BBQ foods and the summer activities to burn off those calories

      Here are a few popular summer barbecue foods and what they "cost" in terms of activity.

      Barbecue Spareribs
      (5 medium)
      Calories: 650
      Exercise Equivalent (Cost to Burn Off the Calories): 92.5 minutes bicycling (10 mph-11.9 mph)
      Notes: Ribs are typically made with barbecue sauce, which contains sugar, honey and other fattening ingredients. The sauce wouldn't be so bad if it were applied lightly, but it's usually slathered on in layers. Since just 2 tablespoons of barbecue sauce have about 50 calories, you can see how the damage quickly adds up.
      Fit Tip: First of all, use baby back ribs. They're the smallest, which helps with portion control. Place them on the grill without any barbecue sauce; just season with kosher salt, fresh pepper and garlic powder and cook for 30-40 minutes. Watch carefully so they don't burn. Serve with barbecue sauce or hot sauce on the side.

      One 6-ounce Burger
      (80 percent lean ground beef with bun and all the toppings (mayo, cheese, bacon, ketchup, etc.)
      Calories: 700
      Exercise Equivalent (Cost to Burn Off the Calories): 132.8 minutes of badminton
      Fit Tip: Instead of the cheese, try lettuce and tomato. Stick to ketchup, mustard and pickles for extra flavor. Also, use lean ground beef instead of regular. Next, give your burger some extra texture and flavor by mixing the meat with chopped mushrooms, peppers and onions. Or, for variety, experiment with other vegetables, like chopped water chestnuts or sun-dried (not oil-packed) tomatoes. You'll have the same size burger, but it will be much lower in calories, and you'll also be getting the health benefits of all those vegetables.

      One Chicken Breast with BBQ Sauce
      Calories: 253
      Exercise Equivalent (Cost to Burn Off the Calories): 61.7 minutes of canoeing
      Fit Tip: Go skinless, and you could try lemon and pepper instead of barbecue sauce to lower the calories. Or, at the very least, compare barbecue sauces and pick the lowest-calorie brand (that is still tasty).
      FYI: One chicken drumstick with barbecue sauce has 242 calories and will cost you 34.4 minutes of swimming.

      Veggie Burger on a Bun
      Calories: 240
      Exercise Equivalent (Cost to Burn Off the Calories): Playing tennis for 29.3 minutes
      Fit Tip: Keep in mind that as you add extras, such as cheese, the calories will add up just as they would with any other burger.

      Pesto Pasta Salad
      (1 cup)
      Calories: 680
      Exercise Equivalent (Cost to Burn Off the Calories): 145.1 minutes of water aerobics or water calisthenics
      Fit Tip: Try adding a few chopped-up vegetables, and go light on the oil.

      (1 cup)
      Calories: 350
      Exercise Equivalent (Cost to Burn Off the Calories): Mowing the lawn (walking with a power mower) for 59.7 minutes
      Fit Tip: Use light or nonfat mayonnaise, and add some green and red peppers to increase the yield while cutting calories per cup. To make it simple, you can find coleslaw mixes in the vegetable section at the grocery store.

      Homemade Baked Beans
      (1 cup)
      Calories: 392
      Exercise Equivalent (Cost to Burn Off the Calories): Golf (walking and carrying clubs) 74.3 minutes
      Note: The problem is, baked beans are made with added sugar and/or molasses.
      Fit Tip: You can try using less sugar (or molasses) in your recipe. You're probably adding too much anyway. Try making your own bean salad instead. Choose your favorite beans, chop up an onion and some peppers, add a little lemon juice and vinegar for flavor, and you've got a nutrient-packed side dish.

      Hot Dog
      (2-ounce beef with bun, 2 tablespoons of sweet relish and 2.5 ounces of chili and mustard)
      Calories: 366 (Just the hot dog and bun are about 270 calories)
      Exercise Equivalent (Cost to Burn Off the Calories): 89.2 minutes playing golf (using power cart)
      Fit Tip: This summer alone, Americans will consume approximately 7 billion hot dogs. The key thing to look for is the bun. Hot dog buns can be very high in calories. Also, you can eat several hot dogs in one sitting try limiting yourself to no more than two as a meal and try putting two dogs in one bun.

      Potato Chips
      (2 handfuls)
      Calories: 300
      Exercise Equivalent (Cost to Burn Off the Calories): Jumping rope for 32 minutes
      Fit Tip: Slice your potatoes and put them on the grill with garlic, pepper and other spices for seasoning. Also, you can trying grilling a sweet potato, which has only 112 calories.

      Grilled Sweet Corn
      (One ear)
      Calories: 90
      Exercise Equivalent (Cost to Burn Off the Calories): Kayaking for 5.4 minutes
      Note: With a moderate glycemic index of 56 (compared with 100 for white bread), corn provides carbohydrates for energy without excessively raising blood sugar.
      Fit Tip: You don't need to drench good sweet corn in butter. Grilled corn tastes great without any toppings.

      Two Beers
      (12 ounces each)
      Calories: 300
      Exercise Equivalent (Cost to Burn Off the Calories): Sailing a Sunfish/Laser/Hobie Cat for 85.3 minutes
      Fit Tip: Try ultra-light beer do a taste test.

      Pina Colada
      (8 ounces)
      Calories: 437
      Exercise Equivalent (Cost to Burn Off the Calories): Water-skiing for 62.2 minutes
      Fit Tip: Drinking a glass of wine instead would save you about 300 calories, or try sparkling wine with a splash of club soda

      Glass of Lemonade
      (8 ounces)
      Calories: 99
      Exercise Equivalent (Cost to Burn Off the Calories): Body surfing for 28.2 minutes
      Fit Tip: Most lemonade contains sugar. Try squeezing 2 lemons into a glass of still or sparkling water.

      (One wedge/16 of a melon or about 10 ounces)
      Calories: 87
      Exercise Equivalent (Cost to Burn Off the Calories): Playing hopscotch for 14.8 minutes
      Fit Tip: Make sure you're not just eating watermelon or any fruit for that matter to quench your thirst. Still, watermelon, overall, is a great snack.

      CHARLES PLATKIN, Ph.D., is a nutrition and public health advocate and founder of Copyright 2014 by Charles Platkin. All rights reserved. Sign up for the free Diet Detective newsletter at The information provided is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician.