Healthy BBQ for You

Dietitians Reveal Their Secrets to a Better-For-You BBQ

HEALTH– Good news, barbecue fans! According to ShopRite’s team of dietitians, better-for you barbecuing is as easy as firing up the grill and filling it with healthier options like lean meats, colorful vegetables and fresh produce.

“Americans love to barbecue, and our team of dietitians is excited to be offering tips, hints and recipes online and in-person, that can help anyone get more enjoyment out of barbecue season,” says Natalie Menza-Crowe, RD, MS, director of Health & Wellness at ShopRite. “We think that shoppers might be pleasantly surprised to see how many delicious healthier options are readily available at ShopRite.”

According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, recent research shows that 7 out of 10 households own a grill. Menza-Crowe says that as the popularity of grilling continues to grow, so does the variety of healthy options that are available to customers.

“If you’re a fan of burgers, think about swapping out your usual burger fare for leaner cuts of meat that are still bun-worthy. Chicken, turkey and lean ground beef are all great options. Fish choices such as tuna and salmon also make a great burger base. If you’re looking for vegetarian options, grilled veggies, portobello mushrooms or black bean burgers sandwiched between whole-wheat buns is a perfect solution that’s high in fiber and so delicious everyone will want one.”

Below are some additional tips from ShopRite’s health and wellness experts to encourage everyone to enjoy cookout season with a healthy twist.

  • Choose Healthy Proteins – We know burgers and hot dogs are summertime classics, but why not try different proteins on your barbecue menu? Skinless chicken breast is a cinch to grill on skewers as kabobs with a quick marinade. Other healthy options include pork tenderloins, tuna or swordfish.
  • Balance Your Meals – Here’s the good news: You can eat everything you love – but just remember to keep portion sizes in check. Can’t resist a cheeseburger or plate of barbecued ribs? Opt for a slider-sized burger or a half portion of ribs. Another easy tip: Break up your plate by creating sections, filling half with fruits and veggies and the other half with a healthy protein and a salad featuring healthy grains such as couscous, farro or brown rice.
  • Create Healthy Sides – Go easy on mayonnaise-based sides by offering fiber-rich options such as bean or veggie-based salads. A salad made with black beans, fresh corn, diced avocado and cherry tomatoes is a healthy fat and fiber-rich side that can be made ahead of time and enjoyed with a sprinkle of olive oil and lime juice.
  • Keep It Colorful – Filling your plate with foods that cover a range of colors is an easy way to ensure you’re getting a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Grilled red peppers and juicy watermelon contain cancer-fighting nutrients, while green fruits and veggies such as salad greens and cabbage (the key ingredient in coleslaw) contain anti-inflammatory nutrients that support a healthy heart. If you’re looking for some unexpected grillable grub, think cauliflower, avocado, cucumbers, iceberg lettuce and figs.
  • Don’t Forget Dessert! Summer pies and sweets should be enjoyed in moderation, but don’t forget how delicious seasonal fruit can be as dessert. Fresh fruit such as peaches, pineapple and watermelon takes on a whole new flavor when grilled. Serve with a scoop of frozen yogurt or low-fat ice cream on the side for a cool treat everyone will love.

For more tips and recipes on how to enjoy healthy and delicious summer barbecue tips, visit the office of your local ShopRite dietitian. To find a dietitian near you, visit www.shoprite.com.

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