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healthy barbecue ideas for summer

healthy barbecue ideas

Looking to grill and chill guilt free this summer? Here’s some healthy barbecue ideas, tips, and recipes to try this season!

Who Doesn't Love Barbecue?

Barbecue, also referred to as “BBQ”, is an American tradition which almost serves as a right-of-passage for bringing in the summer season properly. You might not be surprised to know that these ‘grill-outs’ skyrocketed during the pandemic, with an estimated 11 million more barbecues being held during peak quarantine season. Allegedly in 2022, over 180,000 people claimed to have even barbecued their Christmas dinner!

Needless to say, barbecue is a fun and delicious way to enjoy the outdoors and spend time with friends and family. However, it can also be a time for unhealthy and/or overeating. With a few simple changes, you can make your barbecue meals healthier without sacrificing the flavor! Here’s some healthy barbecue ideas to try.

Healthy Barbecue Ideas

  • Choose lean meats and poultry: Lean meats and poultry are lower in fat and calories than fatty cuts. Look for cuts that are labeled “extra lean” or “lean.”
  • Use marinades and rubs instead of sauces: Marinades and rubs can add flavor without the added fat and calories of sauces.
  • Serve plenty of healthy sides: Healthy sides, such as grilled vegetables, salads, and fruits, can help to balance out the unhealthy aspects of barbecue.
  • Grill vegetables: Vegetables are a great way to add color, flavor, and nutrients to your barbecue. Grilled vegetables are a low-calorie, high-fiber option that is perfect for a healthy barbecue meal.
  • Limit processed foods: While foods such as hot dogs, sausages, and burgers are often first to hit the grill, they’re also high in calories and sodium. While great in moderation, incorporate unprocessed meats like chicken and fish into the mix.
  • Make your own sauces: Store-bought barbecue sauces can be high in sugar, fat, and calories. Make your own sauce at home using healthier ingredients, such as low-sodium ketchup, vinegar, and spices.

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Salmon - An Underrated BBQ Treat


  • 1 pound salmon fillet, skin on
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as dill or parsley


  • Preheat your grill to medium heat.
  • In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and herbs.
  • Brush the salmon fillet with the olive oil mixture.
  • Grill the salmon for 6-8 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
  • Serve with your favorite sides!

Grilled Chicken Kabob Recipe


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


  • In a large bowl, combine the chicken, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parsley.
  • Thread the chicken onto skewers.
  • Grill the skewers over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Serve with your favorite sides.

Grilled Eggplant Recipe


  • 3 medium eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons of fine sea salt
  • 6-8 cups of cold water
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil


  • In a large bowl, dissolve the 2 tablespoons of salt in 1 cup of warm water. Add the cold water and stir.
  • Cut the eggplant into 3/4 inch thick slices, discarding the stem.
  • Brine the slices in the salt water for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Pat the eggplant slices dry, brush with olive oil and sprinkled salt, then grill for 3-4 minutes. 

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