Lighten up your summer BBQ

Summer is in full swing and it’s time to get your grill on!

Garrett got loose with the camera.

It’s finally Friday (does anyone else feel like that was the longest. week. ever?), and I’m thinking about weekend and Fourth of July barbecuing. Of course here in Colorado–where it seems the whole state is on fire–we are on a red flag burn ban, so unfortunately our charcoal grill is in a time-out. For those of you who are free to fire it up, here’s how I recommend keeping calories in check:

  • swap the beef in your burger for turkey, chicken, salmon or veggies. Turkey can be tricky because it dries out easily and falls apart on the grill, so keep a close eye on it. We loved this yum-a-licious tandoori chicken burger from Dinner: a Love Story.
  • if you can’t give up your beef, at least leave off the cheese, which will save you about 100 calories.
  • try some bun alternatives, including whole wheat english muffins, whole wheat pita pockets, or crispy lettuce leaves. If the thought of a bunless burger leaves you aghast, you could at least take the top of the bun off, slicing the calories in half. Or, do some sleuthing at the grocery store, searching for a smaller bun with fewer calories.
  • think outside the bun entirely, and venture into the world of fish, veggies, and chicken. Grilled peppers, mushrooms, corn-on-the-cob, and squash are all fresh alternatives to meat, especially when marinated or sprinkled with dry seasonings. Chunks of fish on skewers, or a nice fillet grilled to perfection, pair nicely with veggies. Chicken, well, you can figure out what to do with chicken, just watch the sugar content in your favorite BBQ sauce.
  • skip the mayo-heavy potato and pasta salads and try a lighter cole slaw or veggie-based salad.
  • eat a dog–a hot dog. Hot dogs are lighter than you might imagine. Get a run-down of the healthiest hot dog choices.
  • don’t eat the chips. You already know this.
  • stick to fresh fruit, low-cal fruit salads, or frozen fruit bars for dessert. If you are like me, however, you will laugh at this last bit of advice. I am not a fruit fan, and fruit for dessert is the biggest joke around. Baked fruit? YUCK times one thousand. If you agree, roast a marshmallow. Though they are high in sugar and made of  . . . what, exactly, for a once-in-awhile treat, marshmallows aren’t a terrible choice. Four marshmallows have about 100 calories. Just don’t burn it. Or eat the whole bag.


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