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Fit Family Challenge: Healthier Grilling Out

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Source: Wikimedia Commons / PDPhoto.org Source: Wikimedia Commons / PDPhoto.org
Here are some tips for healthier grilling out as the temperatures warm up.

Experts say a burger made with 80/20 beef has one-third of a day's worth of recommended fat, and that's before adding other typical cookout fare like macaroni salads made with regular mayonnaise. Some adjustments can help people enjoy a cook-out and stay healthy:

Choose lean meats to grill like ground turkey breast or veggie burgers instead of beef and be sure to remove chicken skin
Try grilling veggies like summer squash, zucchini, peppers, onions, eggplant and corn on the cob – even fruit like watermelon and peaches
Serve whole wheat pita triangles or crunchy veggies like carrots, celery and broccoli instead of chips
Salsa, hummus, black bean dip and low fat ranch are healthier dipping choices
Make salads with low fat mayo, plain yogurt or mustard instead of regular mayo or sour cream and cut the amount in the recipe by half
Build a healthy sandwich by using whole grain bread, lean meat, low fat cheese and lots of veggie toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, bell peppers, cucumber slices and pickles
Serve fresh fruit like watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon and pineapple as a sweet ending to your meal
If you offer sweets, keep the portions small and only break them out at the end of the meal

Experts also warn of the importance of keeping food safe: hot food should be kept hot and cold food should be kept cold to prevent dangerous bacteria. Hand sanitizer can also be a "must-have."

For more information, check out the handout “packing the perfect picnic” on the MUSC Urban Farm website: http://academicdepartments.musc.edu/urbanfarm/resources/Packing%20the%20Perfect%20Picnic.pdf

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