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Outsmart Your Next BBQ

Summertime, and the living is easy... but not always. Get-togethers and gatherings can make healthy living more of a pastime. Fear not - you can have your cake and eat it too (as long as you balance it out with some fruit & vegetables!)

1. Start out smart

One of the biggest challenges when going to a get-together can arise when you arrive hungry. Instead, have a small snack (a handful of almonds or cheese-stick with fruit) before arriving, so you can focus on conversing with the guests.

2. Build your plate

One of the easiest ways to cut down on calories is to fill 50% of your plate with vegetables. This can be veggie skewers, salad, crudite - whatever's available, fill up your plate. Then add a small portion of protein, and a small portion of whole grains if available. Stick to one plate and you'll be all set.

3. Drink it right

Making sure you stay hydrated is crucial to a successful BBQ. Focus on drinking lots of water, and if you're going to include alcohol, have 1 glass of water between each adult beverage. This will keep you hydrated AND slow down the number of calories you're drinking.

4. End it Right

Dessert is OK on occasion - just watch your portion sizes and frequency. When in doubt, choose fruit.


Every food can fit into a healthy eating routine as long as you portion it properly. But sometimes there are healthier options that will still satisfy the sweet or salty craving you are having. Here are some healthier alternatives to some favorite barbecue foods:

Instead Of This     →     Choose This

  • Coleslaw     →     Salad

  • Beef Kabob     →     Veggie Skewer

  • Beef Hot dog     →     Chicken Sausage

  • Burger & Bun     →     Turkey Burger wrapped in lettuce

  • Chips & Dip     →     Veggie Crudite + Hummus

  • Macaroni Salad     →     Baked Beans

  • Ice Cream     →     Watermelon

  • Pulled Pork     →     Grilled Shrimp



You can make these kabobs with any protein you choose - or stick to the veggies. The longer the kabobs marinate the more flavor you infuse into your meal.


  • Servings: 4

  • Calories per serving: 275

  • Total Fat: 16 g

  • Saturated Fat: 2.5 g

  • Monounsaturated Fat: 11 g

  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.5 g

  • Trans Fat: 0 g

  • Cholesterol: 55 mg

  • Sodium: 237 mg

  • Potassium: 551 mg

  • Total Carbohydrate: 10 g

  • Dietary Fiber: 2 g

  • Sugars: 4 g

  • Protein: 24 g

  • Vitamin A: 23%

  • Vitamin C: 232%

  • Calcium: 4%

  • Iron: 8%


  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped

  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

  • 4 tbsp olive oil

  • 3 tbsp fresh or dried rosemary

  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried

  • 3 tbsp fresh chopped basil

  • 3 tbsp parsley

  • salt & pepper

  • 1 red & 1 yellow pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1-inch rounds

  • 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast, cubed

  • Serve with quinoa, brown rice, or riced cauliflower


  1. Mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs together in a large Ziploc bag. Place the vegetables and chicken, already cut into 1-inch pieces, in the marinade and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

  2. While the food is marinating, soak skewers in water.

  3. Thread chicken and vegetables onto the skewers.

  4. Cook on a medium-high grill for 5 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is fully cooked.

  5. You can also bake this in the oven without the skewers at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Think your diet is sub-par and you may be missing needed nutrients? Our registered dietitian has over 20 years of experience helping patients make healthy food choices! We invite you to schedule an appointment with our nutritionist by calling us at 703.349.5100 or clicking here to request an appointment. To stay up-to-date on the latest news and tips from us, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and sign up for our monthly newsletter for even more information sent straight to your inbox!



Arthritis & Sports is the premier orthopaedics practice in Northern Virginia. Our team of specialty-trained physicians offers the latest treatment options for the full spectrum of orthopaedic sub-specialties - all under one roof.


From nonsurgical treatments like orthobiologics and physical therapy, to massage therapy and  nutrition counseling, we are dedicated to providing you with exceptional care from injury through rehabilitation.

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