Barbecues with friends and family are one of our favorite summertime activities — not to mention, prime noshing opportunities. Summer’s a long season, so keep up your stamina by indulging responsibly with our guide to what to eat and what to avoid at your next grill fest.
This fun summertime favorite contains almost nothing except sugar, vitamin A and vitamin C — all in a pretty pink package. Research studies show that citrulline, found in watermelon, may be a factor in maintaining cardiovascular health — specifically, lowering bad cholesterol and reducing arterial plaque. Bonus activity: See how far you can spit the seeds.
Healthy recipe: Watermelon feta mint salad from LeFork.com
At a summer barbecue, there’s nothing better than biting into a freshly grilled ear of corn bursting with flavor. Corn packs a nutritional punch — high in iron, vitamin B6 and vitamin C, with almost no sodium or cholesterol to speak of. Control your calorie count by slathering on a limited amount of butter and salt.
Healthy recipe: Grill roasted corn salad with goat cheese, cherry tomatoes and walnuts from TheHealthyFoodie.com
Although high in sodium, baked beans are low in saturated fat and loaded with dietary fiber and iron. Eating beans can help lower cholesterol, and their high protein content provides energy, without the toxins found in protein-rich meat. In the interest of keeping baked beans on the healthy side, avoid products that include bacon.
Healthy recipe: Berry beer baked beans from 101Cookbooks.com
This classic dish has been making appearances at barbecues since man invented fire. It’s usually loaded with fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol — in other words, it’s your heart’s worst enemy.
Healthy recipe: No-mayo Mediterranean-inspired roasted potato salad from HellaWella
We all know how one chip turns into five, then 10, then 15 in snacking situations. Not to mention an even more menacing culprit: creamy dips brimming with fat and bad cholesterol. Bad cholesterol can clog arteries, increasing your risk of heart attack, heart disease and stroke. So skip the chips and dip, and munch on some raw veggies instead.
Healthy recipe: Sriracha hummus from ThymeBombe.com
Supremely delicious, this Southern favorite is also loaded with bad stuff. Its caloric, fat and cholesterol content are highest when the skin is on, so opt for skinless fried chicken, if you can. In good news, fried chicken does provide solid amounts of protein and vitamin B6. Take a small piece — we won’t tell anyone.
Healthy recipe: Rosemary lemon oven-fried chicken from TwoPeasAndTheirPod.com