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11 Better-for-You Takes on Your Favorite BBQ Staples

Don’t think it’s possible to remake your favorites in a healthier (but still delicious) way? Think again. Here are 11 recipes that do just that.

Meat And Vegetables On Barbecue Grill :: This content is subject to copyright. / This content is subject to copyright.
Meat and vegetables on barbecue grill | This content is subject to copyright.
Meat and vegetables on barbecue grill | Fabian Krause | Getty Images

Memorial Day is the unofficial kick off of summer — and all of the pool parties, beach days and outdoor barbecues that comes with it.

But all of that backyard dining takes its toll on our waistlines.

A recent British study conducted by Weight Watchers found that the average Brit consumes 3,200 calories at each barbecue (that’s equivalent to eating six Big Macs!). Researchers hypothesize that this is due to the lack of structure in the typical barbecue mealtime. Instead of sitting down to a meal as you normally would, you’re more prone to graze for hours at a time, loading up multiple plates — and enjoying a burger and a hot dog (how can you choose just one?).

A recent study found that the average person consumes 3,200 calories at each barbecue — that’s equivalent to eating six Big Macs!

Forty-two percent of those surveyed admitted to eating an average of six meat items at each barbecue. Which isn’t just alarming in terms of calories — we’re also consuming dangerously high amounts of fat in the form of burgers, hot dogs, sausages and processed meats. Not to mention, the mayo-laden sides, sugary condiments (we see you, barbecue sauce and ketchup), and that summer shandy (or three).

The easiest way to keeping calories, fat and sugar — and your summer body — in check is portion control. But, we all have to admit, once we’re faced with a barbecue spread (two margaritas deep) it’s too easy to go hog wild. Even though a third of the 2,000 adults questioned admitted they eat more food than usual at barbecues, almost half of them chose to forget how many calories they were consuming and ate as much as they wanted.

The whole portion-control thing may be easier said than done, but you can help cut back on the guilt of loading up plate after plate by rehabbing some of the worst offenders on the menu. By packing the spread with better-for-you options that cut back on the sky-high sugar and fat levels found in standard barbecue favorites, you can soothe your guilty conscience — and keep the meal from spiraling out of control.

Don’t think it’s possible to remake your favorites in a healthier way? Think again. Here are eleven nutritious recipes that keep all of the flavor you crave come summer.

The Main Event: Burgers

The burger is the mainstay of the barbecue spread. Fire up the grill and toss on one of these healthier options. They are lower in saturated fat, but rank high in creativity and flavor that will have all of your guests coming back for seconds.

Image::Grilled Salmon Burgers with Avocado Salsa
Credit: laughing Spatula|||[object Object]
Grilled Salmon Burgers with Avocado Salsa Credit: laughing Spatula Laughing Spatula

Grilled Salmon Burgers with Avocado Salsa

Image::Tabasco Chicken Burgers|||[object Object]
Tabasco Chicken Burgers What's Gaby Cooking

Tabasco Chicken Burgers

Image::Grillable Veggie Burgers
Credit: Minimalist Baker|||[object Object]
Grillable Veggie Burgers Credit: Minimalist Baker Minimalist Baker

Easy Grillable Veggie Burgers

Image::Turkey Burgers with Zucchini|||[object Object]
Turkey Burgers with Zucchini Skinny Taste

Turkey Burgers with Zucchini

Image::Healthier Slow Cooker Pulled Pork|||[object Object]
Healthier Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Kiwi and Bean

Healthier Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Image::Cabernet Portabella Burgers|||[object Object]
Cabernet Portabella Burgers Oh My Veggies

Cabernet Portabella Burgers

Your Favorite BBQ Sides

No barbecue is complete without the quintessential sides. We're talking coleslaw, macaroni salad and slices of juicy watermelon.

Image::Greek Yogurt Garden Macaroni Salad with Cheddar|||[object Object]
Greek Yogurt Garden Macaroni Salad with Cheddar Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Greek yogurt garden macaroni salad with cheddar

Image::Grilled Corn & Zucchini Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette|||[object Object]
Grilled Corn & Zucchini Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Minimalist Baker

Grilled Corn & Zucchini Salad with Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette

Image::Cilantro-Lime Grilled Watermelon|||[object Object]
Cilantro-Lime Grilled Watermelon The Stay at Home Chef

Cilantro-Lime Grilled Watermelon

Image::Simple Seedy Slaw|||[object Object]
Simple Seedy Slaw Cookie and Kate

Simple Seedy Slaw

Image::Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges|||[object Object]
Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges Camille Styles

Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges

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