Swap Out These Foods For A Healthier BBQ

Disclosure: I work with the Wonderful company to help people make healthy choices. All opinions are my own.

What’s better than a backyard BBQ with all of your favorite summer foods? I’d say nothing! The only problem is that loading your plate with burgers, sides, desserts and a glass of wine can really add up to a hefty amount of calories. Now, I’m all for indulging every once in a while, but I like to indulge in a healthy way. That’s why I say yes to wine and brownies, but with a little twist.

Here are three recipes to make your 4th of July fare a little bit healthier. And, because I like to hit you with a harsh dose of reality, I’ve included how much exercise it would take to burn off the traditional item. But don’t worry, I’ve given you a healthier swap, and I think the reasons those items are healthier will convince you to make the switch.

  1. A glass of white wine = 150 calories

Fact: To burn 150 calories, you need to do about 30 minutes of yoga.

Instead: Enjoy a white wine spritzer . Combine 3 ounces of white wine + 2 ounces of seltzer + 2 ounces of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice

What makes it healthier: Not only does adding some seltzer help keep you hydrated, but POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice has, on average, three times more antioxidant capacity than green tea. POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice is made by pressing the entire pomegranate including the rind and pith, so each 8 oz. bottle contains the juice from 2 whole-pressed pomegranate and nothing else – no added sugar, colors or preservatives.

2. A heaping portion of macaroni salad = 275 calories

Fact: To burn off those calories, run for about 30 minutes at 10 mph pace.

Instead: Wonderful Pistachios, Peach and Barley Salad (recipe at bottom of post)Recipe for barley salad 

What makes it healthier: Instead of a slaw covered in fatty mayo, this salad has fiber and healthy fats from the whole grains and pistachios. And it uses seasonal summer fruit, so it’s like a whole meal in a side dish. Pistachios have three times the protein, fiber, and pieces per serving compared to potato chips and more nuts, potassium and fiber per serving than peanuts.

3. Finish the night with 1 large brownie square = 280 calories

Fact: Bike at 10 miles per hour (a moderate/leisurely pace) for 40 minutes.

Instead: Black Bean Brownies (recipe below)

What makes it healthier: This black bean brownie recipe replaces the fat in traditional brownies with fiber and protein rich black beans.


POM White Wine Spritzer
Makes 2 spritzers
6 ounces of white wine
4 ounces of seltzer
4 ounces of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice

Combine all the ingredients and stir. Divide among two glasses.

Wonderful Pistachios, Peach and Barley Salad (recipe adapted from Wonderful Pistachios)
Makes 4 servings
⅔ cup whole grain barley (or farro)
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 cups baby arugula
2 ripe peaches, sliced ¼-inch thick
⅓ cup shelled Wonderful Pistachios Roasted & Salted, roughly chopped

  1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in barley, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook about 45 minutes, until barley is tender and water is absorbed. Remove from heat, and set aside 10 minutes. Add parsley, fluff barley with a fork and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper; toss with arugula and half the sliced peaches.
  3. Place greens mixture on individual plates. Top with a scoop of barley, remaining peaches and pistachios. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Black Bean Brownies
Makes 8-9 brownies
1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup agave
2 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients. Process until very smooth. Scoop the mixture into a greased muffin tin (it should fill about 8-9 holes) or 8×8 baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

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