Have a Healthier Barbecue without Losing Flavor

Enjoy these healthy barbecue alternatives presented by Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital.

Photo courtesy of Northwestern Medicine
Photo courtesy of Northwestern Medicine

As the weather warms up, you can smell the grill smoke in the air. Oftentimes, the delectable smells come with calorie-packed eats. But, filling your plate doesn’t have to result in filling out your waistband. There are healthy alternatives to barbecue classics that will have you going back for seconds — and that’s OK!

From Sinful Starters to Nutritious Noshing
You don’t have to nibble on ice cubes before the grill starts smoking. Simple swaps in ingredients can turn social snacking into healthy eating. Trail mix made with dark chocolate instead of chocolate candies not only slashes calories, but also adds a healthy dose of antioxidants to each handful. Kale chips and popcorn in lieu of potato chips cut the fat and add nutrients and whole grains, respectively. Healthier deviled eggs contain half the yokes with cottage cheese or cauliflower added, and you won’t even taste the difference!

Healthy Helpings of Sides
Those hearty companions to any burger or meat kebob are cookout must-haves, but many have as many calories as the main course. Potato salad, corn on the cob and pasta salad can all be enjoyed with less fat and regret. Greek yogurt can replace mayonnaise in most salads, as can pesto for additional flavor. A splash of lime on a cob of corn won’t have you missing butter. And whole-wheat pasta or quinoa instead of regular noodles in a pasta salad cut the carbs while adding valuable fiber.

Photo courtesy of Northwestern Medicine
Photo courtesy of Northwestern Medicine

Eat Healthier Between the Bun
The star of any cookout needs no introduction — but it could be a little healthier. Burgers made with ground turkey instead of ground beef cut down on saturated fat and calories.

Bison does the same. And, when it comes to steak, tuna and salmon are hearty fish that deliver both on taste and nutrition. And lean chicken, rich in vitamins and minerals, offers protein and reduced fat. Sauces and marinades can be health offenders, too. Creamy sauces and sweet marinades can be high in fat and calories, but citrus- or spice-basedvarieties are healthier substitutes.

Treat Yourself to Sweets with Valuable Substance
The sweet finish to your summer meal doesn’t have to negate the healthy swaps you enjoyed leading up to it. Sneaky substitutions such as applesauce for oil, pureed avocado for fat, and flax meal for eggs drastically slash calories and saturated fat, giving you more nutritional bang for your bake. Even black bean puree instead of flour packs a powerful punch of protein into a decadent dessert such as black bean brownies.

So the next time the grill sizzles and your mouth starts watering, go ahead and take a bigger, healthier helping.

Photo courtesy of Northwestern Medicine
Photo courtesy of Northwestern Medicine

For more information on Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital and other locations near you, visit north.nm.org.

Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital
660 N. Westmoreland Road
(847) 234-5600 | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Pinterest

Disclosure: Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital is a Little Lake County paid advertising partner. 

About Loralie 133 Articles
When Loralie isn’t out exploring with her two pint-sized adventurers you’ll often find her in front of her computer plotting to take over the world (or at least Lake County.) She appreciates good friends, good food, expensive shoes and parents who make two lanes in the drop-off/pick-up line at school. Her spirit animal is The Hobbit. She invites you to join her on her quest for unique distractions, diversions and deliciousness in this county we call home. She is the Features Editor and Marketing Director at Little Lake County.

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