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Healthy Summer BBQ Tips

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Looking for some healthy summer BBQ tips and meal inspiration?

For those of us that aren't blessed with year-round warm weather, the return of the sun means it's time for barbecue season. Heading to a backyard BBQ when you have weight loss or performance goals can be nerve-racking at first. But, it can actually be a great place to pack in the protein and veggies if you're prepared. Here are some quick tips to making your next cookout a success (and a few of our own macro-friendly barbecue favorites)!

Our Favorite Healthy BBQ Tips

Use these macro-friendly BBQ tips to enjoy your meals and continue working towards your goals in the process.

1. Cut Back on Fats.

If you're working with lower macro targets, that probably means you have fewer fats to play with.

Try choosing leaner cuts of meat for your protein so you can increase serving sizes without packing a fat-macro punch. Hold the cheese (or bring a lower-fat alternative with you), and oily marinades. If you're looking to pack in some flavor, try out low sodium spice blends, or make your own. We have some examples below!

If you do want to enjoy higher fat foods at your back yard BBQ, make sure to keep fat a little lower through the beginning of your day so you have more to play with later. It's all about balance, right?

2. Bring your own booze substitute.

There are lots of other refreshing options other than cracking open a beer. Seltzer water with a citrus twist or La Croix will help keep you hydrated while saving room for your delicious meal.

That being said, there is definitely a time and place to enjoy a drink! You can more about tracking your alcohol macros (and grab our online alcohol macro calculator!) HERE.

In the meantime, here are a few quick tips to make your alcoholic drinks more macro-friendly:

  1. Bring seltzer water and "seltzer down" your wine or spiked seltzer. This can help stretch one drink into 2-3 and help you stay hydrated in the process. 
  2. Drink slowly! if there is a drink in your hand, you're less likely to feel tempted (or peer pressured) to grab another.
  3. Use low-calorie mixers like diet sodas, Zevia, seltzer, low-cal juices and lemon/lime juice. Save your calories and macros for the alcohol (because it will take up a ton!).
  4. Bring something non-alcoholic to sip on between drinks (and make it a goal to do so). Mocktail, anyone?

3. Be condiment savvy.

Cream-based dressings, ketchup, mayo and classic barbecue sauces are chocked full of carbs and fat. Stick to mustards, low-calorie hot sauce and reduced sugar ketchup for your meats. Dress up salads with lemon, apple cider or balsamic vinegar.

Need a low-carb BBQ sauce recipe? We have you covered!

4. Offer to bring a dish to the party.

Having a side-dish or lighter dessert option available is a great way to enjoy the night while having a 'go-to' food if options are lacking. Every host appreciates a gracious guest, and it's one less thing for them to look after!

5. Take a Lap (and Consider Trade-offs)

Before putting anything on your plate, make sure you take a lap of all the available foods. This will help you pick and choose the denser carb and fat foods you want to prioritize.

Put lean protein on your plate first, then a solid serving of veggies (try to fill at least 1/2 your plate) and some fruit for something sweet. Then, add a smaller helping of your favorite denser carb and fat options. 

Consider trade-offs as you go. If you've enjoyed a few drinks, it may mean skipping the bread. If you want to enjoy dessert, cut back on your alcohol consumption a bit. Pick and choose what is most important to you and prioritize those foods or drinks.

6. Don't be shy to scan as you go.

One benefit of the more casual backyard feast is that bottles, bags and boxes are often part of the self-serve setup. If you need to scan in a serving of crackers or double-check the content on a salad dressing - go for it!

If you're a little apprehensive to track in front of a crowd, take a picture of your plate before you start eating so you can more accurately estimate later on.

Speaking of your plate, what are some smart, healthy BBQ meals to prioritize? Here are some suggestions:

Macro-friendly BBQ options:

Lean Proteins

Here are some healthy lean protein ideas to search for (or bring) to your next summer BBQ:

  • pork tenderloin
  • chicken breast
  • inside round steak
  • Yves vegan hotdogs (1.5F/3C/8P per dog)

Simple Spinach Summer Salad

(5C/2F/4P Per serving)

  • 35g baby spinach
  • 25g sliced strawberry
  • 14g light goat cheese
  • 5g balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: chopped walnuts or sliced almonds for an extra crunch

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Veggie Skewers 

9C/2F/37P (Makes two)

    • 150g raw chicken breast
    • 20g white onion
    • 20g red pepper
    • 20g zucchini

For the chicken:
  • 15g lemon juice
  • 2 sprigs fresh chopped rosemary
  • 5g minced garlic
  • A sprinkle of onion powder
  • 10g dijon mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Steak on a Bun

20C/5F/21P

  • 85g inside round steak
  • 25g sliced beefsteak tomato
  • 5g romaine lettuce for some crunch
  • Thin burger bun- we used Pita Break 100cal Multi-Grain Bun
Steak Spice Mix
  • Coarse ground pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Dehydrated onion flakes
  • Garlic powder
  • Red pepper Flakes
  • Crushed coriander seed
  • Dill seed
Veggie Spice Mix
  • Cumin powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Chili powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Get a Taste of WAG

The WAG Crash Course is OPEN for enrollment. This 30-day course will teach you the ins and outs of macro tracking, building healthy lifestyle habits and sustaining results without restricting the foods you love. Get personalized macros from a WAG Coach, join the members-only Facebook Group and participate in quarterly Live Q&A sessions with WAG Coaches.

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Posted by Ali Macy
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Ali is a born and bred Vermonter who fell in love with nutrition and fitness in her early 20’s and never looked back. She is a coach, blog editor and Program Lead for WAG with a BA in English Literature and a Master's in Nutrition and Human Performance.

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