Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Summer is backyard barbecue time, so STACK teamed up with Nancy Clark, MS, RD, to identify athlete-friendly foods you can load up on at your summer cookouts—as well as ones you should limit.

Barbecue Foods to Skip

Hamburger: They're high in protein but also high in fat. "Fat will fill your stomach, but it really doesn't fuel your muscles," says Clark. Learn how to grill a healthier burger.

Hot Dogs & Brats: Like the burger, they're high in fat. They can also be high in sodium and chemical preservatives.

Ribs: They're glazed in sauce packing half as much sugar as a can of soda.

Chips: There's no faster way to pack on extra pounds than to mindlessly munch on these oil-fried potato booby-traps.

Soda: Sugar, carbonation, stimulants (caffeine). Nothing to like here.

Barbecue Foods to Eat

Chicken: Excellent source of lean protein. To shave calories, peel off the skin and apply a spice rub before grilling.

Salmon: Contains omega-3 fatty acids, which most Americans need more of.

Vegetables: Low in calories and high in vitamins. You can't go wrong with any of them.

Avocado: "Fat in avocados is healthier than the hard, saturated fat found in a hamburger," Clark says.

Shrimp: Another excellent source of protein, delivering five grams in just a 26-calorie serving.

Baked Beans: Beans are high in fiber, which makes you feel full longer, and carbs to fuel your muscles and brain.

Watermelon: A classic summertime dessert that helps you hydrate.

RELATED: How to Create a Healthy Backyard BBQ

Topics: PROTEIN | FOODS | STOMACH | HAMBURGER