Barbecues are a staple of the summer season. No one should go from Memorial Day to Labor Day without cooking out as often as possible. But, if you follow an anti-inflammatory diet, the good ol’ American-style cookout gets a little more complicated.
That’s because traditional barbecue staples like hot dogs, white bread buns, and even pasta salad are highly inflammatory foods. These can lead to symptoms like joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.
That’s especially the case if you live with a chronic condition such as celiac disease, arthritis, or lupus. (An anti-inflammatory diet can also be important if you are highly active and don’t want to eat foods that lead to swelling or pain before your next Aaptiv workout, too.)
Luckily you can still be a grill master this summer. You just need to revise the cookout menu a bit to include plenty of anti-inflammatory options. Here are three anti-inflammatory barbecue recipes to enjoy all summer long.
Confetti Turkey Burgers
Highly processed meats like hot dogs and even some steak or burgers can lead to inflammation. But, your barbecue doesn’t have to be completely vegetarian (unless you want it to be!) Chef Julie Harrington, R.D. suggests switching out your usual meat option for turkey burgers. Her version is moist and contains a special ingredient: vegetables.
“So often I hear complaints that turkey burgers are dry and chewy because they are very lean. Indeed, ground turkey breast is very lean with only one percent fat,” she says. “Knowing that, how can we add more flavors, more moisture, and even stretch your dollar? Veggies! Finely chopping veggies and incorporating them into the ground turkey will help keep the burger moist and tender. When cooked, the water content from the vegetables are released, leaving you with a juicy burger.”
1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cups spinach, finely chopped
1-pound ground turkey breast
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup ground flaxseed
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat grill. Prep all the vegetables, dicing them into little pieces, and set aside in a bowl.
- Add the ground turkey, feta cheese, flaxseed, egg, salt, and pepper.
- Mix together until all ingredients are incorporated together. Form into six patties.
- Grill each side for about five to seven minutes (or bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes), or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Put on top of a whole-wheat bun and serve with your favorite healthy toppings.
Broccoli Slaw Salad With Flax and Hemp Seeds
Need a healthy side dish to go with your turkey burgers? Skip the sugar-laden baked beans and Jell-O salad and serve broccoli slaw instead, recommends Amy Gorin, M.S., R.D.N. and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in New York City.
“This ready-in-minutes summer salad is made with broccoli, which boasts anti-inflammatory properties,” she says. “Cruciferous veggies like broccoli offer sulforaphane, which may have anti-inflammatory benefits to help decrease inflammation in the body and potentially help fight disease.”
1 avocado, diced
12 ounces broccoli slaw mix
1 plum tomato, diced
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1-½ tablespoons flaxseeds, ground
1-½ tablespoons hemp seeds
- In a large bowl, combine broccoli slaw with avocado and tomato.
- In a small bowl, mix vinegar, oil, and honey.
- Toss with broccoli slaw mixture.
- Top with almonds and seeds, and sprinkle with black pepper and salt to taste.
Green Tea Virgin Sangria
Don’t forget the beverages! When sugar-filled lemonade and other sweet cocktails are out of the question, Gorin recommends stirring up a pitcher of her green tea “sangria.”
“Green tea is such a beneficial beverage that’s loaded with inflammation-fighting antioxidants,” she says. “Drinking green tea on the regular can help lower risk of heart disease and more. This beverage is perfect for summer because it’s loaded with taste, is light and refreshing, and doesn’t contain any alcohol.”
6 green tea bags
4 cups water
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups chilled white grape juice
2 cups chilled passion fruit juice
6 key limes, halved
2 oranges, segmented
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 cup diced pineapple
- Brew tea bags in boiling water for three minutes.
- Remove tea bags; stir in honey.
- In a pitcher, combine brewed tea with remaining ingredients, reserving a few orange segments for garnishes.
- Chill in the fridge for two hours or more. Pour into glasses, garnish, and enjoy!
When spending time outdoors at your BBQ, be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and don’t forget the sunscreen.
Cheers to summer! Be sure to spend your free time with Aaptiv!