red plastic plate, blue plastic cups, silverware wrapped in a American flap paper napkin sitting on a red white blue stiped table

Memorial Day Barbecue Survival Guide

If you’re about a month into your summer shape-up routine, Memorial Day celebrations may be the first test of your willpower. You’ll probably be offered free-flowing alcohol and many of the foods you’ve been avoiding these past few weeks.

Remember that you do have options, even as a guest. Healthy eating habits can keep both your weight and excessive intestinal gas under control!  Here’s how to kick back and enjoy the weekend that signals summer’s arrival.

Savvy Seasoning

Most bottled BBQ sauces tend to rely on starches and sugars that can be difficult to digest.

If you’re a guest

You’re probably familiar with sweet and spicy BBQ, so you may have to switch things up a bit. Sauces typically use a base that is full of sugars and starches. Less expensive brands may contain artificial thickeners, colors, and preservatives that trigger tummy troubles. Worse,  they can make proteins cook too quickly – drying them out – and are loaded with carbs. Skip the sauce and opt for a topping of sauteéd veggies.

If you’re hosting

Dry rubs are just one possibility. Channel your inner Bobby Flay and choose one of our sugar-free, low-carb barbecue sauce recipes.

Protein Pointers

While the occasional red meat dish shouldn’t be a problem, animal fats can tax your digestive system.

If you’re a guest

Seafood or skinless chicken or should probably be your first choice, but there are healthy options if you have your heart set on sirloin. People often serve kebabs; just don’t overload your plate.

If you’re hosting

… See all of the above. Other winners include an old-school clambake or grilled whole salmon or halibut.

If you are cooking up some classic hamburgers, avoid beef that has more than 10% fat. Packages should be clearly labeled so that you can make informed choices.

Smoke meats to add flavor, not carbs or mystery ingredients.

Count out carbs

If you’re a guest

Opt for sliders (and their correspondingly smaller buns) instead of the typical burger and bun combo. If they’re not on the menu, skip the bread altogether and eat your meal with a knife and fork.

Check out this chart to see how many carbs are in that slice of watermelon. Veggie lovers should bookmark this one.Click here for a low-carb vegetable chart.

If you’re hosting

Grill seasoned portobello mushrooms; serve burgers on these babies instead of buns. Prepare a batch of sliders.

Drink Responsibly

The importance of staying hydrated

Memorial Day barbecues usually have three common: elements: warm weather, direct sun, and lots of exposure to both. It’ll probably be your first opportunity to spend a lot of time outdoors with friends, so it’s easy to forget how dehydrating the sun/alcohol/volleyball match can be. The better hydrated you are, the easier it will be for your digestive system to do its job. Tip: reach for your water bottle, not that beer bottle.

Best and worst alcoholic beverages for gas sufferers

Limit your intake to one alcoholic beverage and avoid mixed drinks unless you’re sure of the ingredients. The hard stuff is probably a better choice; you’ll find far fewer carbs in liquor than in beer or wine. Click here for more tips on wise cocktail choices.

Safe soft drinks

Be smart about caffeine consumption: avoid iced tea (black tea contains caffeine) and colas. You’re not out of the woods yet; lemonade and fruit punch are loaded with carbs. Make sure that you remember to drink water, particularly while you’re standing at the grill.



Skinnytaste’s Skinny Shrimp Salsa

NYT Cooking’s Mini Bell Peppers Stuffed with Goat Cheese

All Day I Dream About Food’s Low Carb Grilled Vegetable Salad Recipe


Skinnytaste’s Grilled Salmon Kebabs

Kalyn’s Kitchen’s Steak and Mushroom Kabobs

Skinnytaste’s Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Skinnytaste’s Turkey Burgers with Zucchini

Seasonings and Condiments

Dana Carpender’s No-Sugar Ketchup Recipe

Alternatively, try Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Reduced Sugar variety.

Allrecipes’ Low-carb BBQ Sauce

Dana Carpender has lots of great pointers for how to cut carbs without sacrificing taste. Check out her Memorial Day post, here.

Food safety

Ideal internal temperature for each cut of meat

Serving a big crowd often means serving a variety of tastes. Even if everyone likes the same protein, you’ll be asked to serve meats at varying degrees of doneness. There’s a safe and easy way to ensure that everyone enjoys the meal: invest in a meat thermometer and refer to this useful chart. (Pound steaks with a mallet or press ground meat with a spatula to a uniform thickness. This ensures your filet or burger will cook evenly. If you skip this step, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of your entree.)

Also, remember to include rest time when planning when to cook and serve. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises: “After you remove meat from a grill, oven, or another heat source, allow it to rest for the specified amount of time. During the rest time, its temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys harmful germs.”

Outdoor food safety

– Do keep perishable foods in a cooler until you’re ready to cook.

– If it’s under 90 degrees, keep perishable food out for a maximum of two hours.

– If it’s over 90 degrees, keep perishable food out for under one hour.

– Have a couple of sets of tongs, barbecue forks, and separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables.

– Don’t use tongs or forks that were used on raw foods to serve cooked foods.

– Keep several bottles of hand sanitizer available for guests (but well away from open flames).

CharcoCaps® dietary supplement relieves gas and bloating FAST!*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Additional Sources:

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