Healthy grilling and barbecuing

Healthy barbeque tips for all barbeque lovers.

The sun is shining; birds are chirping; every seed is awakened. The spring has come! Barbeque is a perfect way to relax and spend quality time with family and friends while enjoying the spring. Michigan State University Extension provides some suggestions to help you plan a healthier barbeque.

Meat lovers: what to eat?

Substitute red meats, such as pork, beef and lamb and processed meats, like hot dogs, ham, sausages and bacon. Instead, grill lean cuts of meat and healthier proteins, such as skinless chicken, turkey breast and fish. High consumption of red meats can increase your risk for some cancers and heart diseases, according to the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. Remove any charred portions of meat.

Colorful plates? Yes!

Make your plate colorful, just like the spring! Add a variety of in-season fruits and vegetables to your plate. These plant foods can not only help you maintain a healthy weight, but also are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins that can help you improve your overall health. Onion, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, pineapple and eggplant all grill well and make healthy additions to your plate.

Serve cool drinks and side dishes

Instead of sugar drinks, serve your family and friends fruit-infused water. Try combinations:

  • Grape and orange
  • Grapefruit and rosemary
  • Grape, strawberry and lime
  • Grape and pineapple

If you want something even cooler, try making frozen fruit smoothies. They are awesome refreshments with no added sugar! Serve crisp vegetables like cucumbers with low-fat dips as side dishes.

MSU Extension offers education programs where you can learn about appropriate food portion sizes and healthy meal preparation. For more information visit

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