers, onions, fennel, or summer squash. Whole leaves of hearty greens such as kale - or lettuce - or wedges of cabbage - or radicchio are delicious additions to any barbeque. If you need a meat replacement, consider marinating some firm tofu or tempeh. Either can provide a healthy alternative.

Choose Healthy Condiments

Choosing your condiments wisely can save tons of calories and reduce your overall fat consumption. Naturally, using mustard or vinaigrette is a great option to coating a bun with mayonnaise (cholesterol) or ketchup (added sugar). In addition, homemade salsa is a healthier topping than most processed chili products. Nevertheless, don't forget the fresh veggies like lettuce, tomatoes and onions. In fact, lettuce can make a great wrap for anyone who is avoiding bread.

If you opt for a steak, pork chop or lamb chop, trim the fat to reduce dripping which can produce smoke that contains carcinogenic chemicals. Equally important is to avoid eating any burnt exterior that often occurs with flame ups. There is nothing unhealthy about grilling out, just eating foods that are badly grilled.

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