How can I eat healthy at a barbeque?

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There are many ways to enjoy summer barbeques while eating healthy foods! While our favorite barbeque dishes often feature red meats -- which can be high in saturated fats and can lead to increased cholesterol -- it is important to remember to include healthier alternatives. The American Heart Association recommends grilling low-fat alternatives like chicken, turkey, and fish -- removing any skin and replacing dark meat (legs and thighs) with breast meat. Choose fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, like trout and herring, but be sure that the fish that is caught using environmentally friendly practices and that it does not contain toxic contaminants like mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). To view a list of the safest fishes, download the pocket guide for your area from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

If you choose to eat red meat, the American Heart Association recommends purchasing cuts that are labeled “loin,” “round,” “choice,” or “select.” Be sure to trim the fat off before preparing, and use a rack so the fat drips away from the food.
It's not time to put away the grill just yet. Use these final days of the summer grilling season to add protein to your diet with lean meat and poultry.

What constitutes lean?
  • Look for cuts that include the words "round," such as top round or bottom round, or "loin", such as sirloin, tenderloin and top loin. Flank steak is also a lean cut.
  • Making hamburgers? Look for options labeled 95 percent lean ground beef.
  • When choosing poultry, select skinless cuts.
  • If you have a fattier cut of meat, make it leaner by trimming off visible, solid fat before grilling.
Leave room on the grill for some veggies, too. Late summer favorites include grilled corn on the cob, eggplant, carrots and beets.

Continue Learning about Eating Habits and Nutrition

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.