12 Healthy Barbecue Tips and Tricks

The summertime is synonymous with the outdoors, barbecues, campfires, patios and, of course, delicious food. Sometimes traditional barbecues are loaded with foods that may aggravate inflammation, cause digestive upset, throw our hormones out of whack, mess with our blood sugar levels, or have additional negative effects on our health – but with a few key tips and tricks, you can have a healthy barbecue filled with tasty foods that make you feel great!

12 Healthy Barbecue Tips and Tricks

Add Lots of Veggies to Your Meal

heathy BBQ

Many barbecues are heavy on the meat, carbs and sweets and light on veg. Focus on filling at least half your plate with fresh or grilled vegetables. A fresh salad is always a great choice, but you can also opt for fresh veggies and dips, healthful French fries, mixed bean salads, spiralized veggie noodles, salsa, or guacamole (you can even make guac on the grill!).

Create Your Own Burgers

20 Best Burger Recipes

Sure, there are loads of burgers at the grocery store but when you make them from scratch there’s no preservatives, binders, fillers, factory-farmed animal products or byproducts – just whole ingredients (and no freezer burn either!). Whether you love making veggie or meat burgers, there are plenty of options to choose from in this post of 20 Best Burger Recipes.

Choose the Best Quality Protein You Can Find and Afford

Healthy barbecue tips

Photo: Christiann Koepke from Unsplash

Whether we’re choosing to grill burgers, chicken, or fish at your healthy barbecue, we opt for meat that is organic and grass-fed, and fish that is sustainable (if you’re confused by meat labels, this is a great guide to what all the terms mean). If you’re grilling tofu or tempeh skewers, we recommend non-GMO soy – and be careful about the veggie burgers you buy. You want to ensure you’re purchasing a veggie burger that is made up of actual vegetables, not highly processed powders that are far removed from its original form.

Use a Heat Stable Cooking Oil

Healthy barbecue tips

When throwing something on the barbecue you’re typically cooking at very high heats, so be sure to use heat-stable cooking oils such as ghee or coconut oil. You can find a full guide to the best oils for cooking (and what should never be heated) here.

Explore Alternative Bun Options

Healthy Barbecue Recipes

Burger buns tend to be huge and fill you up without providing much in the way of nutrition. Explore different foods you can use to wrap up your burgers – lettuce wraps are an easy one, and you can find a few more ideas here. Or, you can create a deconstructed burger bowl and serve it on top of grilled veggies, salad, or cauliflower rice. Dollop on a good homemade sauce and you’re golden.

Make Your Own Condiments

homemade BBQ sauce

Once you explore homemade condiments, it’s hard to go back to the store-bought versions. This is a full recipe roundup of all the condiments you can make at home, including barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, vegan mayo, salsa, and much more!

Try Fun Mocktails!

Healthy Barbecue Mocktails

Channel your inner mixologist and concoct healthy mocktails, iced elixirs, homemade kombucha, infused water, or chill your favourite herbal tea. There are so many options to choose from, you could create a signature cocktail for each healthy barbecue!

Add a Fermented Food To Your Plate

Healthy Barbecue Mocktails

Fermented foods are a rich source of probiotics that help to support our immunity and foster good digestion. We love a good homemade pickle (learn how to make them here), a side of sauerkraut, or kimchi is also an option if you enjoy spicy foods.

Serve A Healthy Dessert

Healthy barbecue tips

There are tons of options for sweet treats that will satisfy any sweet tooth at your healthy barbecue and provide plenty of nutrition. Fresh fruit is always a fantastic choice (watermelon is ultra yummy in the summertime) or you can use your barbecue to grill fruits like peaches, pineapple, bananas, or nectarines. Otherwise, you can choose from one of these delectable desserts:

Stay Hydrated

Best Hydrating Foods

If you’re out in the heat during your healthy barbecue, ensure you stay hydrated with plenty of beverages and foods rich in electrolytes (that aren’t sports drinks) that will help you beat the heat.

Practice Safe Sun Protection

Healthy Barbecue

Photo: Bianca Mentil from Pixabay

There are many ways that we can enjoy the sun responsibly and that includes what we eat and how we interact with the sun. Check out this post to learn more about how you can practice safe sun exposure, along with the best foods to eat for sun protection.

Consider Making Your Healthy Barbecue a Potluck

Healthy Barbecue

Whether you’re having a single guest or 5 guests, consider asking them to bring a dish. While you’ll have less control over the dishes other people bring, there is something to be said about the health benefits of lowered stress that making an entire meal may cause, as well as the health benefits of enjoying a meal with loved ones. Learn more about the keys to a good potluck dish here.

With these healthy barbecue tips and tricks, you and your family can enjoy a fantastic meal, great company and feel good in your body at the end of the day.

Healthy BBQ tips and tricks

Header Image: iStock/Olga Peshkova