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Healthy Memorial Day Grilling Options


Smell that? It’s every backyard patio, city balcony and rooftop deck firing up their grills – and getting ready for a classic Memorial Day BBQ. The question is, how do health-conscious folks indulge in a pastime known for fat-packed “lard dogs” and grease-bled burgers?

Considering that just one serving of the aforementioned stalwarts account for 30 percent or more of your daily saturated fat value, I’ve decide to throw down the health gauntlet. It’s time for our BBQs to get lean and mean – here are my favorite ideas.

The Meat  

While hot dogs are a delicious example of edible Americana, they are also rubbery tubes of meat paste packed with sodium bicarbonate and corn syrup. Sound healthy? We didn’t think so. Here are some substitutes that will get you the nostalgia fix without feeding you carefully modulated fat scraps.

  • Organic Chicken Hot Dog – They taste great, are casing-free and generally have a fifth of the saturated fat of a regular beef hot dog. 
  • Organic, Uncured Turkey Hot Dog – Similar super-low fat values, half the calories of a beef hotdog, and even less sodium and cholesterol than the chicken dogs (though not as much protein).

Regular beef burgers are packed with blubber, even more saturated fat than hot dogs, and enjoy gleefully jacking up your cholesterol levels. Here are some solid substitutions.

  • Turkey Burger – A delicious replacement that cuts your fat intake and calories by 40-50 percent, and retains the positive protein boost. Add a traditional mix of lettuce, tomatoes and onions, and you’re good to go!
  • Black Bean Veggie Burger – About 70 percent fewer calories, 70 percent less regular fat, and little to no saturated fat. Top with caramelized onions, or if you’re feeling adventurous, mango-avocado salsa.

The Sauce 

Ready to slather on the BBQ sauce and ketchup? Make sure to get sauces low in sugar and sodium. Why? Excess sugar has been linked to obesity, and diets high in sodium are risk factors for high-blood pressure (and more). Find a brand that offers a decreased percentage of both.

The Buns 

Go for whole-grain hot dog buns and whole-grain hamburger buns. Not only are they high in fiber and low in artificial flavors and preservatives, but they’re about one third the caloric cost of pretzel buns.

This Memorial Day, you can finally have your cake (or BBQ, for that matter) and eat it, too. Enjoy!

healthy food
Healthy Eating
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