Summertime is around the corner and it is time to warm up the grill and host a healthy barbecue! Grilling provides a variety of flavors and can be a great way to incorporate new foods into your routine. This cooking method requires less oil compared to searing or frying, and it can help melt the excess fats off some meats. While barbecues are often associated with indulgent and fatty foods, it doesn’t have to be that way! Using these tips allows you to host a healthy gathering everyone will enjoy.

Start off Strong

A large part of socialization revolves around food so the starters and appetizers will set the tone of the party. Try including lighter options such as veggies and hummus, whole wheat chips, and fresh salsa, or these Greek salad skewers! Keeping appetizers small and refreshing will avoid your guests from becoming too full before you even start cooking. This way people will be more inclined to eat all of the other delicious food being grilled!

Look for Lean Proteins

Dare to be different this BBQ season! Instead of the typical hot dogs and hamburgers, look into leaner proteins such as chicken, fish, or turkey burgers. Grilling helps add a natural flavor, and with the right marinade and seasoning, you won’t be able to tell it’s healthy!  Looking for a plant-based protein instead? Try grilling up some black bean burgers or making a white bean salad as a side dish.

Make a Marinade

A simple marinade goes a long way for grilled meat, fish, and chicken. Whether is it using oil with some lemon juice or getting creative with a spice rub of your choice, marinades help provide exceptional flavor with fewer calories and sodium. It has also been shown marinades help protect foods from carcinogens produced by the grill if they are cooked for too long.

Add a Little Color

Grilling is the perfect opportunity to add some color to your meals! Whether it is from vegetables or fruit, cutting them into smaller pieces allows for even cooking and a great taste that everyone will enjoy. Incorporating grilled vegetables can be a great side dish at any barbeque and can replace some of the higher fat sides that may be available, just add a coating of healthy oil to help prevent excess charring or sticking. Grilled fruit can serve as a great dessert because the sugars will caramelize with the high temperatures. This will satisfy that sweet tooth without excess calories or added sugars!

Healthy Hydration

As the sun blazes down on your barbecue, be sure to have plenty of drink choices. Try adding some cool beverage options for your guests to help keep them happy and hydrated. Combat the heat by having chilled water bottles or flavored seltzer water on hand. You could even try infusing a large pitcher with fruits, cucumber, or lemon for a great and refreshing taste!


Want more tools to stay on track with your health goals this summer? Set up an appointment with our dietitian today!