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Traditional BBQ Cookouts Done Healthy

Summer BBQ
Healthy Alternatives for Your Summer BBQ

Yea, it’s barbeque season! But before you fire up the grill to enjoy baby back ribs, hamburgers, pork chops, hot dogs and serve those with mayonnaise-laden side dishes and rich desserts, consider how these fatty and sugary foods will affect your bikini-ready body.

A few simple, healthy substitutions will allow you to enjoy your summer party favorites guilt-free.

To show you how, ACE teamed with Jessie Price, food editor of Eating Well, to divulge healthy recipe alternatives for classic barbeque foods and interesting ideas for flavorful summer dishes.

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Taking the Devil out of Eggs
Taking the Devil out of Eggs

Price recalled her own recent party adventure. She arrived with a bottle of red wine in one hand and a tray of deviled eggs in the other.

“People were swarming me,” Price said.

Guests divulged the tasty hors d'oeuvres faster than she could join the party. Price combines yolk halves, non-fat cottage cheese, low-fat mayonnaise, chives, relish, mustard and salt in a food processor for a smooth blend. At 34 calories per serving, these eggs are half as devilish in calories as traditional recipes using mayonnaise and full yolks, while keeping their heavenly taste.

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Three-Bean Salad
Three-Bean Salad

Another favorite, the classic three-bean salad from the jar, comes loaded with sugar. We recommend making your own salad, mixing fresh green beans, chickpea beans and frozen baby lima beans or shelled edamame, and then adding a little sugar, cider vinegar and rice vinegar for taste. Spice it up with a little salt, pepper, red onions, and whole-grain mustard.

“Most three-bean salad recipes don’t include frozen beans, which is a great option, because they contain less sodium than (beans in a jar),” Price added.

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Broccoli-Bacon Salad
Broccoli-Bacon Salad

Broccoli-bacon salad is easy to prepare and can be nutritious, provided you lighten up on the bacon and mayo.

“We don’t want people to give up on bacon entirely,” Price said. “Just use a couple of slices and you still get plenty of flavor.

Mix broccoli, water chestnuts, cranberries and a little bacon with low-fat mayonnaise and reduced-fat sour cream for this creamy side dish.

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Seven-layer Salad
Seven-layer Salad

The seven-layer salad is a Midwestern classic. Made with veggies, lots of bacon, cheese and mayonnaise, this dish can easily add a “seventh” layer of unattractive fat to your midsection. A little make-over using nonfat plain yogurt, low-fat mayonnaise and reduced-fat Cheddar cheese removes many of the extra calories, but leaves the rich, creamy flavor.

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Meat on the Grill
Let’s Get the Meat on the Grill

First the bad news: Fatty spare ribs and thick pork chops aren’t on Price’s supermarket grocery list. Why?

In a recent article written by Eating Well, they highlighted the environmental and social toll of getting cheap meat, noting that few growers raise meat responsibly and humanely.

On the upside, skinless, boneless chicken breast, flank steak and buffalo meat are all great lean options; and let’s not forget fresh seafood, such as scallops, shrimp and salmon, which grill in minutes.

“I love grilling meat, and there are plenty of options out there,” Price said.

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Smokey Buffalo Burgers
Smokey Buffalo Burgers

With many chain supermarkets selling ground buffalo meat, it’s the leaner alternative to a beefy burger.

This buffalo burger recipe comes with a twist: Mix wild rice with ground meat, cheese, Dijon mustard, minced garlic and other spices for an interesting flavor. The result: The moist, chewy burger and wild rice combo not only adds vitamins and minerals, but makes for leaner portion sizes after the paddy hits the bun.

“That’s one way of telling people you can pair lots of flavor without adding calories or fat,” Price said.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommended guidelines, one portion of meat should be no more than a deck of cards or 3 ounces. The same goes for fish and chicken on your plate.

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Sausages
Sausages

With so many healthier sausages on the marketplace, it’s easy to create dogs with a bite—from zesty chicken to spicy turkey—without all the fat and extra calories from beef sausages.

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Eat Your Grilled Veggies
Eat Your Grilled Veggies

If you’re watching your weight, grilled veggies are a great way to fill you up. The USDA guidelines say filling your plate with one piece of lean protein, chicken or fish, a healthy side dish (1/2 cup of baked beans or a bean salad, for instance) and grilled veggies is the healthy way to go.

Even denser veggies, such as potatoes, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower are great for grilling. To spice them up, add a little heart-healthy olive oil, vinaigrette, lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.

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Dessert
Dessert

For dessert, try baking a healthy strawberry rhubarb pie.

Substitute the calorie-laden white flour crust with a whole wheat crust by whisking whole-wheat pastry flour and all-purpose flour, then, add a little sugar, canola oil and butter. The filling of strawberries, rhubarb, lemon juice, nutmeg and salt makes for a delicious summer treat.

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Double Chocolate Brownies
Double Chocolate Brownies at 142 Calories Each

At 142 calories each, chocolate lovers can now divulge brownies guilt-free.

The secret to preserving the goodness, without the fat and sugar, lies in the preparation: Use whole-wheat pastry flour, unsweetened chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder, egg whites, unsweetened applesauce, semisweet chocolate chips, which saves a whopping 20 grams of fat.

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For more great and healthful recipes, visit ACE’s all-new Healthy Recipes online.

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Marion Webb is the managing editor for the American Council on Exercise and an ACE-certified Personal Trainer. For specific fitness-related story ideas or comments, please e-mail her directly at marion.webb@acefitness.org.