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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Grill Season is Here

We are days away from Memorial Day and the unofficial start of grilling season. In Florida (where I am), it is just another sunny warm weekend. But for many of you it may be the first time you brush off the grill since last fall.

The standard spread at a cookout can be a disaster for the waistline, but the good news is that it doesn't have to be.

  1. Go lean. Hamburgers don't have to be taboo. Get lean ground beef or ground turkey breast. The lean stuff may stick a little bit, so spray the grill first with some cooking spray. Chicken breast without skin is always a good lean choice. Hot dogs can also be lean if you look for reduced fat or fat free dogs.
  2. BYOB. Burger, that is. If you are concerned that the burgers are going to be dripping in grease, bring your own pack of lean beef to the party. Or opt for a pack of veggie burgers!
  3. Skip the salads...the heavy mayo salads that is. Coleslaw, macaroni salad, and potato salad are popular BBQ sides but not only are they extraordinarily high in fat and calories, they have a very short "table life" if they sit on the buffet for a few hours in the heat.
  4. BYOS. Salad, that is. Since you are skipping the heavy mayo salads, you can bring your own healthier version of salad. Fruit salads are refreshing and you will be very popular with the kids when you show up with a nice big bowl of cut up fruit or fruit kabobs (large pieces of fruit on wooden skewers). Lettuce salads and pasta salads are also great ideas if you use lots of veggies and light or fat free dressing. You can add some whole grains to the day with a whole wheat pasta salad or my favorite, a quinoa salad.
  5. Get corny or baked. Corn on the cob is a favorite in my family and baked beans are another very healthy option for a side dish.
  6. Get naked. Please don't take your clothes off, but plate up your burger or chicken breast without the bun. Going bunless will save you at least 150 calories and you will get plenty of carbs from the side dishes.
Photo courtesy of D'Arcy Norman
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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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