5 Things Not to Do at Your Weekend BBQ

By: Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist

Summertime means frequenting BBQ’s with friends and family which can be super fun but not always healthy. But don’t worry, summer sun and cookouts can certainly be both fun and good for you too.  Steer clear of these wellness-zapping traps to make your summer fun but also healthy. Here are the top 5 most unhealthy things you can do at a BBQ.



  1. Eat Burnt Meat
    Charred and burnt red meat, chicken, sausage and other animal protein foods create carcinogens and are linked to increased risk of cancer.  Grilling can be safe and healthy when following these simple tips.  Good news is that blackened veggies don’t pose the same risk at all, so enjoy those veggie kabobs straight off the grill anytime! Try these Herb Marinated Grilled Veggie Skewers.Veggie Skewers
  1. Forgo the Veggies and Fruit Salad
    BBQ’s can be a goldmine of delicious, nutrient-dense options and a quagmire of unhealthy, nutrient-deplete choices.  Most of the time, you can help keep on track with your nutrition even at a BBQ by loading up on the available and hopefully abundant summertime fruits and veggies.  Diluting meat intake with fresh or grilled produce can be one way of navigating summer parties without having to completely overhaul your diet or abandon your healthy eating goals.  Have fun with creative options like these Watermelon Cashew Cream Wedges, 5-Step Simple Summer Quinoa Salad, or Super Seed Salad for Summer.

  1. Go in Hungry
    Going to a BBQ hungry is a recipe for disaster, just like grocery shopping.  Have a fresh juice or healthy snack about an hour before you head out.  Aim to stay hydrated all day long to help curb cravings.  Try these infused water recipes for fresh and vibrant fluids or this BBQ Blow Out Juice.
  1. Skip the Sunscreen
    Fifteen minutes in the sun can give you some much-needed Vitamin D, but beyond that there are serious risks associated with excess sun exposure.  Melanoma rates have dramatically risen in young adults in recent years.
  1. Drink too Much Alcohol and Not Enough Water
    Enjoying an antioxidant-rich glass of red wine or a cold beer on a hot summer day can surely be a part of a well-balanced diet.  But all too often we forget the water and keep going back for more bubbly.  Alcohol intake in moderation can be healthy, but that means 2 drinks per day for men and 1 for women at most.  It’s easy to blow by those guidelines at a BBQ.  Aside from long term risks like cancer and liver disease, in the moment concerns of drinking more than you’d planned can include disinhibition with food choices as well as risk taking behaviors.  The more you drink, the more likely you’ll end up eating a lot more mayo-laden sides or slices of cake.  Try mixing fresh juice with alcohol for a healthy twist on cocktails or enjoy these juices sans spirits: Beet-iniA Sparkling New Year’s Juice (good any time of year), and Mint Julep Low-Sugar Lime Juice.


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Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist

Stacy is a Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and an Integrative Nutritionist. She consults for various companies, focusing on health, wellness and innovative strategies to help increase individual’s fruit and vegetable intake. Stacy is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health Fitness Specialist; she holds a BS degree in Dietetics from Indiana University, completed her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, and earned a Masters in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Senior Clinical Nutritionist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School teaching affiliates, in Boston, MA, with more than 20 years of experience. Stacy created and now serves as project manager and lead writer for nutrition services content on the Dana Farber website and the affiliated, nationally recognized nutrition app. Stacy is regularly featured on TV, radio, print and social media on behalf of Dana Farber and other organizations. Together with her husband, Dr. Russell Kennedy PsyD, they have a private practice, Wellness Guides, LLC. Stacy is an adjunct professor in Wellness and Health Coaching at William James College, currently teaching a graduate course in Health Coaching. Stacy is featured in the award winning documentary films, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” and “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2,” and serves on the Reboot with Joe Medical Advisory Board. Stacy lives in Wellesley with her husband, two sons and three dogs. She enjoys cooking, yoga, hiking and spending time with friends and family. Stacy is also one of the nutritionists who runs our Guided Reboot programs.

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