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How To Eat Barbecue Without Being a Pig

Four tips for surviving (and enjoying!) a local BBQ festival without getting fat.
How To Eat Barbecue Without Being a Pig

Every state hosts at least one massive summer gathering of all things fatty, pulled, smoked, and grilled. Here’s how to enjoy top-quality BBQ but survive with your health intact.

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Eat some meat first—the food will slow down the body’s absorption of alcohol, keeping you sober longer. A beef base will also “slow the blood-sugar spike, so you’ll store less fat,” says Liv Langdon, of Liv Lang & Prosper.

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 You’ll be tempted—especially if you like your BBQ Memphis-style—to pile on the (usually mayo-packed) slaw. So look for cooks hawking Carolina-style fare to find a less-fatty, vinegar-based variety.

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Since most cook-offs feature pro chefs cooking top-quality meats, you won’t need heavy sauces to “fix” them. “BBQ sauces are notorious for hidden sugars,” says Lori Zanini, R.D., of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If a ’cue needs a lot of sauce, skip it.

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Sage advice from Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly’s first-ever BBQ editor: “Eating tons of salty meat can sneak up on you and dehydrate you before you know it.” So drink even more water than you would for a typical outdoor event.

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