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How to Enjoy Your Summer BBQ WITHOUT the Guilt!

Summer is the time for backyard barbeques, pool parties, and family gatherings. It’s the season for savoring the great outdoors, soaking up the sun, and indulging in fantastic food. However, for those who are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, summertime festivities can wreak havoc on their diets. If you’re looking for ways to enjoy the delicious foods that come with BBQs without sabotaging your health goals, check out these tips for swapping out the bad stuff for some healthier alternatives.

1. Swap out soda and alcohol for water to stay hydrated and avoid empty calories.

One of the biggest culprits in unhealthy BBQs is the abundance of sugary drinks or alcoholic beverages. These drinks not only lead to dehydration but they’re also packed with empty calories and can quickly add up. Instead, opt for water, infused water, or unsweetened tea. Adding a slice of lemon, lime, or cucumber can give your water an extra kick of flavor!

2. Substitute vegetarian options.

BBQs usually come with the usual suspects: burgers, hot dogs, and brats. If you’re looking to cut back on meat consumption, try substituting some vegetarian options instead. Veggie burgers, tofu skewers, and grilled portobello mushroom caps are all excellent choices. You can also try making your own veggie burger patty with beans, whole grains, and nuts.

3. Incorporate lots of fruits and veggies.

Grilled veggies are a BBQ staple for a reason – not only are they delicious, but they’re also packed with nutrients! Try making skewers with colorful peppers, zucchini, and eggplant. Pineapple, mango, and watermelon can add a sweet and refreshing flavor. Try tossing your grilled veggies with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar for an extra kick.

4. Switch up the traditional sides.

Traditional sides like potato salad, macaroni salad, and coleslaw are often loaded with mayonnaise, making them not so healthy. Instead, try making your own sides with fresh ingredients. Bean salads, quinoa salads, or veggie stir-fry can be a lighter and more satisfying alternative. Homemade guacamole or hummus dip with veggies, fresh salsa or fruit salads are also great options.

Enjoying BBQs doesn't mean that you have to sacrifice your health. With a little creativity and substitution, you can have your burgers and eat them too! By incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables, swapping out meat for vegetarian options, and choosing healthier sides and snacks, you'll be able to indulge without the worry of sabotaging your health goals.

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