Healthy BBQs: What to Choose, What to Avoid
The summer BBQ is a tradition for warm weather gatherings. For those of us working on our healthy living goals, walking in to a picnic table filled with food can seem like a challenge – but CalorieKing members are the masters of planning ahead so we can meet our goals.
We thought it was time to share our healthy choices with you!
8 oz. of lean T-Bone Steak, no salt (grilled weight yields 4 oz. lean meat):
Cal: 270 Fat: 12g Sodium: 80mg
6 oz. of Pork Spare Ribs (from 1 lb. raw weight), including honey BBQ marinade:
Cal: 480 Fat: 52g Sodium: 980mg
Cal: 410 Fat: 40g Sodium: 900mg
Hamburgers, hot dogs and sausages all have very similar calorie counts when looking at comparable serving sizes. The big difference? The sodium. Hot dogs and sausages can have up to 780mg of sodium – even if the serving size is smaller than a hamburger. The sodium can make you so thirsty, you eat and drink more than you’d like!
The best choice for a BBQ? Kebabs! With a light marinade and a combination of meat and veggies you are sure to get a better mix to fill you up.
3 oz. chicken breast, no skin:
Cal: 110 Fat: 3g Carbs: 0 Sodium: 60mg
6 chicken wings, meat and skin and honey BBQ marinade:
Cal: 440 Fat: 22g Carbs: 44g Sodium: 1320mg
Cal: 330 Fat: 19g Carbs: 44 Sodium: 1260mg
With chicken, remember the skin and marinades can be your downfall – even if your serving is a tiny little chicken wing. Skin and heavy, salty marinades can pack a punch. Again, we love kebabs for a healthy choice!
1 medium corn on the cob (no salt or butter)
Cal: 60 Fat: 1g Carbs: 2g Sodium: 0mg
1 cup pasta salad
Cal: 394 Fat: 22g Carbs: 2g Sodium: 580mg
Cal: 334 Fat: 21g Carbs: 0g Sodium: 580mg
You won’t be surprised by the amount of calories and fat you’ll find in sides prepared with mayonnaise or butter. As for sodium? Potato salad and baked beans have loads of hidden sodium. Anything that is pre-packaged could have loads of it so check your labels.
Our best choice for a BBQ side? A simple vegetable salad, with a dressing on the side only adds up to 20 calories per cup. Not bad!
Snacks and Chips:
Raw Vegetables (four strips of carrots, three broccoli florets)
Cal: 28 Fat: 0g Carbs: 6g Sodium: 0mg
1 oz. Nacho Cheese Doritos (approx. 12-13 chips)
Cal: 150 Fat: 8g Carbs: 17g Sodium: 180mg
Cal: 122 Fat: 8g Carbs: 11g Sodium: 180mg
Amazing how much the calories and sodium can add up before you even eat your dinner! Just bear in mind that corn and potato chips are loaded with fat and salt – head for the veggie platter every time!
Salsas and Dips:
1/4 cup tomato salsa, from a jar
Cal: 20 Fat: 0g Carbs: 4g Sodium: 400mg
1/4 cup creamy ranch
Cal: 120 Fat: 10g Carbs: 6g Sodium 380mg
Cal: 100 Fat: 10g Carbs: 2g
While you can save calories by choosing a vegetable based dip such as salsa, guacamole or hummus be aware you’ll find a fair amount of sodium in these pre-prepared options. When you can, make your own dips and you can control the amount of salt. And of course, limit your creamy choices which can be higher in fats.
12 fl. oz. Diet Soda
Cal: 1 Carbs: 0g Sodium: 50mg
8.5 fl.oz. Energy Drink
Cal: 113 Carbs: 28g Sodium: 200mg
Cal: 112 Carbs: 28g Sodium: 150mg
Surprised to see sodium in your soda? Remember to read those labels! Is the cooler full of soda bottles? Check the serving size; the calorie count generally is for one serving but bottles often contain two! In this case notice the energy drink has a smaller serving size, but still costs you more in calories, carbs and sodium!
The best choice for quenching your thirst? Water! If ice water isn’t your thing, try adding a slice of fresh fruit to flavor it as you sip. Another good option is fruit juice – it is slightly less calories plus far less chemicals and additives.
12 fl. oz. Light Beer
Cal: 105 Carbs: 6g Sodium: 10mg
3.3 fl. oz. glass Margarita
Cal: 153 Carbs: 7g Sodium: 580mg
Cal: 50 Carbs: 1g Sodium: 570mg
We know you love those margaritas – just watch the salt and alcohol content which can be extremely high for their smaller serving size compared to other alcohol choices. If you choose to have a margarita – ask for it on the rocks with no salt.
If do indulge in alcohol, remember it can lessen our inhibitions and often our careful planning for healthy eating gets forgotten. Plus, remember alcohol is a higher calorie choice with little nutritional value – meaning they are empty calories. If you want to indulge, space out your drinking and go slow. Drink a glass of water for every glass of alcohol you have.
Most of all, remember to have a designated driver or call a taxi for a responsible ride home.
10 oz. wedge watermelon
Cal: 86 Fat: 0g Carbs: 22g Sodium: 0mg
1 plain piece cheesecake (1/6 of whole cake)
Cal: 257 Fat: 18g Carbs: 20g Sodium: 170mg
Cal: 171 Fat: 18g Sodium: 170mg
Sure, brownies, ice cream and those Jell-O desserts are delicious! Try just having a taste, but filling up on the best of what summer has to offer: fruit! Watermelon is a BBQ classic and many fruits are excellent when placed on the grill! Don’t let the freshness of the season pass you by!