Best and Worst BBQ Side Dishes

A good old fashioned barbecue has some usual staples and usual suspects: burgers, corn on the cob, [...]

A good old fashioned barbecue has some usual staples and usual suspects: burgers, corn on the cob, potato salads, cupcakes, hotdogs... you get the picture. Most dishes won't win any awards in the nutrition category, but eating at a barbecue doesn't have to be gorge-city. You don't have to turn your nose up at every side dish that includes mayonnaise (especially if it's a potluck where everyone brought a dish to share), but there are good side dishes and then there are OK side dishes. We present a list of the good and the bad, but you eat whatever you fancy!

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Bad: Potato salad: Potatoes, while containing a decent amount of vitamin C and fiber, have more calories than other vegetables. Combined with a bunch of mayonnaise and mustard, a small scoop of this will run you 300 calories deep and 20 grams of fat deeper.

Good: Cole slaw: If you're craving something creamy but are trying to ignore the potato salad calling your name, get yourself a scoop of cole slaw. Cabbage is a healthy source of isothiocyanates, which increase the body's production of enzymes. Try out this recipe for skinny cole slaw that uses light mayonnaise and light ranch dressing.

skinny slaw

Bad: Baked beans Beans are not bad; they're a fabulous source of protein for vegetarians and are super high in fiber. But baked beans, especially ones that come from cans, are usually high in sodium, sugars and other additives. Also, people usually add bacon, which means added cholesterol.

Good: Green beans: With a skinny take on country style green beans, you'll absorb a wealth of fiber, minerals and vitamins; plus, they're naturally low in fat and cholesterol. The Skinny Mom recipe uses chicken stock instead of a ham hock to do the simmering. Click here for the recipe!

green bean side dish

Bad: Pasta salads Pasta salads can be the suspect for extra calories and extra carbohydrates at a barbecue. Most pasta salads are filled with cheese, mayonnaise and bacon. Mouthwatering, yes, but not all too healthy.

Good: Whole-grain mac and cheese: Who doesn't love a gooey spoonful of cheesy pasta? The Skinny Mom recipe uses whole-grain rotini, reduced-fat cheeses, skim milk, light butter and jalapeños for an added kick! Try it out.

skinny mac

Bad: Mashed potatoes: With the amount of sour cream and butter (and possibly cheese and bacon) mixed into mashed potatoes, you can bet that your sodium and caloric content will be met with just one scoop.

Good: Mashed sweet potatoes: Rethink the way you mash with this recipe. One scoop of these only contains 103 calories and 21 grams of carbohydrates. You'll satisfy your craving for creamy potatoes and not sacrifice tons of calories.

mashed sweets

What are your favorite healthy BBQ sides? Share with us in the comments below!