BBQ Reimagined: How to Grill Up Healthier Meals By A Dietitian

Summer is the season for backyard BBQs and cookouts – and while we all love the relaxed vibe and tasty food, these gatherings can be a slippery slope when it comes to weight gain or unhealthy eating habits. Luckily, with a few simple tips and swaps, you can grill up healthier meals and still enjoy all the fun of summer gatherings. In this post, we’ll explore some tips and tricks for making BBQs healthier – from choosing leaner proteins to incorporating more veggies and fiber into your meals. Read our blog for tips on how to make BBQ healthier!

make BBQ healthier by grilling fruit or vegetables

Here are some of my favourite tricks to add more nutrients, to a meal that packs quite the punch!

  1. Start with Leaner Proteins: When it comes to BBQ, burgers, hot dogs, and sausages are often the go-to items – but these meats tend to be higher in unhealthy fats and calories.
    • To make your BBQ healthier, choose leaner proteins like chicken breasts, turkey burgers, or even shrimp skewers. Not only will you reduce your calorie intake, but you’ll also get a boost of protein which can help keep you feeling full and satisfied.
  2. Add More Veggies: Vegetables are a great way to add flavor and nutrition to your BBQ without piling on the calories.
    • Grilled veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant are delicious and low in calories, while leafy greens like kale and spinach can be used as a base for salads or sides.
    • You can even get creative and grill up fruits like peaches or pineapples for a sweet and healthy dessert option.
    • Make your own hidden vegetable burger patties. Grated zucchini, carrot,s or finely diced mushrooms work really well!
    • Reap the many benefits of cruciferous vegetables! These guys decrease the risk of cancer, improve hormonal balance, helps your liver out during the detox process, and many other pros!
      • For a quick swap that throws a little funk into the mix: opt for arugula instead of lettuce
      • If you’re a spicy food lover, or you dig trying new flavours: use wasabi or horseradish or kimchi as condiments
  3. Choose Healthier Sides: Potato chips and mayo-heavy potato salad may be BBQ staples, but they can also be calorie bombs.
    • To keep your sides healthy, swap traditional chips for air-popped popcorn or homemade kale chips, and opt for healthier salad choices like quinoa or bean salads.
    • For a refreshing alternative to sugary drinks, try infused water with fresh fruit or herbs.
  4. Don’t Overdo it With Sauces: BBQ sauces and dressings can be loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats, so it’s important to use them sparingly.
    • Stick to homemade sauces using fresh ingredients like mustard, honey, or apple cider vinegar, and avoid bottled sauces that have a lot of added sugars and preservatives.
    • You can also try using herbs and spices to add flavor without adding calories.
    • Try hummus as a condiment! It’ll add fibre, magnesium, folate, potassium, and selenium – what a simple nutrient infuser!
  5. Practice Portion Control: At BBQs, it can be easy to overindulge in tasty foods – but practicing portion control can help you stay on track with your health goals.
    • Use smaller plates and bowls, and focus on filling them up with nutrient-rich foods like lean proteins and vegetables. If you’re still hungry, you can always go back for seconds – but a smaller portion size can help you avoid overeating.
  6. Add Omega-3 Fats: A mashed avocado or guacamole should be a condiment of choice!
    • Plus, it can add a Southwestern flair to a regular ole burger patty.
  7. Make Better Swaps For Your Blood Sugar:
    • Switch a white hamburger bun for a sourdough bun which is a low glycemic index carbs (meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar compared to white bread products)
  8. Experiment With Plant-Based BBQ Options:
    • Options like a black bean or mushroom burger are delicious as can be!
    • Try adding tofu to your kebabs instead of meat!

Summer BBQs don’t have to be a health hazard – with a few simple swaps and tips, you can still enjoy all the delicious flavors and fun of grilling while staying on track with your weight loss or health goals. From choosing leaner proteins to adding more veggies to your plate, small changes can make a big difference in your overall health and wellness. So fire up the grill and get creative with your healthy BBQ options – your taste buds (and waistline) will thank you!

how to make BBQ healthier by a nutritionist

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