Load your plate with the typical high fat BBQ fare — cheeseburger, one beef/pork sausage, large scoop macaroni salad, handful of chips, 16oz glass of lemonade and apple pie a la mode — and your body gets hit with 2,260 calories, 126 grams of fat, 48 grams sat fat, and more than 100 grams sugar. YIKES!
And here’s a depressing thought, in order to burn these calories off, you’ll have to do one of the following activities:
- Walk on a treadmill at 3.5 mph for 6.3 hrs
- Stay on the elliptical machine for 4.7 hrs
- Hit the pool and swim the breast stroke for 4.7 hrs
- Grab your gloves and garden for 6.3 straight hours
- Spend 9 straight hours scrubbing and straightening your home
But there’s good news; thanks to deliciously healthy, lower-cal alternatives, you can still enjoy a BBQ fiesta without calorie overload. Here’s my four-step rundown:
Step One: Swap high-fat burgers for lean turkey, bison and veggie burgers
Typical hamburgers are made from high-fat, marbled ground beef. Not only are they high in calories, but they’re also loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat.
Instead, choose bison burgers, turkey burgers and veggie burgers.
Step Two: Swap hot dogs and beef/pork sausages for poultry sausages
Hot dogs and beef/pork sausages are typically 70 percent fat, with a fair amount coming from the saturated type. Instead, choose lean poultry sausages. Grocery stores carry a variety of brands which grill up just as juicy and delicious as the full fat beef versions. Best part, the math is completely reversed: these low-fat sausages provide up to 70 percent high-quality protein and less than 30 percent fat.
Step Three: Swap fatty steaks, ribs, and chicken wings for skinless poultry, fish and seafood
It’s obvious we run into the same high-fat problem with marbled beef, but some people don’t realize that chicken wings are almost ALL fat. Save yourself excessive calories and fat by switching to skinless chicken breasts and fish.
Step Four: Swap calorie-laden side dishes (think macaroni and potato salad) for grilled vegetables
There is nothing more delicious than grilled vegetables. They’re low-calorie and loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber. Easiest prep: lightly coat vegetables with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt or salt substitute and preferred seasonings (ground black pepper, garlic, Cajun powder, etc.). Toss on the grill and you’re set. Some favorites include eggplant, peppers, portabella mushrooms, onions and zucchini. Also, grill corn on the cob, white and sweet potatoes (a bit higher in calories, but well worth the nutrition return).
For more information on healthy eating, visit Joy Bauer’s website at