Everyone's favorite time of year...
Nothing is better than a sunny summer day, laying out by the pool, and enjoying a good BBQ with friends and family. With a BBQ comes a lot of food and with that food comes plenty of added sugar, salts, calories, and fat. This can make it challenging for someone who is trying to eat healthy. However, there are plenty of ways to still enjoy your BBQ without ruining your diet. Choose better quality foods, make the healthier choices, and stick to lower calorie options:
Applegate Farms Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dogs
Oscar Meyer Select Beef Hot Dogs
Applegate uses lean, preservative free meat with more protein, less calories, and less fat than Oscar Meyer
Grass Fed Organic Beef (95% Lean)
Traditional Grain Fed Beef (85% Lean or less)
95% lean over 85% cuts out a nice chunk of fats, which cuts out unnecessary calories. Grass fed beef is also much better for your health, then conventional meat. The meat coming from grass fed cows provide much more heart healthy omega-3s.
Stubb's Original Barbecue Sauce
Sweet Baby Rays Barbecue Sauce
High fructose corn syrup is one of the main ingredients in most BBQ sauces which is why the calories are significantly higher in these brands over Stubb’s BBQ sauce. Stubb’s packs in a ton of flavor without all of added salts and sugars.
Lay’s Oven Baked Potato Chips
Lay's Classic Potato Chips
Yes, the oven baked have a little more sugar then the classic chip, but overall, they are less calories for more chips, less sodium, and have a much simpler ingredient list. Classic chips are super salty, oily, and fried where the oven baked chip is baked so there is about 65% less fat.
Banza Chickpea Pasta
Traditional White Pasta
Chickpea pasta is packed with iron and protein, unlike regular pasta. Most conventional pasta are just providing you with the simple, fast digesting carbs that don’t fill you up for long without any noteworthy nutrients.
Truly Spiked Seltzer
Mike's Hard Lemonade
1-11oz. bottle of spiked seltzer contains only 100 calories, 1 gram of sugar and 5% alcohol. For the same size bottle of Mike’s Hard you are getting more than double the calories PLUS about 30 grams of sugar! Truly does not use any artificial ingredients or flavoring while Mike’s is loaded with them.
Moscow mules are filled with sugar and even worse, most are made with high fructose corn syrup! Make a healthier mule using kombucha. You still get that sparkling taste PLUS kombucha is a probiotic. Mix 2 parts Gingerade kombucha with 1-part vodka and add muddled lime and mint.
Bud Light Lime
Bud Light Lime is not only refreshing and perfect for a BBQ or poolside, but it wont cause you to get that uncomfortable bloat. It is only 116 calories with 8 grams of carbs and 4.2% ABV. Though a Corona isn’t much higher in calories, coming in at 148, the carb count is just about double with just a little more alcohol by volume of 4.6%.
We all want to enjoy our summer and not have to worry about counting every calorie we consume through food or drink. We worked hard leading up to the summer to look and feel our best, so while we don’t want to feel so restricted, we don’t want to throw all our hard work away. You can still enjoy yourself this summer, have BBQ’s, go to the beach, cheat and have some ice cream here and there, but when you have the option of choosing one over the other, make the healthier choice every time. You won’t regret it.
Varsity House Nutritionist
Try these healthy recipes at your BBQ:
A refreshing drink without all the added sugar and only about 100 calories
2 ounces TY KU Sake (any dry cold Sake will work)
1 splash citrus seltzer
1 citrus wedge (lemon, lime, or orange)
Combine first 3 ingredients in a glass over ice and add a squeeze of citrus. Gently stir and garnish with citrus wedge. Enjoy!
Summer Pasta Salad
Using chickpea pasta for a better quality carb and better sources of fats, this salad is packed with summer vegetables and is a perfect starter to your next BBQ
1 pound dry Banza chickpea pasta
1 small yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 small red bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 small orange bell pepper, seeds removed and diced
1 large seedless cucumber, chopped
1 (12 oz) jar artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup store bought balsamic dressing (use your favorite brand)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped basil
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain, then rinse with cold water to cool. In a large bowl, combine pasta, peppers, cucumber, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes. Pour the balsamic dressing over the pasta salad and gently stir to combine. Add the feta cheese and basil and stir again. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Chill until ready to serve.
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