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So…what is the healthiest barbecue food?

‘Tis the season of summer barbecue classics: burgers, hot dogs, potato salad. And don’t forget the pie, cakes, cookies…and ice cream!

While traditional warmer-weather meals tend to not always be the healthiest for you, you can still dig in without gaining weight.

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What’s the best way to attend a barbecue and actually eat? It’s about making the right satisfying choices, while skipping (or drastically reducing your portion size of) the worst ones.


Bad appetizer: Potato chips with French onion dip. A large handful of chips delivers about 150 calories and 10 grams of fat. Add to that 60 calories and 4.5 grams of fat from 2 tablespoons of dip. Tortilla chips and guacamole deliver about the same calories (about 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, plus 50 calories and 4.5 grams of fat in the guac). The problem with these snacks isn’t so much how many calories one serving is…it’s about how hard it is to stop after just one serving!

Best appetizer: Veggies with hummus. You can have a full cup of sugar snap peas for 60 calories (0 grams of fat). Add 2 tablespoons of hummus (50 calories, 3 grams of fat) and you have a nice fiber-rich, very filling snack for just a little more than 100 calories.

Main Dish

Bad main dish: A double-cheeseburger. A couple quarter-pound beef burgers with slices of cheese will set you back over 1,000 calories (and over 50 grams of fat). Skipping the cheese will save you about 100 calories. But if you love a good burger, just go for a single patty. It’s still an excellent source of iron.

Best main dish: A hot dog or turkey burger. Either of these options is lower in calories than you might think. Enjoy one on a roll or bun with your favorite toppings (with lower-cal toppings like mustard and relish) and you’ll come out around 300 calories, 17 g fat.

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