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5 tips for barbecue season

Family Having Lunch At Outdoors

During the summer, barbecue is the way to go in Quebec. Substitute the unhealthy burgers and chips that can damage your weight loss and overall health by using these simple and flavourful tricks

Finger foods

Fresh vegetables are always a good option.  Since most commercial dipping sauces are high in fat and salt, create your own light versions of guacamole, salsa, hummus, blue cheese dip, ranch dip and ultra low fat herb dip.  A fun and refreshing way to eat vegetables is by making cold soups such as tomato or cucumber gaspachos. You can also make healthy chips by baking kale leaves with a little bit of olive oil and salt or grilling whole wheat tortillas.


Forget the traditional cheeseburger. Go for flavour and creativity and keep your calories in line. Instead of the traditional vegetables, try grilled vegetables (eggplants, bell pepper, onion), spinach, red cabbage, cucumber and bean sprouts. Here are some suggestions to lower the amount of saturated fat, salt, and calories while increasing the amount of fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Tableau_BBQ saison_eng

Meat and alternatives

Lower your intake of red meat to a minimum or aim for “loin /round cuts” or “lean/extra lean ground meat”. Chicken or turkey breast are great alternatives, as well as shrimp and scallop kebab, inexpensive grilled tofu and high omega 3 fish (salmon, trout, herring).

Cancer prevention

Lower your exposure to carcinogenic compounds associated to BBQ. Avoid flare-ups by reducing the portion sizes and cooking temperature, frequently rotating the meat with tongs, choosing lean cuts, trimming the fat on the meat, cleaning the grill, removing burnt portion and precooking the meat. Marinating the meat can also reduce the production of cancer causing compounds by 80-90%1.


Reduce your traditional dessert caloric intake by substituting with the following:

  • Grilled: peaches, bananas, nectarines, apples and pineapple
  • 1 cup of smoothie
  • Yogurt popsicles
  • 175 g 0% frozen Greek yogurt.
  • 1 cup frozen grapes, blueberries, banana

Do you have any original barbecue recipes you would like to share?

By Alyssa Fontaine, nutritionist


(1) Pen Nutrition. 2008. Eating guideline for cancer prevention : meat , nitrates and barbequing. Online. <http://www.pennutrition.com/viewhandout.aspx?Portal=UbY=&id=JMfqWAU=&PreviewHandout=bA== >

Alyssa Fontaine, Dt.P.

Nutrition supervisor at Nautilus Plus, member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec and holder of a bachelor’s degree from McGill University, Alyssa joined the Nautilus Plus team in January 2014. She developed an interest in healthy nutrition at a very young age, inspired by her grandmother’s large vegetable garden and her iron health still going strong at over 90 years of age. Proper nutrition and an active lifestyle are the secrets to a long life. An avid outdoor enthusiast, Alyssa exercises regularly and shares her tips to living a balanced lifestyle acknowledging that she does have a sweet tooth. She is the proud spokesperson for the «Zero Diet» brand and she is being followed more and more on social networks.

5 tips for barbecue seasonis a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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