As contributed to Diabetes Daily

Memorial Day is almost here, and for many, that means the official kick off to summer. You can almost hear the sizzle of the grill and smell the charcoal smoke wafting through the air.

If you’ve eaten more than your fair share of naked burgers, however, it can suck the fun right out of the season. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Grilling can be a low-fat method of cooking many meats, as it doesn’t require much oil or butter and fat drips from meat as it cooks. With just a few simple healthy grilling tips, many of the pitfalls of a cookout or summer barbecue for people with diabetes can be easily overcome.

So grab your flip flops, lawn games and sunglasses—summer, here you come!

1. Go for Lean Meats

When you think of a cookout, you might immediately think of juicy burgers, hot dogs and brats. These meats, however, often have more fat than you might think. Instead, think of a delicious skinless grilled chicken sandwich. Or better yet, put on your chef hat and experiment with diabetes-friendly recipes for grilling. Try fish, like a salmon burger, turkey, or even a mushroom burger. And if you just can’t resist ground beef? Seek out a low-fat blend.

2. Put Down the Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauce might be inseparable from a cookout for many. After all, it is called a “barbecue.” But the truth is, many brands of barbecue sauce are loaded with sugar or high fructose corn syrup that can cause problems for people with diabetes. For a healthier, low-carb barbecue alternative, turn to vinegar-based sauces for your best diabetes-friendly BBQ recipes, or get creative with marinades and draw on fresh lemon or herbs like thyme and rosemary.

3. Don’t Fall into a Side Dish Trap

It’s not all about the meat—cookouts are known for having tables laden with tantalizing sides dishes, too. These can sometimes be tricky for those living with diabetes. Watch out for supposedly “healthy” salads that contain ingredients like mayonnaise or pasta, or baked beans that contain barbecue sauce or brown sugar. Instead, turn to fresh vegetables—even grilled! — and fruit in moderation.

4. Keep an Eye on the Clock and an Eye on Your Plate

It’s easy to get distracted by all the fun at a cookout. These aren’t normal meals. People might be standing around the grill waiting for food to reach the perfect temperature while others catch up or play games. People with diabetes, though, should keep an eye on the clock and aim to eat near their normal meal time to avoid dangerous blood sugar levels. It can also be tempting to load up a plate or line up for seconds of the spread, but people with diabetes should take care to monitor portion sizes and eat in moderation.

5. BYOB

Bring your own bun, that is. If you have diabetes, chances are you’ve eaten your share of bunless or lettuce-wrapped burgers. With Smart Baking Company’s Smartbuns®, however, buns are back on the table! Smartbuns® are diabetes-friendly sandwich buns. Made from a proprietary blend of oat fiber, corn fiber and flax that passes through the body without being digested, they are low-carb, gluten-free and keto-friendly. They have only 72 calories and pack in 10 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber. Smartbuns® are also high in Omega-3 fatty acids. A bonus? They come in plain and sesame seed versions for your perfect bite.

With these tips, those with diabetes can put the joy back in grilling season and enjoy their summers. For more information about Smart Baking Company™ and their Smartbuns®, visit smartbakingco.com.