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5 Healthy Ways to Tweak Your BBQ

You don't have to munch on celery and carrots to eat healthy at summer barbecues.

Summertime brings blissful outdoor excursions and relaxing get-togethers with family and friends. It also calls for the most glorious three-lettered acronym in food: B-B-Q. Sun-soaked summer afternoons aren’t complete without the presence of barbecue ribs, sweet and tangy sauces, smoked meats and juicy cheeseburgers. BBQ perfectly encapsulates summertime and sunshine, but poor food choices spell a less than desired three-letter word. Enjoy yourself this summer without gaining unwanted pounds by grilling up and serving healthy BBQ options.

Low-Calorie Marinades and Sauces

The bold flavor combinations of marinades and sauces often perfect the summertime grilling experience, but store bought BBQ sauces and pre-made marinades are typically loaded with excess fat and sugar content. Use simple combinations of Worcester sauce, chili sauce, tomato paste and molasses with spices of choice for low-calorie marinades and sauces. Concocting your own summertime sauces will help you stave off unneeded calories and craft your grilling expertise.

Grilled Vegetables

Healthy portions of green vegetables are an undeniable staple of an active, healthy lifestyle, but vegetables are easily ignored during peak grilling season. Take note of your vegetable intake this summer and grill up your favorites. Eggplant, zucchini, and asparagus offer high levels of vital nutrients and can be caramelized on the grill as a healthy substitute for sides of fries and potato chips. Corn on the cob and marinated red onion also make for tasty summertime vegetable options.

Lean Meats

Barbecues are essentially non-existent without some form of red meat, but the quality of the meat you select to showcase at your backyard bonanza this summer could make a difference between flat stomachs and love handles. Regardless of if you choose ground beef, tri tip or flank steak, be sure to purchase the leanest variety possible. What you spend in dollars is what you will save on your waistline. Before slapping a slab of meat on the grill, remember to cut any visible fat. This will help you eliminate unnecessary calorie intake and maximize your consumption of lean protein.

Fruit for Dessert

Overindulgence is a guilt-free norm during summertime BBQ extravaganzas, but that shouldn’t motivate you to eat two slices of chocolate cake after downing half a pound of ribs. If you find your food cravings to be unsatisfied after the main course, eat fruits like strawberries and pineapple instead of reaching for the dessert knife. This will help you increase your vitamin intake while avoiding an eventual sugar crash.

Water Over Beer

“Please drink responsibly” isn’t merely a commercial slogan for popular beer brands; it’s a rule for consumption at all social events, including your upcoming family barbecue. Enjoy yourself this summer, but bare in mind the calorie content of your favorite brew, especially when spending entire afternoons in the sun. Consume a 12-ounce glass of water per each alcoholic beverage you consume. This simple strategy for alcohol consumption will help you remain hydrated while also decreasing empty calorie intake, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

[Image via Getty]

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