The 8 Worst Foods You Can Eat at a Backyard Barbecue

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These foods could sabotage the body you've worked all summer to maintain

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Plan on hitting a few end-of-summer barbecues? It’s challenging to attend a cookout and not indulge in tasty grilled burgers, smoky potatoes, fruity pies, cakes, and — a favorite for many — fried chicken.  Everything that looks good is not necessarily good for you. That’s why we’re sharing a few tips on what to avoid — and store-bought barbecue sauces are at the top of the list.

The 8 Worst Foods You Can Eat at a Backyard Barbecue

Thinkstock / WinterStorm

Plan on hitting a few end-of-summer barbecues? It’s challenging to attend a cookout and not indulge in tasty grilled burgers, smoky potatoes, fruity pies, cakes, and — a favorite for many — fried chicken.  Everything that looks good is not necessarily good for you. That’s why we’re sharing a few tips on what to avoid — and store-bought barbecue sauces are at the top of the list.

Barbecue Sauce

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Check the label on your store-bought barbecue sauce; many brands are high in sugar and sodium. Keep the sauce to a minimum or make your own so that you can control the amount of salt and sugar. 

Fatty Cuts of Steak

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Choose lean cuts of steak without visible marbled fat and then marinate them in a simple, healthy homemade marinade for lots of delicious flavor. As an added bonus, the marinade can help break down the muscle fibers, making your steak more tender.

Fried Chicken

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Fried chicken is favored by many, but ditch the heavy breading this summer and try a grilled skinless chicken breast or thigh. 

Hamburgers

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Hamburgers are a big part of summer cookouts, but they don’t have to be unhealthy. Use lean beef — 91 to 94 percent fat-free — or try a turkey burger or homemade vegetable patty. You can also skip the cheese and load your burger with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles.

Ice Cream

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If you’re trying to eat healthier, skip the ice cream and opt for healthy one-ingredient sorbet instead. Just freeze berries or bananas and then purée in the food processor until smooth.

Pies and Cakes

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Skip the sugary cakes, cupcakes, and pies. Summer is the perfect time to serve fresh fruit for dessert. There are few things as refreshing as a crisp, cold wedge of watermelon after a barbecue!

Potato Chips

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We all know that potato chips are loaded with salt and fat, so why serve them alongside other potentially diet-bombing foods like hamburgers or hot dogs? Instead, try crunchy whole-wheat pita chips with hummus or whole-grain tortilla chips with homemade salsa or guacamole.

Potato Salad

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There’s nothing inherently bad about potatoes: They’re actually a great source of vitamin C and fiber, but they contain more calories than other veggies. Plus, most potato salads are smothered in way too much full-fat mayo and will cost you about 360 calories and 20 or so grams of fat per cup. — Nicci Micco