Healthy Grilling Tips
As soon as summertime comes around, everyone’s anxious to get out the grill and plan the first barbecue! But you might be wondering: can healthy grilling fit into these plans?
You’ve likely worried your health and weight loss goals this year will make it too hard to enjoy the rich tastes of grilling. After all, the average barbecued meal comes in at over 1,500 calories. Enough days of that could lead to an expanding waistline over the course of the season.
Does that mean you’ll have to miss out on every grilling get-together? Will you have to be that person who avoids fun times because you can’t eat the food?
The answer is: no! You can absolutely stick to your healthy diet while enjoying a nice summer day with friends and family. And these healthy grilling tips will help you do just that and not feeling like you’re missing out on delicious food—all it takes is a few small tweaks to the menu.
Healthy Grilling Tips
Contrary to popular belief, grilling can actually be one of the healthiest ways to cook meat—if you choose the right kind. The problem is that most people opt for the least healthy options like high-fat and low-quality hot dogs and burgers. But here are some more healthy options to try:
- Choose lean cuts for your beef, poultry, or pork.
- Remove the skin from chicken before you grill.
- Use extra-lean ground beef for your hamburgers.
- Use a low-fat dressing as your marinade.
- Grill cod or salmon (For those healthy fats! And don’t forget to supplement with Mimi’s Omegas to ensure you’re getting the best absorption of essential fatty acids).
- Use ground turkey patties instead of beef.
- OR skip the meat altogether and make veggie or grilled portobello burgers! The options these days are amazing.
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Healthify Your Side Dishes
You might think the main meal is the biggest concern regarding extra calories, but most people actually run into trouble with side dishes. For example, most people bring potato salad or coleslaw as sides for barbecues. These are tasty, but they can add up to as much as 15 grams of fat in each serving!
Instead, try out some healthier, leaner options like:
- Grilled bok choy.
- Grilled veggie kabobs (choose your favorite combinations!).
- A spinach salad with a light vinaigrette dressing.
- A healthier potato salad or coleslaw that uses egg-free or low-fat mayo.
- Grilled corn on the cob (using spices instead of butter).
- A raw veggie tray with a low-calorie dressing dip.
- Pasta salad with whole grain noodles.
These better choices for side dishes are still delicious and provide less fat and calories without skimping on flavor or satisfaction.
Now that you’ve leaned up your proteins and sides, it’s time to take a look at your drink options—because this is another area that can really contribute to weight gain.
Think about the most popular summer barbecue drinks: beers, margaritas, punches, and sodas, right? That’s a lot of empty sugars and calories that you just don’t need in order to have a good time! Instead, try out these options:
- Light beers.
- Unsweetened iced tea with added lemon or lime.
- Sodas with healthier or natural no-calorie sweeteners (like these Zevia sodas—they taste great and are sweetened with stevia!).
- And don’t forget the BEST option: good ole water! It’s the perfect refreshment in that summer heat, and it does a body good.
Replace Your Sweets
And last but not least, let’s talk about dessert. Most of us have a huge sweet tooth, but it doesn’t have to be completely ignored. Although there are true dangers of refined sugar, it’s more than possible to still satisfy your sugary cravings while eating better and trying to lose weight! You just have to get a little creative in replacing those cookies, pies, and ice cream options. Here are some great ideas:
- Using sorbet instead of ice cream.
- Grilled fruit kabobs, such as bananas, pineapples, apples, and mangoes.
- Making banana ice cream (frozen bananas blending up with some cocoa powder or other frozen fruit).
- Grilling peach halves instead of eating peach pie.
Here’s the biggest takeaway: don’t beat yourself up. Grilling season should be a time for enjoyment and good food. Just remember that these healthiest options still allow you to enjoy yourself while also treating your body to some extra fiber, vitamins, and minerals.