Summer time barbecue and portion size

When enjoying summer barbecues, keep food portion sizes in mind.

Summer is here and that means youth and adults will be enjoying lots of fun, summer cookouts and treats. Many times we eat summer food like hot dogs, burgers, lemonade and ice cream. These foods taste great, but are not that great for us. Let’s look at some of the nutritional facts of these favorite summer barbecue foods and how me might be able to eat healthy and less, but still enjoy the summer fun.

One hot dog on a bun with ketchup and mustard has the nutritional value of 284 total calories, 17 grams of total fat and 920 milligrams of sodium. Many times, adult and youth eat more than one hot dog. If we eat two, then we must double the above numbers. A few ways to make hot dogs a little healthier are to use a whole wheat bun and buy low fat, chicken or turkey hot dogs. A simple way is to choose to eat only one hot dog and fill up on other healthier options like fresh fruit or vegetables.

A hamburger patty that is 80 percent lean meat and has no bun has the nutritional value of 218 total calories, 20 grams of protein, 15 grams of total fat and 314 grams of sodium. Again, eating only one hamburger at a meal is an appropriate portion for youth and adults. Getting leaner hamburger will make the above numbers go down. Other healthy options are to use whole wheat buns as well as adding vegetables to your burger like tomatoes, onions or avocado.

One cup of vanilla ice cream has 275 total calories, 28 grams of sugar and 15 grams of total fat. One way to make this a healthier treat is to eat low fat frozen yogurt and only have one scoop instead of a cup. Adding fresh fruit would also add to the nutritional value.

Lemonade or any fruit flavored drink from a powdered mix has the nutritional value of 88 total calories and 22 grams of sugar for just one cup. So only having one or two glasses of lemonade at your barbecue is wise and then switch to water. You may also want to try adding fruit or vegetables to your water and drink that instead of lemonade.

The above nutritional facts were pulled from the Food-A-Pedia on the USDA Super Tracker website.

Michigan State University Extension wants everyone to be healthy and follow good eating habits in the summer and all year-round. To learn more strategies to eat healthy, visit the MSU Extension website.

Did you find this article useful?