5 Foods to Avoid at the Barbecue—and What to Try Instead

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Memorial Day has come and gone and we all know what that means—summer is here to stay! It’s the season of carefree days lounging poolside enjoying a balmy breeze and a good book or heading to the hills for a challenging hike or bike ride. Whatever you do to enjoy your summer is totally great with us. Just make sure you take it all in because as our pal Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

One thing we all seem to love about summer is the barbecue. There’s something about grilling food that gets us outside to connect with nature and (hopefully) with one another. If you’re like 60% of Americans, you will enjoy a barbecue or two this summer. But not everything you’ll face has your best interests in mind. Don’t wait until you show up with your veggie tray to decide what you’re going to avoid. And no, we’re not referring to Uncle Ray, we’re talking about what awaits you on the veritable smorgasbord of the buffet table.

When you’re trying to stay focused on healthful eating, here are just a few things to avoid at the barbecue along with some helpful substitutions.

  1. Appetizers. They’re comin’ in hot! Wings, cheese balls, chips, and more will hit you right as you walk in the door. Save your calories for the main event and try chatting it up with your friends instead. But if you must enjoy an appetizer, try these Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps.
  2. High calorie/high sugar beverages. These sneaky, sugar-loaded drinks will add up fast. Bring your Trimstix with you instead. Better yet, drink some before you head out to help you fight off the cravings from the start.
  3. Potato Salad. It’s a classic, we know. If you must eat it, look for a healthier alternative, like a recipe with vinegar and olive oil instead of mayo. Or, try this Low-Carb Chicken Salad instead.
  4. Cheeseburgers. Break free from this tradition and help your family try something new. These colorful Grilled Steak Skewers not only look beautiful but pack a punch of delicious vegetables and flavorful protein.
  5. Desserts. It all leads up to this—the final test. Come prepared with your own dessert. Bring some of these delicious No Bake Chocolate Cookies to satisfy your sweet tooth without undoing all your choices.

You can walk away from the barbecue with your head held high, knowing that you came prepared, still enjoyed yourself, and hopefully helped influence those around you to also make healthier choices too.

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