The first day of summer is right around the corner, and with its sunny days and warm evenings, it’s the perfect time to grill. Grilling is a naturally low carb and easy way to enjoy al fresco summer dining, which is a fancy way of saying “eating outside”. While you need to avoid sugar-laden barbecue sauces and marinades, this doesn’t mean that saucy, finger-licking ribs are a thing of the past. Here’s everything you need to know so you can get your grill on without guilt!
To start, stick with these low carb grilling tips from my book, Eat Right, Not Less:
Skip the buns on your burgers and brats, and enjoy all the fresh vegetables that are in season this time of year, including tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash and even corn on the cob in moderation.
- If you’re attending a barbecue, fortify yourself with a filling Atkins-friendly snack (see 27 low carb snack suggestions here and more in my book) before you go. The combination of a small amount of carbs with either fat or protein will stabilize your blood sugar so you don’t arrive famished.
- I follow the 90/10 rule, which means I make sure that 90 percent of the food I eat is on my low carb plan and give myself 10 percent wiggle room to indulge. Finally, my mantra is to eat until I’m satisfied, not stuffed.
The Secret to the (Low Carb) Sauce
It’s not hard to navigate the sauces and marinades of low carb summer grilling if you stick with these guidelines:
Look at labels. Your sauce, marinade or salad dressing should contain 3 grams of Net Carbs or less (if you’re doing Atkins 20) and 5 grams of Net Carbs or less (if you’re doing Atkins 40).
Scope out sugar. Go with 5 grams of less of total sugar. And watch out for added sugars (they should be one of the last three ingredients on the ingredients list).
- Total sugar includes both naturally occurring sugars and added sugars:
- Naturally occurring sugars are ones that are naturally found in fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, dairy products and other foods.
- Added sugars include sucrose (also known as table sugar), fructose, corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup, to name a few.
Steer clear of “lite” sauces. These products (including lite salad dressings) usually contain less fat but make up for it with sugar and carbs.
Find your go-to store brands. Mustard, low-sugar ketchup, salsa and steak sauces like A1 and Worcestershire are all naturally low in carbs and sugar.
Even better? You can make your own low carb barbecue sauce, marinade or salad dressing:
This barbecue sauce has only 3.7 grams of Net Carbs and is rich in the flavors of tomato, cumin, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce and a touch of coffee. It tastes great slathered over chicken or ribs.
You can whip up this low carb marinade in minutes, and it features rosemary, garlic and lemon, plus a hint of fennel. It pairs perfectly with poultry, lamb, slices of eggplant and fish or scallops.
You can drizzle this low carb salad dressing over any salad or use it as a dip for sliced veggies. You’ll never go back to store-bought salad dressing after this!