It’s time to start getting ready for all your BBQ needs with Labor Day just around the horizon. Even if the traditional barbecue fare is always a good choice, not all of the dishes on the menu will satisfy your nutritional demands if you’re seeking to maintain good health. As a result, it could be time for you to replace some of those BBQ items with healthier options.
Which items should you actually keep off your picnic table when there are so many to avoid at a barbecue? The worst item to serve at a barbecue, in the opinion of performance dietitian Brittany Dunn, MS, RDN, is a creamy salad.
Think about coleslaw, potato, and macaroni salads when we discuss creamy salads. Mayonnaise, a high-calorie condiment, is frequently included in creamy salad recipes.
According to Dunn, these salads often have a high-fat content, which raises the number of calories in each serving.
Why mayonnaise-based salads are the worst things to serve at a barbecue
Consider a typical potato salad with an egg. The USDA estimates that this salad has 11.8 grams of fat per half cup. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that 20–35% of your daily caloric intake should come from fats. For a 150-pound person, this would be 34–68 grams of fat per day, for example. Even if you just eat half a cup of potato salad, you might not exceed your daily fat intake. However, if you combine it with other unhealthy creamy salads or potentially unhealthy BBQ food, your daily fat intake is already at its maximum.
“The summer heat also makes it easier to become spoiled. This might increase the danger of food poisoning,” Dunn warns.
Food poisoning can also occur if cooked starches, such as the macaroni used in macaroni salad, are left out for an extended period of time. This is a result of the bacteria Bacillus cereus. The nutrients included in meals like grains, dairy products, spices, dry goods, and vegetables—many of which are present in those creamy salads—allow this bacteria to proliferate as well.
Wholesome alternatives to mayonnaise-based salads
If you find it difficult to stop eating those mouthwatering salads, Dunn has some suggestions to help you make them healthier.
Making the salads with nonfat Greek yogurt will increase their nutritious value and give them a creamy texture, she advises. It increases protein while reducing fat.
Alternatives to creamy salads include:
- Increase the veggie to macaroni/potato ratio. The veggies will enhance vitamins and other micronutrients in addition to adding a wonderful crunchy texture.
- Change up the pasta or potato variety. The amount of nutrients in the meal can be increased by using sweet potatoes or pasta made from beans.
- If at all possible, keep meals cold. For instance, store the creamy salads in a cooler or on top of a pan of ice.