For starters, you will want to take your mains to the next level. Instead of the usual burgers and hotdogs, try some chicken or turkey skewers, fish packed in foil, shrimp, or marinated firm tofu.
Make vegetables the star attraction; they should make up half of your plate. Assemble veggie kabobs with cherry tomatoes, zucchini chunks, pepper slices, and mushrooms. Cook up extra veggies to save for future meals such as pizza, pasta, or salads. That’s what we call working smart.
If you’re buying prepared food for your next barbecue, take a look at the Nutrition Facts table (NFt) to help you make informed choices.
Tip: 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV (Daily Value) or more is a lot of a nutrient. You may want more fibre, calcium, vitamin A, and iron.
For foods such as burgers, veggie burgers, or premarinated skewers, choose ones that offer more iron and lower amounts of saturated and trans-fat and sodium.
When buying whole grain buns and other breads, go for the one with more fibre and less sodium.
Marinades, BBQ sauces, and condiments (such as ketchup, mustard, relish) that are bought from a store can be high in sodium. Use the percentage of the Daily Value (DV) to choose brands that have lower amounts of sodium.
Veggies and dip are a good starter idea. Storebought dips can save you time, just remember to choose ones with more fibre and calcium, and less sodium and saturated and trans-fat.
Tip: The serving size is not necessarily the portion of food you should eat! The serving size is the quantity of food used to calculate the numbers in the NFt. Use the serving size to understand the information in the NFt. Check the serving size and compare it to how much you are planning on eating.
If you eat double the serving size, then you’ll need to double the calories and the amount of nutrients listed. If you eat half the serving size, then you’ll need to halve the calories and the amount of nutrients listed. For example, if the serving size for coleslaw is half of a cup and you eat one cup, double the calories and the nutrients listed in the NFt.
As for drinks, a pitcher of water with lemon, lime, or other fruit slices can freshen up any barbecue. If you’re buying something special, choose a drink that offers more vitamin A and vitamin C, and the least amount of sugar.
As well, grilled fruit served with plain yogurt makes for a refreshing post-barbecue dessert!