Barbecue season is here, but a lot of traditional barbecue dishes can really destroy your summer diet. Potato and pasta salads are full of simple carbs and fatty mayonnaise, while popular barbecue sauces, including homemade ones, are packed with sugar. What does that mean, then, if you’re trying to stick to a low-glycemic diet? While it’s entirely possible to enjoy summer hangouts while managing what you eat, you’ll need to be strategic about the dishes you make to share.
Consider Keto Options
One benefit of the recent keto diet craze is that, for those trying to choose foods with a low glycemic index, there are now many mass market products available that ditch those troublesome sugars. That means you can grab an off-the-shelf keto barbecue sauce that’s bursting with flavor, but won’t leave you in an energy slump after your meal.
Build A Balanced Platter
Many barbecues are heavy on fatty meats, such as hot dogs and hamburgers, but increased meat consumption is associated with higher rates of Type 2 diabetes. Those who enjoy these foods, then – even in moderation – should put an emphasis on balancing out that consumption with blood sugar-moderating foods. Unfortunately, most don’t know what those are.
To develop a more balanced set of barbecue options, you might consult a glycemic index chart, which can help you select foods that won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. Vegetables are always a good choice and can be barbecued with seasonings and marinades for a satisfying and delicious side or main. Grilled eggplant makes a particularly good swap for meat, as do portobello mushrooms.
Consider Another Carb
Barbecue side dishes like potato salad tend to be heavy on the simple carbs, as noted above, and these are a poor choice for those following a low glycemic diet. Luckily, not all carbs are created equal. One ideal summer barbecue swap is to trade your traditional potatoes for sweet potatoes, which, despite their name, actually have a lower glycemic index. They can be prepared in a variety of ways, and pair particularly well with smoky flavors like chipotle or paprika – the sweet flavor holds up to the spice, while the high fiber content of the sweet potatoes slows down the absorption of carbohydrates, for more stable blood sugar.
Tinker With Tradition
As is the case with keto barbecue sauces, it is possible to enjoy modified versions of many popular barbecue sides. Many coleslaw recipes, for example, are not only high in fat because of their mayo content, but may also be sweetened, especially if they’re purchased from a deli. While you can keep the fat without major blood sugar issues, consider an alternative coleslaw recipe featuring a vinegar base and added texture from elements like salted peanuts. You may find it’s a surprisingly delicious new tradition.
While it’s certainly okay to treat yourself on special occasions, if you’re dealing with serious health issues or just feel strongly about following your diet, there are also plenty of delicious dishes you can enjoy without compromising. It’s all about learning to skillfully navigate your pantry – and at the end of the day, your cooking will benefit from it.