Healthy Choices at BBQ, Meat and Three

Eating Healthier at Barbecue Places, Because Sometimes You Just Need That Smoke

One constant challenge while trying to lose fat and gain muscle for me has been getting enough protein. So far I’m down by 4% body fat, and am always looking to fuel muscle growth.

The only prescription… is more meat! (And whey protein).

Chopped Meats at Pit

Chopped Meats at Pit

You CAN eat healthy at a barbecue restaurant if you try. Here are my suggestions, looking at the average nutrition data for some of the popular BBQ chains.

  • Smoked Turkey or White Meat Chicken: Four ounces of turkey or chicken breast are around 160 calories and 24-27 grams of protein.
  • Naked Brisket or Pulled Pork: Without a heavy bbq sauce (instead opt for a vinegar-based sauce) these two options have more fat but are still reasonable choices.
  • Collard Greens: These may be cooked in some fat but will be nutrient-packed and low calorie, plus have fiber (around 30 calories a serving).
  • Green Beans: A cup of green beans is around 75 calories, with vitamins K, A, C and manganese.
  • Baked Beans: Beans have protein, fiber and are a good source of energy. These good qualities outrank the negatives of the sugar in them, for me. A half cup of baked beans has about 140 calories, 4 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber.
  • Vinegar Slaw: a tangy slaw, high in fiber and low in calories at under 50 calories in a whole cup.
  • Cucumber Onion Salad: Refreshing and light, varying between 15-40 calories in a half cup, depending on the sugar.
  • Black Bean and Corn Salad: High in protein, fiber (6 g each) and vitamins and only about 110 calories in a half cup.
  • Coleslaw: Good for a creamy option that’s way lighter than potato salad or macaroni and cheese.
  • Unsweetened Iced Tea: Add Sweet ‘N Low, some lemon and you’re all set for a 0-5 calorie beverage.
Chef Salad with Smoked Chicken and Pork

Chef Salad with Smoked Chicken and Pork

Most of the chains also offer a huge salad that you can get topped with some smoked meat. I like to stuff my face with a nice smoky salad, which is healthy and full of protein.

Items to be wary of (if you’re watching your figure, that is) include:

  • Ribs
  • Hush Puppies and everything fried
  • Corn Bread
  • Macaroni and Cheese

I’m not here to ruin your good ole’ Southern time. So if you want to splurge, do so carefully and factor it into your calories for the day. I often can’t pass up the macaroni and cheese, but sometimes that means I’ll have a salad for my next meal.  Happy Eating!

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