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Registered dietitian suggests healthy take on barbecuing

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EAU CLAIRE — Dripping burgers, mayonnaise-laden potato and pasta salads, and don’t forget dessert. The summer barbecue season can be a challenging time for those watching their weight or even for those wanting to maintain a healthy diet. But don’t despair, says one Mayo Clinic Health System registered dietitian.

“When we think of barbecues, what generally comes to mind isn’t necessarily healthy,” says Diane Dressel, coordinator for the health care organization’s weight management program. “The good news is that you can have a wonderful gathering of friends and family that also can be healthy.”

Dressel suggests lean cuts of meat, skinless chicken breasts and fat-free hot dogs. Portobello mushrooms, potatoes and other root or sturdy vegetables perform well on the grill, she says.

“And don’t forget your fruits and vegetables,” she says, noting the readily available fresh produce the season has to offer. “Try freezing grapes and watermelon and serving them frozen as a treat.”

Grilled sweet potato fries

  • Sweet potato (with skin)
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • Cut sweet potato into ½-inch fries and sprinkle with paprika and garlic salt. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet into a 400-degree oven or on a grill for 30 to 40 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes.

Bavarian Cream Dessert

  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 package (1.4 ounce) sugar-free vanilla instant pudding
  • 1 cup of vanilla sugar-free low-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup of fat-free sour cream
  • Strawberries sweetened with artificial sweetener
  • Mix milk and pudding together. Add yogurt and sour cream. Add strawberries and top with whipped topping.

Additional low-calorie recipes are available at mayoclinichealthsystem.org. Weight Management Services offers free class orientations weekly in Eau Claire and Rice Lake. Call 715-838-6731 for upcoming classes.

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