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5 Tips For A Better Barbecue

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Avoid carcinogen formation in animal proteins (wild salmon, organic grass-fed beef, organic turkey dogs) by marinating in spices and doing most of the cooking indoors. Add nutrients and color to salads with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, purple cabbage, carrots, etc. Coat veggies with oil and grill with skins on. Pair whole grain chips with non-carb dips (guacamole, salsa). Reserve alcohol for dessert.

Flags, freedom, and family are the 4th of July buzzwords that everyone knows and loves. Another one is barbecue. But “healthy barbecue” likely, not so much.

We’ve all been there – we prepare a dish, proudly tell our posse “it’s healthy,” and they shoot out of the kitchen faster than a firework.

We love healthier choices, but we don’t want to ruin the BBQ just by using the word “healthy”…“a better BBQ” sounds so much, well, better.

Better BBQ Tips You Would Love

Here are some tips to make your BBQ healthier err…better.

1. Choose Quality Proteins

When we’re talking about BBQ protein sources, think BBQ = Better Be Quality. Your options include wild salmon, organic turkey dogs, and organic grass-fed beef burgers.

For animal proteins, to reduce the formation of carcinogens, marinate in spices and do majority of cooking inside then just finish them off on the grill taking caution to avoid charring and blackened. As it’s not good for the cook or for the eater.

On the other hand, grilled vegetable proteins like black bean or quinoa mushroom burgers do not form these cancer-causing agents so try out some of these delicious qualitarian vegetable burgers.

2. Build A Better Salad

Potato, coleslaw and pasta “salad” tend to be all white, and low on quality nutrients. Consider these instead.

  1. Mix together spinach, sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts for a colorful better nutrient-balanced salad.
  2. Try a colorful slaw with purple cabbage, ginger sesame dressing, carrots and peanuts.
  3. Curried cauliflower.

3. Fruits And Veggies On The Grill

Grilled veggies are a great addition to salads or as a side or as a better bun (like sweet potato slices).

Keep the skin on vegetables when you grill to get the most nutrients and a smokier flavor. Make sure to brush items lightly with oil to prevent them from sticking to the grill.

Fruits that are ideal for grilling should be barely ripe and include watermelon, pineapple, apples, peaches and pears. Drizzle with a bit of raw honey for a light and healthy dessert.

4. Healthier Chips Choice

We don’t deny the chip, but there are better nutrition choices. Choose chips from whole beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes or grains (like rice) – that’s why we bite into better chips – like those from whole grains or beans.

Pair them with non-carb dips like guacamole, hemp pesto, spiced cottage cheese or salsa for nutrient balance.

5. Count Your Cocktails And Mocktails

When plotting your BBQ eats remember that the sips – alcohol, punch, even Arnold Palmers and coconut water – count towards your nutrition intake.

If you want an alcoholic drink(s), then it should be your dessert – even if that means you skip the ice cream or apple pie – or you can swop it for your punch or lemonade or coconut water for the carb in your meal (that means bye bye bun).

Also try adding fresh fruit and herbs to flat or sparkling water to increase the flavor without the calories.

The party doesn’t have to end early but the eating needs to have time limits.

BBQ Caution: make sure to eat your portion, and then be enjoy the non-food activities. You can come back for another nutrition pit stop about three hours later.

In the meantime, enjoy water – add lemon and herbs for extra flavor, and crunch on non-starchy vegetables like jicama, snap peas, tomatoes, cucumbers and more.

Ashley Koff RD

Ashley Koff RD is an internationally-renowned registered dietitian who believes better nutrition is simple and is on a mission to help people achieve their personal health goals by providing understandable and highly effective tips and strategies. A self-described “qualitarian,” Koff emphasizes the value of quality nutritional choices in achieving optimal wellbeing, and has developed online tools such as The AKA Qualitarian Nutrition Plan and The AKA Personal Shopper to help people make better-quality choices. Besides maintaining a Washington, D.C.-based clinical practice, Koff is a much-sought-after expert in the media, social media, and is a go-to dietitian for the nation's leading doctors.

Ashley Koff RD

Ashley Koff RD is an internationally-renowned registered dietitian who believes better nutrition is simple and is on a mission to help people achieve their personal health goals by providing understandable and highly effective tips and strategies. A self-described “qualitarian,” Koff emphasizes the value of quality nutritional choices in achieving optimal wellbeing, and has developed online tools such as The AKA Qualitarian Nutrition Plan and The AKA Personal Shopper to help people make better-quality choices. Besides maintaining a Washington, D.C.-based clinical practice, Koff is a much-sought-after expert in the media, social media, and is a go-to dietitian for the nation's leading doctors.

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