Simple Swaps For A Healthier BBQ

Savor the tastes you love off the grill with these healthier substitutions.

A backyard barbecue can be enjoyed even when you’re following a healthy eating plan. Although BBQs may make you think of juicy hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage and ribs, there’s no reason you have to prepare high-calorie, high-fat foods just because you’re firing up the grill. In fact, it’s easy to eat healthy because this cooking method doesn’t require a lot of fat or extra sauces to make food taste great.

Here are some tips to make your next BBQ healthier:

  • Choose low-fat beef, turkey or veggie burgers instead of hamburgers with a high fat content. To add flavor, experiment with seasonings and top with grilled onions, mushrooms or tomatoes. Gotta have cheese? Add a small amount inside the burger instead of smothering cheese on top. You’ll still enjoy that cheesy taste without so much fat.
  • Skinless chicken breasts and pork tenderloin are a good alternative to red meat. Grill until cooked through and lightly brush with your sauce of choice at the end.
  • Can’t imagine a BBQ without sausage? Choose turkey or chicken sausage and you’ll still get to enjoy the flavor without the fat. From fiery hot to mildly sweet, you’ll find a taste to suit your palate.
  • Fish like salmon, tuna and swordfish are great grilling options. Or dust shrimp with dry spices, skewer and grill for just a few minutes.
  • Marinades 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.
  • Vegetables such as corn, eggplant, zucchini, portobello mushrooms and peppers are grill favorites. Coat with a little olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper before tossing on the grill rack.
  • Don’t forget about dessert when firing up the grill! Pineapple rings, peach halves or watermelon wedges taste great when grilled.


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Date Last Reviewed: April 14, 2020

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

Medical Review: Nora Minno, RD, CDN

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