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Low Fat Summer Barbecue

Everyone loves a barbecue, but if you’re on a low fat diet and trying to lose weight, they can be a nightmare! A lot of standard BBQ food is full or fat and calories. So dieters attending a barbecue have a few choices. They can give in to temptation and blow their diet for the day or they might resign themselves to just eating the green salad someone made in an attempt to include at least a little bit of healthy food on the menu.

So, if you enjoy barbecues but are hesitant about partaking of the food offered, host your own backyard meal and offer a variety of foods that are appropriate for those looking to reduce their calorie intake but can also be enjoyed by your friends that aren’t on a diet.

Begin by dispensing with the hamburgers and hot dogs. While you could certainly serve the low-fat versions of these foods – like veggie burgers or light hot dogs – they’re just not the same and your guests are bound to be disappointed. Instead, go for something totally different and start some new barbecue traditions with your friends and family.

Seafood is always a good bet, though any kids at the party may turn their nose up at this option. (You can have other kid-friendly foods available for them.) Some types of fish or seafood are perfect for the grill and can really stand up to the heat. Salmon and tuna can be cooked right on the grill while other selections, like halibut, should be prepared in a grill basket. You can marinade them with light sauces or simply sprinkle with lemon juice and seasonings, like dill. Shrimp is also ideal. Marinate them with light soy sauce and place them on skewers to cook. You can add pineapple, maraschino cherries, or pieces or pepper or onion to the skewers as well. Yum!

If you’re not a seafood fan, chicken is always a logical choice when you’re trying to cut down the barbecue calories. Boneless, skinless breasts are best and they can be cooked with simple seasonings or grilled after being marinated for about 30 minutes. Serve them by themselves or on a whole grain role. As with shrimp, you can also put chicken pieces on skewers with fresh veggies and cook them in a grill basket.

Once you’ve chosen the main event, it’s time to think about the side dishes. The side dishes at a barbecue are often full of calories because they include lots of mayonnaise. But if you really love potato or macaroni salad and cole slaw, you don’t need to eliminate them all together. Make your own using low-fat mayo or a mayo substitute, like plain yogurt.

Be sure to offer a large attractive green salad, not one with just lettuce and tomatoes. Add strawberries, slivered almonds, a little goat or bleu cheese, and offer a light, citrusy vinaigrette dressing to go with it.

By far, however, veggies are the best low-fat side dish available for a barbecue. You can cook a variety of sliced seasoned vegetables in a grill basket, including summer squash, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and much more. If you don’t have room on the grill, make them in the oven on the broiler setting.