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Nutrition tips: Nutritional trade-offs for grilling season feasts

There are plenty of options for cutting calories as well as sub­stitutes for some of the higher-calorie options.

“If you’re not ready to replace your entire plate with healthy alternatives, you can still sig­nificantly cut down on calories and fats by blending your fa­vorites with some lower-calo­rie options and alternatives,” says Lona Sandon, Assistant Professor of Clinical Nutrition at UT Southwestern.

Be realistic, she added. Fat free does not necessarily equate to lower calorie intake and the lack of flavor of some substi­tutes might actually lead peo­ple to want to eat more.

Offer taco salad bowls instead of burgers, substitute lean ground turkey and beans for beef or cold cuts, offer subs with lots of salad-style fixings and use less cold cuts, or grill some vegetables to help fill the plate. In addition, pay attention to how much and how many portions you’re taking.

Below are some nutritional al­ternatives:

Wings: For chicken wings, take the skin off, bake or grill in­stead of deep-frying. Consider grilling chicken pieces instead of traditional wings. Make your own hot sauce without the but­ter and use low-fat versions of cream cheese, sour cream, and blue cheese, or substitute plain Greek yogurt.

BBQ: Try vinegar-based sauc­es instead of those with high brown-sugar content. Mix chicken and beef on your plate to help lower overall calories. Offer kebab mixed with veg­etables instead of traditional steak.

Ribs: Try leaner beef ribs in­stead of pork ribs, which are usually fatter. Try baby back in­stead of normal ribs. Consider brisket instead because you’re likely to eat less.

Burgers: Try using your favor­ite spices and rubs on veggie, turkey, or soy burgers to cre­ate a similar flavor with fewer calories, or blend hamburger with ground turkey or ground soy. Try beef jerky to get the beef flavor.

Bratwurst/hot dogs: Bratwurst usually has more calories than lean hotdogs. Look for 100 per­cent beef franks. Also try tur­key or soy franks. Use wheat buns or tortillas.

Tips provided by UT Southwestern