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Who is having a barbecue for Memorial Day tomorrow?! I love BBQ’s! The food, being outside… I just love it all! The only downside of barbecues is all of the unhealthy foods that can be there. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoy a good hamburger or hot dog sometimes, but my husband and I BBQ A LOT. Because of this, I have found different ways to make our BBQ’s healthier. With a few easy substitutions, our BBQ’s are “healthified” and delicious! If you are barbecuing for Memorial Day, try a few of these simple tricks to make your own barbecue healthier.

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1. Hamburgers: Try substituting hamburgers for turkey burgers (I like Jennie-O 90% lean turkey burgers), chicken burgers (unbreaded), black bean burgers or garden burgers, or marinate and grill a boneless skinless chicken breast. If you don’t want to give up hamburgers, make your own patties out of leaner hamburger (shoot for at least 90% lean).

2. Hot Dogs or brats: try substituting hotdogs and brats for chicken or turkey brats.

3. Other meats: look for lean cuts of all meats. White meat and fish are going to be the healthiest choices, but with most meat, you can choose leaner cuts. When topping your food with bacon, or putting bacon in salads, try using turkey bacon.

4. Don’t forget the veggies! What is the beauty of veggies and BBQ’s you ask?! You can add vegetables to just about any BBQ food! Have spinach, romaine lettuce, onions, pickles, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, and bell peppers as toppings for burgers. Make a big green salad, make a big veggie tray, grill veggies (cut up your favorite veggies- I like peppers, mushrooms, onion, squash and zucchini, pour a little olive oil on the veggies and add salt and pepper and grill them on the BBQ until done), add more vegetables to macaroni salads/pasta salads, etc.

5. Fruit: incorporate fruit as a side! Summer fruit is soooo good! Cut up your favorite fruit and mix it together in a bowl, or don’t mix it at all! Have a fruit tray with fruit dip, or have fruit for dessert! I love to make “berry cups”. I put a whole bunch of berries- strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and whatever else I feel like into a cup, and top it with light cool whip. Simple, yet delicious!

6. Buns: nope I’m not talkin about your behind haha when choosing buns, rolls, or bread, go for 100% whole wheat. The whole wheat option tastes great and adds tons more nutritional value to your meal than the white buns or bread.

7. Substitute spreads: try substituting normal mayo for light mayo when making salads, and when using it as a spread. Also, try using plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.

8. Cooking with butter: when using butter to cook with, try to use a healthier fat. Olive oil or canola oil both have much healthier fats and are better for your health.

9. Choose your drinks wisely: REMEMBER- calories from drinks add up quickly!! And so does the sugar. Go for water. You can spice up your water by putting fruit in it. Try lemons and oranges or strawberries and raspberries in your water. Not only does it look pretty, but it tastes good and is good for you!

10. Chips: instead of the normal fried chips, try ones that are baked. They really are great! If you are a chips and salsa kind of family, try baked tortilla chips and try making your own salsa! For a fresh salsa recipe, click here.

I hope you have fun making your own healthified BBQ!

-McKell 

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