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Have a Healthier Barbecue

Good-for-You Food Swaps and Recipes

As the weather warms up, you can smell the grill smoke in the air. Often times, the delectable smells come with calorie-packed eats. But, filling your plate doesn’t have to result in filling out your waistband. There are healthy alternatives to barbecue classics that will have you going back for seconds — and that’s OK!

From Sinful Starters to Nutritious Noshing

You don’t have to nibble on ice cubes before the grill starts smoking. Simple swaps in ingredients can turn traditional social snacking into healthy eating. Trail mix made with dark chocolate instead of chocolate candies not only slashes calories, but also adds a healthy dose of antioxidants to each handful. Kale chips and popcorn in lieu of potato chips cut the fat and add nutrients and whole grains, respectively. Healthier deviled eggs contain half the yokes with cottage cheese or cauliflower added, and you won’t even taste the difference!

Healthy Helpings of Sides

Those hearty companions to any burger or meat kebob are cookout must-haves, but many have as many calories as the main course. Potato salad, corn on the cob and pasta salad can all be enjoyed with less fat and regret. Greek yogurt can replace mayonnaise in most salads. A splash of lime on a cob of corn won’t have you missing butter. And whole-wheat pasta or quinoa instead of regular noodles in a pasta salad cut the carbs while adding valuable fiber. The next time you make a dish to pass, try a traditional side with unexpected flavor like this pesto potato salad.

Eat Healthier Between the Bun

The star of any cookout needs no introduction — but it could be a little healthier. Burgers made with ground turkey instead of ground beef cut down on saturated fat and calories. Bison instead of beef does the same. And, when it comes to steak, tuna and salmon are hearty fish that deliver both on taste and nutrition. Poultry fans selecting white meat over dark not only lose some of the calories and fat, but also gain protein and iron. Sauces and marinades can be health offenders, too. Creamy sauces and sweet marinades can be high in fat and calories, but citrus- or spice-based varieties are healthier substitutes. This grilled chicken with white barbecue sauce recipe is a healthy and tangy change from the sweet barbecued chicken of cookouts past.

Treat Yourself to Sweets with Valuable Substance

The sweet finish to your summer meal doesn’t have to negate the healthy swaps you enjoyed leading up to it. Sneaky substitutions such as applesauce for oil, pureed avocado for fat, and flax meal for eggs drastically slash calories and saturated fat, giving you more nutritional bang for your bake. Even black bean puree instead of flour in these black bean brownies pack a powerful punch of protein into a decadent dessert.

So the next time the grill sizzles and your mouth starts watering, go ahead and take a bigger, healthier helping.