Chances are you're already making plans to break out the grill for Memorial Day weekend. But before you do, there's something you should know. The average person eats around the same number of calories at a single summer barbeque as doctors recommend for an entire day.
So in an effort to save you some calories as you head into swimsuit and shorts season, we have some ideas to cut the calories in some of your favorite summer foods.
Brats, macaroni salad, and potato salad are some of the staples of the summer snacking season. But did you know these barbeque foods can be bad for your waistline? In fact, the average summer barbecue adds up to close to 2000 calories.
"That's a lot of running if I'm going to eat 2000 calories in a serving," Kym Osterberg said.
While many people consume a lot of calories during barbeques, Dietitian Joanne Shearer says you can actually eat very healthy.
"This is 300 calories right here, one-third to one-half cup of potato salad, and I'm sorry but only half a brat," Avera Heart Hospital Dietitian Joanne Shearer said.
Instead of a brat and potato salad combo, you can grill up veggies and a turkey tenderloin for the same amount of calories.
"In the summertime, it can be dangerous with the summer barbecues because it's a time where we like to grab the steaks and brats," Shearer said.
Another idea is to swap the one-third cup of macaroni salad for an entire plate of tabbouleh salad for 150 calories.
"When you're going to a barbeque, the first thing that people will think about is your mayonnaise salads. Those can be really loaded with calories with all the extra fat from the dressings," Shearer said.
It's not only important to pay attention to dressings, but also sauces. A small plate of pasta alfredo has the same amount of calories as a large plate of pasta primavera. Still, Osterberg admits it's difficult to think of a barbeque without the brats.
"It's comfort food. It's what you know. It's what you grow up with. It's what makes you feel good," Osterberg said.
The key to summer success, Shearer says, is something to keep in mind all year: a good balance is key.
"You have to pay attention to calories. But a good way to pay attention to calories is to really lighten it up with more volume from fruits, veggies and whole grains in your diet," Shearer said.
Brown Rice Tabbouleh
Serves 6 - 1/6 of recipe
3 cups cooked brown rice, cooled
1 cup parsley, finely minced
1/2 cup chopped green onions (include tops)
2 tomatoes, diced
1 medium cucumber, diced
1/2 c. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In large bowl, gently mix together all the ingredients. Toss and chill for 1 hour to blend the flavors. Before serving, toss again.
NOTE: Be sure to use a chewier type of brown rice (not instant) such as Tsuru Mai California Brown Rice
Nutrient Analysis per serving:
Calories: 130 cals
Protein: 3 g
Total Fat: 7.5 g
Saturated Fat: <1.0 g
Monosaturated Fat: 4.5 g
Omega 3 Fats: 0.5 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 24 mg
Magnesium: 23.57 mg
Potassium: 291.21 mg