Stay Healthy This BBQ Season

Post by Olivia Martino and Paula Jahn, Registered Dietitians and Co-Owners, Nourish Northwest









Eating at BBQs this summer doesn’t have to mean sabotaging your healthy lifestyle.  There are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself, delicious food and the company of friends.  Follow these simple tips to make the most out of your cookouts!





Choose Your Meat Wisely

  • Not all “BBQs” have to include meat!  There are plenty of satisfying vegan and vegetarian options for both main dishes and sides.  Our upcoming Summer BBQ cooking class is entirely vegan AND gluten free!
  • Avoid processed meats and meat alternatives, such as hot dogs and soy based patties.  Look for nitrate/nitrite free sausages or fresh meat, such as chicken, beef or fish.  Applegate Farms is one nitrite free brand to look for in your freezer section or  you can get your sausages made fresh by the deli.  Many veggie patties contain unnecessary food additives and are often not the healthiest options.  Instead of going for store-bought, try this recipe for  homemade black bean quinoa burgers.
  • When grilling, make sure not to char your meat.  This creates compounds that are toxic and have been linked to causing cancer.
  •  Make sure to marinate your meat in a citrus or vinegar-based marinade.  The low pH of these acidic liquids can help prevent the formation of cancer-causing compounds produced with grilling.
  • Whenever possible, chose  local, organic, grass-fed or pasture raised meat.  This will minimize your exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, will boost your Omega 3 fatty acid intake and is friendlier to the environment.

Fill Up on Veggies

  • Take advantage of the bountiful in-season produce of the summer.  This is the time of year when tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, bell peppers and so many other delicious veggies are abundant.  Fill up on these nutrient-dense, satiating foods instead of calorie-laden chips and dip.  Here is one of our favorite seasonal recipes for a Zucchini Ribbon Salad.
  • A delicious way to fill up on veggies at a BBQ is to put them on the grill.  Mark Bittman’s Kebab Generator shows some fun combinations to create at home.
  • Bring a salad or a crudite tray to the party.  Others will appreciate the healthy options.



Dish Up A Healthy Dessert

  • Make sure to eat a balanced meal before going for the dessert.  Sugar isn’t satiating and is easy to overeat when you are hungry.
  • Try grilling fruit, such as bananas, peaches and pineapples.  This makes for a delicious, sweet treat.
  • Bring on the berries!  Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries are only in season for a limited time so get them while they’re fresh!  They are so naturally sweet that you won’t miss the cake and ice cream.

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