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If you’re thinking about firing up your grill near San Jose for your next backyard gathering, consider reaching for healthier choices when picking up your grilling supplies. Choosing the right ingredients for your barbecues can make the cuisine more health-friendly but still flavorsome and delicious.

Meats and Cuts

A simple way to make your next meal on the grill healthier is to choose fish and poultry over other options. Fish like trout, salmon, and herring are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and skinless chicken breasts are a delicious but low-fat choice. For pork, beef, and red meat, opt for cuts labeled loin, round, choice, or select, and trim off any fat before grilling.

Sides and Drinks

It’s important not to overlook what’s in your desserts, beverages, and side dishes. Avoid buying premade cookies and pastries for your family and guests and instead, purchase ingredients for fresh fruit salads and smoothies. Also, consider grilling fruits like pineapple, peaches, and plums, selections which are high in flavor, low in calories, and taste great on the grill. For beverages, avoid sodas and juices, and stock up on water and diet sodas. Finally, don’t forget to include something green in your menu. Choosing a salad mix instead of potato or egg salad can drastically reduce the amount of unhealthy fats served at your barbecue.

Toppings and Dressings

Traditional backyard barbecue fare tends to be high in calories, fat, and salt, and the toppings, dressings, and seasonings that you choose make up a significant portion of these unhealthy elements. When it comes to cheese for your burgers and salads, choose a low-fat or no-fat selection. To help lower the salt content of the entrées, either cut back on the amounts of teriyaki and barbecue sauce that you use or purchase low sodium varieties. Next, go for buns and rolls that are whole grain and high in fiber to have bread that is both healthier and offers better texture and flavor. Finally, take care when choosing your dressings. Many salad toppings and marinades are high in both fat and salt, so reach for reduced-fat and low-sodium options.

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