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Active Cookbook: Your Favorite BBQ Recipes Made Healthier
What's a Barbecue Without a Burger?
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Burger ideas stretch the gamut from gourmet grind-your-own beef, pork and veal blends to already-formed frozen beef patties that are easy to plop on the grill. Some recipes even suggest tucking cheese or butter in the center of fatty ground meats for added flavor and ooze appeal, not to mention topping these beefy beasts with bacon, fried onion strings or deep-fried pickles. Clearly, the calories, fat, sodium and cholesterol can add up fast.
Healthy Bacon Barbecue Beef Burger
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While vegetable and ground turkey or chicken provide healthier, tasty alternatives to other meaty mixes, these burgers can dry out and fall apart more easily on the grill. To make a leaner burger, you don't have to lose the beef. This healthier recipe contains all of the mouth-watering elements one envisions in a burger—beef, bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce—without the guilt.
Burger Buddy: Onion Rings
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According to caloriecount.com, 8 to 9 deep-fried onion rings contains 276 calories and almost 16 grams of fat—7 grams of which are saturated. Save yourself nearly all of the fat grams and more than half of the calories by baking onion rings instead.
Baked Onion Rings
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Full of crispy crunch without the weighed-down, greasy aftertaste, panko-crusted baked onion rings provide all of the flavor of their deep-fried counterparts with far fewer fat grams and calories. Use this easy recipe to give a crackery crunch to nearly any vegetable.
BBQ Side Dishes
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Typical side dishes at barbecues tend to be mayonnaise-laden potato, macaroni, coleslaw, Waldorf or broccoli salads; pork-studded sugary baked beans; mac and cheese; and chips and dip. If you eat these fattening, salty or sugary foods alongside a heavy burger, ribs or steak, the calories pile on very quickly.
Slimmed-Down BBQ Side Dish Recipes
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Obviously fruit salad, raw veggies (skip the high-fat ranch or blue cheese that normally sits in the middle of a crudit? platter) or grilled vegetables make healthier side dish options, but sometimes you just want to eat a high-carb, creamy or cheesy dish. Avoid putting yourself or your dining guests in a dietary dilemma in the first place by making the following healthier versions of these classic American recipes.
Hidden Calories: Spreads and Dips
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Condiments add flavorful zing to recipes and cooked foods; without American staples such as mayonnaise, ketchup, barbecue sauce and ranch dressing, many recipes, such as hamburgers, turkey sandwiches and pulled pork, would be bland. But, store-bought versions of these condiments are often packed with sodium, sugar, preservatives and a host of chemicals that are hard to pronounce.
Make Your Own Condiments
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It takes more time and effort to create your own sauces, but the result is healthier, fresher, better-tasting condiments. Best of all, it's easy to tailor your homemade sauces to compliment whatever you're serving them with. For example, if you're making Asian-inspired shrimp burgers, spread a thin layer of homemade mayonnaise spiked with a bit of grated garlic, half of a Thai bird chili, a splash of fish sauce, lime zest and fresh cilantro on the buns.
BBQ Dessert: Brownies
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The typical brownie recipe calls for 1 to 4 sticks of unsalted butter, 4 to 6 whole, large eggs and 1 1/2 to 2 cups of sugar. Translation: tons of calories for a few moments of fudgy satisfaction. While there's nothing wrong with an indulgence here and there, you can still get your chocolate fix without overdoing it.
Low-Fat Brownie Bites
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After a big barbecue meal, the last thing you need is a high-calorie, cloyingly sweet dessert. Instead, exercise portion control with one or two bite-sized brownies. You'll get a comforting, but not-too-sweet chocolate fix without stuffing yourself with a fattening treat.