Tips for a Healthier Memorial Day

kim tierney Blog

Memorial Day weekend is a perfect excuse to relax and indulge in some of our favorite barbecue foods. If this year, you're looking to have a healthier balance and/or just make smarter food choices, this guide's got you covered for snacks, barbecued food, and dessert!

Let's start with some snacks & apps:

Chips & Dip Vs. Veggies & hummus

Just one serving of tortilla chips (usually just 9 chips) yields about 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 19g of carbohydrates. It can be really easy to go over that small serving size, resulting in a caloric bomb without much nutritional value at all. Potato chips are very similar, yielding a high amount of calories and fat with not much nutritional benefit. Bringing creamy dips into the picture can double or even triple the caloric load. This doesn't mean you can't have your chips and dip if you want them! Just be mindful of the serving size and the caloric value versus how the food is fueling your body.
Veggies and hummus can satisfy that crunch factor craving without doing you in a crazy amount of calories. Veggies on their own are super low calorie and nutritious, packed with vitamins and fiber. Hummus is a great dip choice because the base is chickpeas and tahini (ground sesame), as opposed to sour cream or oil based dips which can rack up calories and fat fast.

Don't fancy hummus?
Try this Creamy Avocado Dip from 'Delish'
or this light ranch dressing made with greek yogurt from 'Show Me the Yummy'.
If you still need your chip fix, you can always make your own ūüėČ

Cocktail Weenies vs. Cocktail Shrimp:

In ONE cocktail weenie, there are about 65 calories, 4g of fat, 4g of carb, and 2g of protein. However, the major problem with cocktail weenies is that the meat is highly processed, and most likely not hormone free. The puff pastry around it is empty, refined carbohydrates. So the cocktail weenie provides very little nutritional value. Compared to its counterpart, you can have TWELVE cocktail shrimp for 80 calories, 1g of fat, 0g carbs, and 18 grams of protein! Talk about more bang for your buck.

Fire up the grill:

Hot dog Vs. Hamburger

Usually this debate comes down to preference, but when it comes to which option is healthier, the hamburger comes out on top. Why? Calories are not as important here as quality. Just like our mini weenies, hot dogs are typically made with low quality meat and highly processed with nitrates added, I mean how do you think they get it into that shape anyway? On the other hand, the hamburger, made from beef that has simply been ground up, is far less processed (and far more recognizable by your body as food). With the hamburger, we also have a lot of opportunities to improve it! When purchasing ground beef, read the labels! Look out for hormone-free & antibiotic free beef indicating that the cows were not given any growth hormones or antibiotics which can effect the quality of the meat. If you want to take it a step further, buying grass-fed beef is also a smarter choice. Additionally, you can always buy a leaner cut of beef, or go for a turkey or chicken burger if you want to cut back on the calories a little. Finally, when it comes to the bun, you can easily swap out your traditional hamburger bun for a whole wheat bun/bread (or skip the bun altogether). With these little swaps, the hamburger can actually be a really healthy option.

Not feeling a hamburger or hot dog this time?
Opting for grilled meat like chicken and/or grilled vegetables is always a clean option.
Try these Grilled Pesto Chicken & Tomato Kebabs from 'SkinnyTaste'

Healthified Sides:

  • If pasta salad is your go-to at barbecues, try making a chickpea salad for an amazing alternative. Using chickpeas instead of pasta adds fiber and protein to this dish which is normally packed with refined carbohydrates from the pasta. Here's a sample recipe from 'Peas and Crayons', or you can make your favorite¬†recipe and just sub out the pasta for chickpeas.


  • Looking for a healthified potato salad? Try this¬†Yogurt Dill Potato Salad¬†from The Yummy Life
  • This¬†Mayo Free Avocado Coleslaw¬†from Sugar Free Mom¬†is entirely nutritious compared to its traditional counterpart.


Healthified Desserts:

If you're looking for something a bit more interesting than watermelon, here are some sweet ideas:

All in all, remember to enjoy yourself! Enjoying treats in moderation and socially is perfectly okay! Have a happy, healthy Memorial Day weekend!