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Summer BBQ Healthy Cooking

Summer is a great time to fire up the grill and enjoy the warmer weather and some delicious BBQ with family and friends. However, traditional BBQ foods can be high in calories, saturated fat, and sodium, which can compromise your health. To help you make your BBQ’s healthier we’ll explore some Summer BBQ healthy cooking tips to help you create delicious, flavourful BBQ meals that won’t derail your healthy eating goals.

Summer BBQ Healthy Cooking Is Easier Than You Think
Summer BBQ Healthy Cooking Is Easier Than You Think–Photo by Dana Tentis on Pexels.com

Plan Your Summer BBQ Healthy Cooking Menu In Advance 

The first step to ensuring your summer barbecue is a healthy one is to plan out your menu in advance. This strategy gives you the opportunity to ensure that you include lean proteins, limit processed foods, add colourful vegtables, and include healthy sides, and wholegrain breads for you and any guests you invite.

Choose Lean Proteins

Protein is a crucial component of any BBQ meal, but it’s important to choose lean sources to keep your meal healthy. Consider options like skinless chicken breasts, fish, turkey burgers, or tofu instead of traditional high-fat meats like beef burgers or sausages.

HOT Tips for Preparing Lean Proteins:

  • Marinade your proteins to add flavor without adding calories.
  • Grill your proteins on a lower temperature to prevent charring and reduce the risk of carcinogens.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure your proteins are cooked to the proper temperature.
Choose Lean Proteins When Cooking A Healthy Summer BBQ
Choose Lean Proteins When Cooking A Healthy Summer BBQ–Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Limit Processed Foods 

When you are having a summer barbecue, you may be tempted to head to the store and buy processed items such as sausages, hams, hot dogs and hamburgers. These are often a convenient and cheaper way to fill plates. However, the problem is that processed food is unhealthy due to it being higher in saturated fats, sugars and salt. Limiting or even eliminating the amount of processed food being served at your BBQ will instantly make it healthier for you and your guests.

Sausages And Other Processed Foods Are Not Healthy Summer BBQ Options
Sausages And Other Processed Foods Are Not Healthy Summer BBQ Options–Photo by Mali Maeder on Pexels.com

Add Colorful Vegetables To Your Summer BBQ Healthy Cooking

Vegetables are a healthy addition to any meal, and BBQ is no exception. Grilled vegetables add flavour and texture to your BBQ meals while providing a variety of essential nutrients.

Some Vegetables to Consider:

  • Bell peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Corn on the cob
  • Asparagus
  • Portobello mushrooms

Hot Tips for Grilling Vegetables:

  • Cut your vegetables into even-sized pieces to ensure even cooking.
  • Brush your vegetables with a healthy oil like olive oil to prevent sticking.
  • Use a grill basket or skewers to make sure your vegetables don’t fall through the grates.
Summer BBQ Colourful Grilled Vegetables
Summer BBQ Colourful Grilled Vegetables–Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Choose Summer BBQ Healthy Cooking Sides

BBQ sides are often loaded with calories, sodium, and unhealthy fats. However, there are plenty of healthy options to choose from that are just as tasty. Consider options like grilled sweet potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, or a colourful quinoa salad.

A great example of a healthy and easy to make side dish for your BBQ is a Mexican coleslaw, which is ideal whether your barbecue is a spur of the moment get together or has been an event in the diary for weeks. 

Hot Tips for Summer BBQ Healthy Cooking Sides:

  • Look for recipes that use whole foods like whole grains, fresh vegetables, and legumes.
  • Swap out high-fat dressings for homemade vinaigrettes or dressings made with healthy fats like avocado or olive oil.
  • Use fresh herbs and spices to add flavor without adding salt.
Healthy Summer BBQ Sides
Healthy Summer BBQ Sides–Photo by ENESFİLM on Pexels.com

Choose Wholegrain Bread 

You’ve taken care of the meat, included healthy sides, and you’ve planned your foods in advance. So what else can you do to make your barbecue a healthy one? The answer is not to forget your bread. 
You’ll have burger buns and hotdog rolls and perhaps some wraps or pitta bread as well – this is all part of having a barbecue. However, white bread contains a lot of sugar, so you can switch to wholegrain bread instead. Again, no sacrifices on the type of food you eat and serve need to be made, but you’ll be healthier nonetheless.

Select Wholegrain Breads For Your Summer BBQ
Select Wholegrain Breads For Your Summer BBQ–Photo by Skyler Ewing on Pexels.com

Hydrate with Healthy Drinks

Staying hydrated is important, especially when you’re outside in the heat. Instead of sugary sodas or alcoholic beverages, opt for healthy and refreshing drinks like infused water, iced tea, or a simple fruit smoothie.

Hot Tips for Healthy Drinks:

  • Infuse water with fresh fruits like strawberries, citrus, or cucumber for a refreshing and healthy drink.
  • Brew iced tea using antioxidant-rich teas like green tea or hibiscus tea.
  • Make a simple fruit smoothie using fresh or frozen fruit, Greek yogurt, and a liquid of your choice like almond milk or coconut water.
Coconut Water And Other Drinks Are Ideal For A Healthy Summer BBQ
Coconut Water And Other Drinks Are Ideal For A Healthy Summer BBQ–Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

Summer BBQ Healthy Cooking Key Takeaways

In conclusion, summer BBQs can be both delicious and healthy. By following these tips for lean proteins, colourful vegetables, healthy sides, and refreshing drinks, you can create a tasty and nutritious BBQ meal that won’t sabotage your health goals.

To recap, Summer BBQ healthy cooking includes:

  1. Planning your BBQ menu in advance.
  2. Choosing lean proteins.
  3. Limiting processed foods.
  4. Adding colourful vegetables to your dishes.
  5. Select healthy side dishes.
  6. Choosing wholegrain breads.
  7. Hydrating with healthy drinks.

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