"The best thing about barbecues is that you can have your food grilled without anything added," said Chef Anthony. "Just squeeze a little lemon or lime and it's going to make a huge difference."
Barbecuing the healthy way
Grilling outdoors and enjoying food with family and friends on a pleasant evening is inarguably one of the best parts of summer. However, many of the traditional barbecue menu items such as potato salad, cheeseburgers and hot dogs are loaded with sodium, sugar and extremely high calorie counts. Most of these classics are also filled with refined grains, oils and excess salt, all of which are Pritikin’s caution foods – proven to increase the risk of obesity and/or many health concerns.
Avoid barbecue sauces when grilling and instead opt for lemon and lime zest and spices.
The good news however is that there are plenty of ways to enjoy a good old fashioned barbecue without being unhealthy. With a few tricks, tips and healthy recipes, you can indulge in tasty alternatives to your favorites, without all of the added sugar or calories. One of the most important ways to keep your barbecue healthy is to stay away from traditional barbecue sauces, advised Pritikin’s Chef Anthony. These sauces are sneaky ways of adding up fat and sugar on your plate real quick. His best tip? Stick to the grilled food and work with zests and spices instead of heavy sauces.
“The best thing about barbecues is that you can have your food grilled without anything added,” said Chef Anthony. “Just squeeze a little lemon or lime and it’s going to make a huge difference.”
Healthy alternatives to your favorite classics
Using natural, whole foods along with citrus zests, spices and concentrates is a great way to whip up delicious and savory alternatives to many of the barbecue classics. A few simple changes and substitutions to traditional summer dishes could mean a world of difference for your waistline, heart and overall health. Choose foods that are low in calorie density such as corn on the cob without the butter, fresh fruits and vegetables and always opt for lean sources of protein. Check out these three mouth-watering dishes that put a healthy spin on some of your all time favorites:
Pritikin BBQ Sauce
Homemade sauces are especially helpful if you’re trying to cut down on sodium. A typical serving of store-bought BBQ sauce, for example, has 500mg of sodium and often more. Our recipe has just 15mg.
Cook ginger, garlic, jalapeno, apple juice and vinegar over medium heat in a large stockpot.
Reduce until consistency of syrup, about 12 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour.
Enjoy on any of your barbecued burgers, meats or side dishes.
Sweet Potato and Apple Salad
Instead of using heavy mayonnaise and white potatoes, opt for fat-free sour cream and sweet potatoes, which are a great source of potassium, dietary fiber and many vitamins. With the added diced apples, this salad is the perfect balance of hearty, crunchy and sweet.
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice and dice sweet potatoes in desired size and shape.
Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes, until soft and slightly crisped.
Allow sweet potatoes to cool.
Add apples and sweet potatoes to a large salad bowl.
In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, sour cream, cinnamon, apple juice concentrate and vanilla extract. Mix well.
Pour over apples and sweet potatoes and combine ingredients well.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
Garnish with pineapple chunks and sliced strawberries if desired.
Chicken Veggie Burgers
Instead of the classic hamburger or cheeseburger, loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat, opt for this delicious chicken veggie burger that has just 1/2 gram of saturated fat! Sandwich this burger between two pieces of whole grain bread or eat it without, and you’ve got a Pritikin-approved barbecue dinner.
*Pritikin All-Purpose Seasoning can be made at home by blending all equal parts (except paprika, use half) granulated onion, granulated garlic, salt-free lemon pepper seasoning and paprika. It can also be purchased online.
Use a food processor to chop chicken until well ground.
In a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat, sauté onions, celery and carrots for about 3 minutes, until translucent. Let cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine ground chicken, sautéed vegetables, jalapeno, garlic and Pritikin All-Purpose Seasoning.
Combine until fully incorporated. Mix in bread crumbs if desired.
Use your hands to form 8 4-ounce patties.
Grill patties, searing on each side until they’ve reached preferred doneness.
* Make your own Pritikin All-Purpose Seasoning by blending granulated onion, granulated garlic, salt-free lemon pepper, and paprika, all equal parts except paprika (cut paprika in half). You can also purchase our chefs’ Pritikin All-Purpose Seasoning online. Or call 800-327-4914 and ask for the Pritikin Store.
There are plenty of healthy ways to enjoy your favorite barbecue foods.
Other good choices for protein include skinless, white-meat turkey and chicken due to their low count of cholesterol and saturated fat, but high protein count. Fish, a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, is another perfect choice for grilling. Grilled salmon, scallops and trout are tasty options and with an insider’s tip from Chef Anthony, you’ll have the most healthy and flavorful piece of protein at the party.
“You can marinate the meat in any of the Pritikin dressings before grilling,” he advised. “That will inject a lot of flavor.”
Low in calories, sugar and sodium, these fresh salad dressing prepared by the chefs at Pritikin are perfect for adding zest and seasoning to any of your grilled foods. Flavors include Tuscan Sunshine Italian, Tangy Mustard, Heavenly Horseradish Balsamic and Outrageous Asian.
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Since 1975, 100,000+ people have come to Pritikin. We are the longest-running, most scientifically documented health resort in America.
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