Spice Up Your Summer BBQs and Picnics


Want to add healthy sizzle to your summer barbeques and picnics, without sacrificing taste? It’s possible, thanks to a dizzying array of ingredients and ideas stirring in America’s melting pot.

Don’t worry, this doesn’t necessarily mean giving up your favorite foods or slaving over a complicated recipe.

“You can have a traditional BBQ and accommodate all your friends with the same basics — the burgers, meat, chicken, salad, and corn on the cob — and season it with a variety of different toppings and accompaniments,” explains Lisa Dorfman, MSRD, a national spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association (ADA), and author of The Tropical Diet.

A Cornucopia of Choices

Most mainstream grocery stores have powdered seasonings, salsas, sauces, spices, drinks, fruits, and vegetables from all cultures that are easy to serve with barbeque and picnic favorites.

Options include:

  • Middle Eastern or Mediterranean calcium, eye, top round, bottom round, round tip), top loin, top sirloin, and chuck tooth. There are plenty of healthy options for desserts.

    Exotic fruits are obvious selections. Try passion fruit, pomegranate, carambola (starfruit), cherimoya, or lychees.

    You can eat fruits as is, baked, or in fruit salads, juices, smoothies, and sorbets.

    Here are other suggestions for desserts and drinks:

    • Stay cool with the halo-halo, a Filipino concoction of crushed ice, sweet red beans, jackfruit, coconut meat, sweet yam, and milk.
    • Use nonfat or low-fat milk in recipes. In Dorfman’s book, she offers a low-fat version of the traditionally high-fat Latin dessert called Tres Leches. Nonfat versions of milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk are used. Chopped kiwi is also added to the batter, and the cake is topped with fresh strawberries and mandarin oranges.
    • Take a swig of the South Asian lassi, which combines nonfat yogurt with ice, mango pulp, salt, or sugar. The traditional lassi can be seasoned with ground-roasted cumin.