A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – BBQ Plate Special

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – BBQ Plate Special
By Johnathan Zamora

I hope everyone enjoyed the 4th of July as much as I did.  This year my brother in law hosted a fantastic BBQ – (what better occasion to try out his awesome new grill!) complete with plenty of good eats.  To say that traditional BBQ food was available is an understatement – it was around in abundance.  Cheese platters, serving dishes full of crackers and bowls full of chips, dips and other munchies were present in full force.  I thought about giving in but will power prevailed as thoughts of my next physique goal helped keep my nutrition plan in check.  My cheat meal was scheduled for the next day, so this helped me curb my momentary lapse in judgment.

My wife and I prepared a delicious black bean relish to accompany the juicy chipotle marinated grilled chicken breast that you see pictured below.  As with each year, the “usual suspects” made their appearance (ribs, sausage, guilty potato salads and so on).  These foods, while delicious and completely worthy of a cheat meal, caused me to ask myself this question: “What are the nutritional differences between these two meals?”  I did some research and here are my findings –

Traditional BBQ Plate

2 ea. large Beef ribs

1 link Italian Pork sausage

2/3 cup Potato salad

2/3 cup Pasta salad

Nutritional Info:        1,208 Calories

48g Protein

96g Fat (36g Saturated Fat)

34g Carbohydrates (2g Fiber)

233mg Cholesterol


FitChef’s BBQ Plate

6 oz. Chicken breast, grilled

1 medium ear of corn

1 cup Tomato & Mozzarella salad with basil

½ cup Black bean relish


Nutritional Info:      580 Calories

50g Protein

23g Fat (8g Saturated Fat)

43g Carbohydrates (9g Fiber)

135mg Cholesterol

* Nutrient Calculations were completed using the USDA nutrient database *


FitChef’s BBQ Plate Nutrient Highlights

Tomatoes – Tomatoes are high in lycopene, an important part of the antioxidant defense network. One of the benefits of eating foods high in lycopene is that this antioxidant can raise the sun protection factor (SPF) of the skin.  This means that by eating tomatoes increases your skin’s ability to fight off the sun’s damaging free radicals.  Just think of these foods as an internal sun block for your body!

Other foods high in lycopene – Watermelon, Pink grapefruit, Strawberries & Guava

Fit Chef’s Tip: When ordering pizza, a favorite bodybuilding cheat food, order your pie with half of the cheese and double the sauce, thereby increasing your intake of lycopene and reducing your fat intake without sacrificing taste.

Chicken breast – With a full range of amino acids, chicken breast should be part of a complete bodybuilding diet since the protein helps to rebuild and support muscle tissue.  In addition, chicken breast is a good source of the cancer-preventing B vitamin Niacin.  A niacin deficiency has been linked to DNA damage however a 4-ounce serving of chicken breast provides 72% of the daily value of niacin.

Other foods high in niacin – Beef, ready to eat breakfast cereal, mushrooms, kidney beans & bell peppers

Fit Chef’s Tip: Include a wide variety of bright fruits and vegetables to your nutrition program, aim for five servings per day.  A great source for finding produce that is in season is your local farmers market.  Find one near you: http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/

Black beans – This delicious food rich in vitamins, low in fat and high in fiber should be an essential part of a bodybuilder’s diet.  Beans are easy to store, great for your health and are available in virtually all supermarkets across the country.  Plus, research has shown that this amazing food has the power to lower cholesterol, combat heart disease, stabilize blood sugar and reduce hypertension, not to mention the fact that ounce for ounce beans are one of the most affordable sources of protein at around .20 cents per serving.  The protein profile is not as complete as that of chicken breast or beef, but the nutritional benefits far outweigh the side effects of the gas issue.

Other beans to try – Pinto, Navy, Chickpeas, White and Kidney beans

FitChef’s Tip: By rinsing canned beans twice under cold running water, you’ll reduce the amount of sodium added during the canning process by approximately 50%.  Toss ½ cup of beans into your side salad for an immediate nutritional upgrade.


Tomatoes: Hadley, C.W,., et al The consumption of processed tomato products enhances plasma lycopene concentrations in association with a reduced lipoprotein sensitivity to oxidative damage. J Nutr 2003; 133(3):727-32

Chicken: Norat, T., et al. Meat consumption and colorectal cancer: a review of epidemiologic evidence. Nutr Rev 200;59(2):37-47.

Black beans: Bazzano, L.A., et al. Legume consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women: NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study. Arch Int Med 2001; 161(21):2573-8.

Johnathan Zamora
The Fit Chef

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One Response for A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – BBQ Plate Special

  1. Chad


    July 13, 2010 2:35 pm

    Again thanks for the tips Johnathan. I’ll keep all these in mind the next time we goto the super market to get groceries to makes sure we have the right things in the fridge.