Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the start of Summer and BBQ season. While I'm all for indulging every now and then, as after all we are only human, it's actually very easy to do a healthy food makeover of traditional barbecue food.
Here are several ways to accomplish your Memorial Day barbecue healthy food makeover:
1.Trade traditional hot dogs for products such as Morningstar Farms Veggie Dogs--each is 80 calories and just .5 grams of fat, 0 grams of cholesterol and 11 grams of protein. Could you chain eat these and not do damage to your figure? You bet (not that I am recommending this of course). Grill them and add mustard and sauerkraut and you will not know the difference!
OR: substitute an extra lean turkey hot dog--but read the label carefully, many turkey dogs are not made with the leanest cuts and could be just as fattening as a traditional beef hot dog.
2.Trade traditional beef burgers for Boca Burgers(or your favorite soy-based or veggie burger). To me, the soy-based most closely mimic the real thing vs. veggie burgers, but they are both healthier choices. The original Vegan Boca Burger is only 70 calories, .5 grams fat, 0 grams trans fat or saturated fat and packs 13 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber into that tasty burger. Costco sells the restaurant-size larger ones like you wold find at Denny's and the calorie content is still only 100 calories!
OR: substitute a turkey burger as the next best thing, but again check the label of the ground turkey to make sure you are getting 97-99% fat-free extra lean turkey (like from The Turkey Store brand) or if buying a package look at that closely to make sure you are getting the leanest possible turkey burger.
3. Ditch the potato salad and cole slaw--both are full of fatty mayo even though they seem light. Use Baked Lays, Baked Ruffles or any variety of baked snack as a side dish instead and save tons of fat and calories.
4.Swap white flour hot dog and hamburger buns for whole wheat or whole grain--make sure you are truly getting whole wheat by reading the label and seeing 100% whole wheat or stone ground whole wheat with a good fiber content of 3 - 7 grams per bun. I like Oroweat (Arnold on the East Coast) 100% whole wheat hot dog and hamburger buns with their 6 grams of fiber!
TIP: If you go to Oroweat.comand click on special offers, you can get a coupon sent instantly to your printer for any Oroweat purchase. Healthy bun alternatives and savings--love it!
5. Swap regular cheese for fat-free cheese--enjoy that cheeseburger makeover, but don't ruin it by adding full-fat cheese on top. Use a fat-free brand like Borden's fat-free American cheese and save calories and fat. Plus, it melts beautifully!
Overall, have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day weekend! And don't forget to make it an active one--take a walk after the BBQ!
--Melanie R. Jordan, Author of Have Your Cheeseburger And Keep Your Health Too!
"Healthy eating with favorite comfort foods...it's deliciously possible!"