Backyard BBQ’s are such a fun, low cost way to get the family and friends over to enjoy good food and a good time. Macaroni and Cheese, potato salad, buns and assorted meats are usually great items to add to the menu. However, what about with your gluten-free friends, that vegetarian brother or the countless people on a diet avoiding your amazing food? Barbecuing can definitely be done on a healthier scale, and below are a few tips you can use to get you there.
The standard American recipe for one cup of potato salad yields almost 400 calories, which for most people on a strict diet is way too much. Luckily, you don’t need to leave this stable side dish off the menu. Keep your potato salad, but use a fat free sour cream and a fat free yogurt as your base instead of mayonnaise. You are still free to add cucumbers, celery and onions to this dish. Changing this simple ingredient lowers the calories to about 50 per cup. That is a significant difference, and you lose nothing in the taste department.
The carb amount involved during a barbecue is insanely high, but there are plenty of ways to get around them. The first, and the most popular, would be a romaine lettuce wrap instead of the bread bun. Unlike regular lettuce, romaine lettuce is 17% protein. This means you can lower the carb and calorie intake, but increase your protein. In addition, you’ve now also appealed to your gluten-free friend. If you want a really fancy way to get rid of the bun, you might also want to try using a Portobello mushroom as a bun.
Another way to ditch the buns would be to make skewers instead of sandwiches. Still a food you could eat with your hand while wandering around the backyard to mingle, but with the potential to be way more healthy. Barbecue chicken skewers can be made with chicken, zucchini, summer squash and a few sweet or hot peppers. If you marinade the chicken with the vegetables in barbecue sauce for a few hours before putting them on the grill, the flavor will come out amazing.
Choosing the Meat
This one is possibly the easiest. Map out the meats you plan to serve, and choose the lean versions of each. If you decide to cook some steaks, choose a cut that contains less fat than others. If you’re going for burgers instead, bring home the package that contains the least fat. Eating healthy means the smart decision has to be made before the bad food even makes it into the house. Additionally, going for turkey burgers or chicken will lower your fat and calorie intake.
Macaroni and Cheese
A good baked macaroni and cheese side dish will easily run you over 400 calories per cup. Not to mention that the combine of carbs and dairy products are really unappealing. This is definitely one of those dishes that just needs to be replaced. Cauliflower mac-and-cheese is pretty delicious, and saves you from removing the cheesy dish. One cup of this will only run you about 250 calories. Alternatively, consider grilled asparagus, butternut squash and eggplant would make a great replacement side dish.