Healthy Living: Better-for-you BBQ tips

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During the summer months, there will be plenty of barbecues and picnics to enjoy and there are simple tips to follow if you want to have a healthier event.

Amanda Frankeny RDN, LDN with the Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Network shared her tips for a better-for-you barbecue.

First, think outside the bun, Frankeny says to try whole wheat or whole grain buns, small 6 to 8-inch tortillas for tacos, lettuce or cabbage wraps, or top a salad with the BBQ meats.

As for the meat, try leaner cuts of meat, and punch up the flavor.

Ground turkey breast burgers, chicken breasts, pork chops or tenderloin, flank steak, shrimp, and other seafood are leaner foods to enjoy and leaner doesn’t have to mean less flavor.

Frankeny suggests marinading the meats with your favorite mix of spices, herbs and sauces. Baste the meat, or brush with BBQ sauce while cooking.

As a final means to add some tang, serve meat with a topping of reserved marinade (that hasn’t touched the meat), spicy sauces, or fresh salsas.

In addition to meat, fire up the grill for produce.

Marinate vegetables, adding them to kabobs or grill as a side. Frankeny says mushrooms, asparagus or corn are delicious this way!

She also mentioned that fruit caramelizes over fire. You could roast pineapples, plums, and peaches with a brush of honey for an amped-up dessert.

Finally, veg out.

Frankeny suggests changing up your classic sides by loading them with vegetables. Potato salad with carrots, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes make color pop and give some crunch!

While in the ABC27 kitchen, Frankeny whipped up a side dish her family loves, broccoli salad.

With a few simple swaps, Frankeny’s dish has higher protein and fewer calories compared to traditional broccoli salad.

Greek Yogurt Broccoli Salad
·        3 small heads broccoli (cut into bite-sized florets)
·        1 medium onion (chopped)
·        15-20 cherry tomatoes (quartered)
·        ½ cup sunflower seeds (or walnuts)
·        ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
·        ½ cup bacon (crumbled)
·        ½ cup and 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
·        1 teaspoon olive oil
·        2 tablespoons mayo
·        3 tablespoons sugar
·        1-2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
·        Salt and pepper to taste (optional)

1) Add vegetables, seeds, bacon, and cheddar cheese into a large bowl
2) In a smaller bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, mayo, sugar and vinegar.
3) Add dressing to broccoli mix. Toss to coat all vegetables. 
4) If needed, add salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition: 225 calories and 5 grams protein per serving

– Amanda Frankeny , RDN, LDN

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