The classic barbecue menu doesn’t much help your joints – or your waistline. Between high-fat staples like creamy potato salad and greasy burgers, and inflammation-spiking processed foods like white buns and ice cream, you have a recipe for an arthritis diet disaster.
The good news: The grill is a great place to fire up healthy, tasty and joint-smart alternatives. With these simple, healthy swaps, you can transform your barbeque into a hub of health.
Instead of fatty chips and dips, try …
• Grilled whole-grain bread, accompanied by a tomato-based bruschetta, white bean puree, hummus and other spreads.
• Grilled summer vegetable skewers like zucchini, yellow squash, Vidalia onion and peppers.
Instead of greasy burgers, brats and hot dogs, try …
• Meaty mushrooms marinated in equal parts olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. You’ll get immune-boosting nutrients in the mushrooms, vinegar and lemon juice. Plus, studies show that oleocanthal, one of the most concentrated anti-inflammatory compounds in olive oil, dampens the body’s inflammatory process and reduces pain sensitivity with a pharmacological action similar to ibuprofen.
• Salmon with a splash of lemon and a sprinkling of savory summer herbs. Salmon is rich in omega-3s and vitamin D, both of which enhance joint health, boost immunity and protect against inflammation.
Instead of ketchup (which packs 2 teaspoon of sugar per tablespoon) or mayo (which is relatively high in unhealthy fat), try …
• Antioxidant-packed salsa or pico de gallo. Weighing in at just four to five calories per tablespoon, and zero fat, salsa boasts plenty of nutrients.
• Olive oil based pesto or sundried tomato spread. All three ingredients – olive oil, basil and sundried tomatoes – are loaded with anti-inflammatory properties.
Instead of mayo-based salads like coleslaw, potato salad and macaroni salad, try …
• Bean salad. All beans boast fiber, protein and a bevy of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.
• Sliced tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and basil drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Choose this tasty summer Caprese salad and you’ll get more oleocanthol and cancer-fighting lycopene.
Instead of ice cream, cookies or cake, try …
• Frozen bananas dipped in 70 percent chocolate and rolled in coconut flakes. Dark chocolate is loaded with powerful disease-fighting compounds called flavanols, which help protect your cells against damage. Plus, chocolate is rich in magnesium, a critical nutrient for bone and joint health.
• Grilled fresh fruits, such as peaches, plums and pineapple, are perfect on their own or with frozen yogurt. (For best results, grill only one side of the fruit and use high heat for a quick sear).