Make skinny choices during BBQ season

May 31, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. ET

Nervous about how to navigate the BBQ season without destroying your diet? Here are some waistline-friendly options.

Grilled salmon

It's almost a cruel combination: Summer, a season when we're wearing bikinis, shorts and skimpy sundresses, is also when so many delicious but not so diet-friendly foods — such as chicken wings and burgers on the BBQ and creamy, fatty salads — are on the menu. Here are some ideas for more bikini-body-ready food choices.

Select seafood

Besides being a way to get more essential fatty acids into your diet, eating fish is a leaner option compared to your favourite burgers, lamb and chicken wings. Marinate salmon in a maple syrup glaze for a delicious, sweet dish, or give it a smoky flavour by cooking it atop a cedar plank.

Instead of chunks of beef, try shrimp on your skewers. These cook very quickly, though, so be sure whatever else you put on the same skewer calls for a short BBQ time as well, or you'll end up with overcooked, chewy shrimp.

Opt for chicken breasts

Instead of wings and thighs, chicken breasts are a healthier option (you can remove the skin if you really want to make for a leaner plate). If you find chicken breasts and other cuts of white meat can be dry in taste and texture, brining your meat overnight is a surefire way to keep it moist and flavourful. A simple brine for chicken? One cup of sugar, 1 cup of salt and 12 cups of water. Brine in the refrigerator overnight (so remember to prep this the night before your family BBQ gathering).

Try grilled fruit for dessert

Instead of loading up on ice cream or pie, a simple but delicious and refreshing dessert is grilled fruit. Try grilling slices of pineapple or halved peaches. Grilling caramelizes the sugars in the fruit for a unique flavour you will come to love.

Stick to simple salads

The creamy, mayonnaise-based potato salads and pasta salads are heavy, calorie-laden choices. Stick to the veggie options made with simple ingredients — the bean salad dressed with olive oil and fresh herbs, the grilled corn (skip the butter!) and the green salads loaded with raw, fresh veggies.

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