Barbecue- the new health food at BBQ Festival on the Neuse

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Barbecue was the new health food at the 30th Annual BBQ Festival on the Neuse in Kinston this weekend, at least the version being served at the Heart Healthy Lenoir Project booth.

Visitors waiting in a long line for their plates of festival barbecue were offered a healthy alternative taste test by project team members. The heart healthy barbecue included cabbage, collards, sweet potatoes and onions mixed in with smoked pork shoulder and served over brown rice.

Festival visitors who tried the new barbecue recipe were quite positive, sometimes to their own surprise.

“I’ve eaten eastern-style barbecue all my life and love it,” said Brian Sutton, a Kinston native who now lives in Hillsborough.  “But I think preparing it this way tastes great, and I would definitely eat it again.” 
Even the brown rice was a hit, and many said they were surprised that vegetables could taste so good when blended with a bit of BBQ sauce and shredded pork shoulder.

With their booth positioned right next to the Farmer’s Market , the Heart Healthy Lenoir team served up their unique version of BBQ using many fresh vegetables currently in season and sold by local farmers.

The project team also served samples of fizzy fruit juice- a combination of 100% juice and seltzer that saves 100 calories and 8 tsp. of sugar compared to regular soda. The team handed out recipes and ideas for how to prepare barbecue and drinks more healthfully at home.

Festival goers found a lot of reasons to think about using the vegetable-packed BBQ recipe. Patricia Outlaw of Kinston said she would absolutely make the barbecue dish at home.

“I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and have been looking for healthy recipes to prepare,” she said.

Alice Ammerman, one of the principal investigators on the study and the director of the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, handed out samples to those waiting in line for the festival barbecue.

“Barbecue can be healthy,” said Ammerman, who is also a professor of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. “Adding vegetables is an easy way to add nutrients and flavor to something people already love.”

The Heart Healthy Lenoir project is a community-based research project designed to develop and test better ways to tackle heart disease from prevention to treatment.  The end goal is to  create long-term approaches to help Lenoir County reduce heart disease risk and related health problems in the community.

The project team also asked visitors to their booth to complete a short survey for an immediate $10 gift card to Wal-Mart. The project will begin recruiting participants later this summer.

For more information about the study, visit www.hearthealthylenoir.com.

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