Your Independence Day BBQ doesn’t also have to spell the end of your healthy eating strategy. Here, nutrition expert Chris Mohr shares his top five tips for a flavorful weekend, without any of the guilt.
1. The Low-Cal Burger Swap out your burger bun for a portabello mushroom. Simply remove the “gills” from the mushroom, brush it lightly with canola oil, toss them on the grill to cook them down a bit and in about three minutes, remove them and use the mushrooms as your bun! Loaded with nutrition, yet light on calories.
2. Switch It Up Instead of traditional hot dogs, high fat hamburgers and sausages, choose leaner cuts of beef, fish, poultry or game meats. Salmon, for example, is packed with protein and omega-3 essential fatty acids. And experiment with your condiments as well — rather than traditional BBQ sauce or mayo, try some salsa. It's delicious, it's fresh and it has even topped ketchup in some sales reports as America's most popular condiment.
3. Better Meat Use leaner cuts of beef when making a hamburger. A four ounce patty of 80/20 “chuck” will pack in around 280 calories and 18 grams of fat, whereas a 95/5 ground meat slashes almost 100 calories and cuts that fat down to about eight. Just be careful when cooking. Leaner cut cook more quickly. For added flavor, toss on some spices, like a pinch of chili powder, crack blacked pepper and a pinch of salt to add more flavor since a lot of the fat is gone.
4. Go Green Slice a variety of veggies, like squash, bell peppers, onions and any others you like — toss them with some vinaigrette and throw them on the grill. Just a few minutes each side and you’ll have a side that will surely be a crowd pleaser!
5. Healthy Slaw Coleslaw is a BBQ staple, but it’s usually loaded with fat and calories. Rather than adding mayo, swap it out and go for a fresher recipe. Here’s a simple recipe to try:
Shred about 4 cups of red and green cabbage (total)
Shred 1 cup carrots
Add 1-2 tsps of fresh ginger
2 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS sesame oil
2-3 TBS rice vinegar
Season with a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper and a dash of red pepper and voila! Sweet and spicy slaw without the heavy fat and calories.
Follow these five tips, and your guests will be singing your culinary praises for many BBQs to come.
Dr. Christopher Mohr, PhD, RD, is a consulting Sports Nutritionist for the Cincinnati Bengals and is the Sports Nutritionist for Under Armour’s TNP Training Council. He also consults for organizations such as the Discovery Health Channel, The Dairy Council, Clif Bar and Nordic Naturals. He is on the Advisory Board for Men’s Fitness Magazine and has written over 500 articles for consumer publications from Men’s Fitness, Weight Watchers to Men’s Health and Fitness. Dr. Mohr has Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Nutrition and a PhD in Exercise Physiology. He recently teamed up with top Todd Durkin to create a 21 day fat loss program, aptly titled 21 Day Fat Loss Jumpstart (www.21dayfatlossjumpstart.com).