Fire Up the Grill Without Blowing Your Diet

Try these simple swaps for tasty and healthy barbecue fare.

If you’re trying to follow a healthy eating plan, you may cringe at the thought of a season full of barbecues. But just because you fire up the grill doesn’t mean you need to cook greasy burgers, sausage or ribs. In fact, this method of cooking is an easy way to eat healthy because grilling doesn’t require lots of fat or sauce for food to taste delicious.  

There are plenty of healthy options to choose from when preparing food on the grill. Just make a few simple swaps and you’re on your way to a summer filled with delicious food shared outdoors with friends and family.

To make your next BBQ healthier:

  • Love burgers? Choose low-fat beef, turkey or veggie burgers instead of ground beef with a high fat content. To add flavor, experiment with seasonings and top with grilled onions, mushrooms or tomatoes. If you can’t live without cheese, put a little inside the burger and you’ll get that cheesy taste with less fat than if you smother the burger with cheese.
  • Can’t do without sausage? Choose turkey or chicken sausage and you’ll get to enjoy the flavor without the fat. From fiery hot to mildly sweet, there are loads of tastes to suit any palate.
  • Want to go lean? Use marinades to add flavor and tenderize leaner cuts of meat. Experiment with mustard, vinegar, fresh herbs, garlic, fruit juices, teriyaki or soy sauce and hot pepper flakes in addition to a bit of heart-healthy olive oil. Skinless chicken breasts and pork tenderloin are lean and tasty options. Fish like salmon, tuna and swordfish also taste great when grilled. Or dust shrimp with dry spices, skewer and grill for just a few minutes.
  • Don’t forget the veggies. Corn, eggplant, zucchini, portobello mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, onions and peppers are grill favorites. Coat with a little olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper before tossing on the grill rack.
  • End on a sweet note. Pineapple rings, peach halves or watermelon wedges taste great when grilled and provide a sweet end to your al fresco meal without added sugar or fat.

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Date Last Reviewed: March 14, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN

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