If consumer statistics are any indication, a lot of us evidently are hooked on dining al fresco. According to the Barbecue Industry Association, Americans cook out 3.1 billion times a year.
And of course, we love our grilled red meat. This year alone, Americans are expected to eat 7 billion hot dogs between May and September alone. Besides the wieners, beef reigns supreme as everybody's favorite barbecue entrée. In fact, according to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, beef most of it in the form of burgers is the protein of choice in six of every 10 grillings.
As tasty as all that beef might be, it also can be a truckload of fat, depending on the cut. One quarter-pound burger (regular, not lean or extra-lean) contains 20 grams of fat. Eight of those grams are from saturated fat. Eat one burger, and you consume a third of your recommended daily limit of saturated fat. Of course, nutritional guidelines call for a reduction in our consumption of fat.
So if you want to grill meats, consider leaner and/or smaller cuts of beef, and other low-fat alternatives. White-meat chicken and pork can be more healthful choices. A 4-ounce white-meat (skinless) chicken breast contains less fat (4 grams).
You also can bypass meat altogether with one of the vegetarian burgers or hot dogs on the market. Go easy on the potato and macaroni salad, too. One cup of home-prepared potato salad can weigh in at a hefty 20 grams of fat. Try munching on fresh veggies and fruit, which are bountiful throughout the summer.
To help you manage a healthier plate this summer, we've prepared a picnic for your virtual consumption. It won't cost you a calorie and no messy lighter fluid, either. To chow down, click here.