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What's the healthiest thing you can have at a barbecue?

Jun 18, 2013

John Unverzagt
FT Maple Grove


"Stick to lean meats and all-natural foods like grass-fed cows. Some easy ways to keep the barbecue healthy are to season the food instead of using sauces. Cook up some vegetables on the grill instead of so much meat. Make marinades instead of buying them; they usually are healthy and taste great. There are a lot of healthy alternative recipes online that can help you make great marinades and sauces."

Kelly Blackwin
FT Santa Monica


"Use the leanest cuts of beef and pork and trim any visible fat before cooking. You can really add up calories with extra stuff like cheese, mayo and bacon. Stick with ketchup, mustard and vegetables as toppings. Guacamole and salsa with baked chips are a good option, too. The fat that's in guacamole is a healthy fat, while salsa is a low-calorie option that contains vegetables.

Also, eat watermelon. Fun to eat and good for you, too, a healthy wedge of watermelon has just 86 calories. You also get less than one gram of fat, and a decent amount of vitamin C, beta carotene, and lycopene. What's more, watermelon's a great thirst-quencher; it's 92% water.

Donna Abenante
FT East Bay


"The best thing someone attending a barbecue can do to eat healthy is to not go hungry. The best options at the barbecue would be vegetables like broccoli, cole slaw, and turkey burgers, preferably without the bread."

Josh Bate
FT East Greenwich


"Some things you can enjoy at a BBQ guilt-free -- or semi-guilt-free -- include but are not necessarily limited to all or most proteins. When I say proteins I don't mean hot dogs and sausage! I mean chicken, lean beef, pork chops and if you're lucky, turkey burgers.

"Do your best to avoid the enriched buns these foods will often be smothered between and try to avoid loading up on condiments. Stick to mustard, relish, and use a fresh tomato slice instead of sugar-loaded ketchup.

"As for carbohydrates it's best to avoid the potato and pasta salads. Not just because of the carbohydrate content, as carbs are not the enemy.  But often these salads are loaded with salts, mayonnaise, and oils. These are not easy foods to track as far as calories because each serving size and recipe varies. Stick to corn on the cob, watermelon, and green salads."

Liz Vlajic
FT Virginia Beach


"I would say fresh grilled veggies or chicken and veggie kabobs!  Green and red peppers, onion, squash, tomatoes, zucchini or Brussels sprouts with marinated chicken!"

Gwen Beckcom
FT Mission Hills


"Use an assortment of fresh veggies from the farmer's market! Toss in a little extra virgin olive oil and seasoning and grill them on the BBQ. Grilling vegetables really brings out their delicious flavors. My favorites are asparagus, mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini squash, yellow squash & sweet potatoes. Makes such a beautiful display of color, too!"

Dr. Janet Brill
FT Nutritionist


"Vegetables!  Vegetables don’t have to be a bright in color to be nutrient-dense. For example, the brown and white Portobello mushroom is an edible fungus filled with beneficial vitamins and minerals such as potassium, copper, selenium, and disease-fighting phytochemicals.

"Portobello mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked like any kind of mushrooms.  But the size of the Portobello mushroom is an easy replacement for a burger or meat on any sandwich.  Pesto is then the ketchup on a Portobello burger. You can make a simple pesto with heart-healthy walnuts instead of expensive pine nuts and fresh basil leaves, olive oil, and garlic to spread on your burger!"