We 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.
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