Healthy BBQ Ideas For the 2021 Season

May 24, 2021
Healthy Eating

Barbeque season is back. And just in time, as larger gatherings are Covid-approved! Whether your weight changed or not in the past year, it’s never a bad idea to balance any eating occasion with some healthy options too. This dietitian recommends prioritizing your indulgences: choose 1 or 2 “treat yourself” foods and combine them with some healthier options listed below. Enjoy a happy and healthy summer!

1. Have fun with hamburger alternatives. Grill up salmon burgers, chicken breast marinated in BBQ sauce, or homemade black bean burgers to cut back on the lesser healthy fats that may not be worth the indulgence for you.

2. Ban the bun. Not a big bun person, but not sure how else to eat your favorite burger or hot dog ingredients? Try lettuce wraps with butter lettuce, use a whole wheat or corn tortilla, or cook together a few favorite ingredients together in a foil packet. Try this recipe for a chicken, corn, and tomato foil pack that delivers a ton of flavor.

3. Add a grilled fruit slice to your burger. Sweet options like peaches and pineapple add an unexpected twist that provides another huge layer of flavor.

4. Try baking your own chips (potato, carrot, or beet) in the oven or air fryer for a healthier alternative to bagged potato chips.

5. Grill up vegetables on a kebab (or on foil like asparagus) for a smoky side dish. 

6. Have fun with fruit and keep it flowing! Create fruit salads with different colors and make sure there’s plenty for everyone to grab a nutrient-packed snack. Consider a fruit salad with strawberries, blueberries, and light honeydew for a red, white, and blue theme!

7. Make your salads...non-boring. Mix flavors and textures by combining romaine lettuce, avocado, strawberries, elbow pasta, and sharp parmesan cheese. Or, try a mix of in-season cherry tomatoes, freshly grilled corn, finely chopped red onion, black beans, and lime juice. 

8. Provide the opportunity for whole grain. A Greek quinoa salad with cucumber, feta cheese, and tomatoes is just as refreshing as a heavier pasta salad.

9. Add a (healthier) dessert. Grill up apple slices then combine them in foil with cinnamon and a Tbsp each of raw oats, brown sugar, and butter for a much healthier alternative to apple pie. Enjoy with full-fat plain yogurt, or with whipped cream that still saves tons of calories over ice cream.

10. Make smoothie popsicles. The night before, make a few different 3-portion smoothies (peanut butter banana, mixed berry and lemon, pineapple cucumber) and pour into popsicle molds for fresh, high-nutrient options without any added sugars. 

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– Samantha Marks, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian | Email Samantha

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