Barbecues are one of the best parts of summer. Nothing is better than sitting outdoors with your family and friends, enjoying good food and even better company. But barbecues don’t come without their challenges: You may be trying to eat healthy, but when faced with the glorious array of options at a barbecue, it’s so easy to cave. Of course, you should always eat what you want, and if a juicy grilled burger is just what you’re craving, we say go for it! But if you’re looking for a few healthy alternatives, we’ve rounded up some easy ways to slim down your summer cookout without sacrificing taste. So go ahead and barbecue, resting assured that you’ll be able to stay on track with your health goals. You’ll feel your best, because these swaps all contain better-for-you ingredients that will help you shine inside and out.
Try using a splash of fresh lime juice on your corn on the cob. It will save calories while adding zesty flavor. Here’s a great recipe for classic grilled corn on the cob.
OK, who are we kidding? Cocktails and summer spritzers make a barbecue extra delicious. Just avoid the ones with tons of sugar and go for a classic cocktail like a refreshing vodka and soda. Garnish with lemon and lime, or get creative and use fresh peppers or herbs. If you’re looking for something non-alcoholic but still cooling, try a smoothie; here’s how to make kale smoothies you actually want to drink.
Try grilling up some turkey burgers. You're swapping out fatty red meat for a leaner option that really doesn’t sacrifice a ton of taste. Just be careful of your burger toppings! For a healthy spin on the traditional burger, try our quinoa-black bean turkey burgers.
Try serving chicken sausages. They are hearty and flavorful, and they grill up just like a hot dog. The only difference is that they’re not stuffed with any questionable meat by-products. For something a little different, try our Italian chicken sausage and white bean sandwiches.
Even if you’re trying to stay healthy, don’t forget to treat yourself. Your guests will be super impressed with these healthy strawberries-and-cream ice pops!
Can’t live without the creamy sides? Try making your favorite dish with a Greek yogurt swap. This broccoli slaw Waldorf salad recipe calls for half of the usual amount of mayo and uses Greek yogurt in place of it, adding protein and calcium to the salad.
Try avocado! Substituting mashed avocado for oil in this avocado sage cornbread recipe retains moisture but reduces unhealthy fat content.
Why not put out a much healthier appetizer? Grill up some seafood and skip the hefty red meat with its sticky-sweet marinade. These grilled lemon pepper shrimp kebabs fit the bill!
Make your own! Seriously, it’s incredibly easy and will eliminate some of that excess sugar. This marinade recipe from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que will add a punch of flavor to any dish you’re preparing.
Try white barbecue sauce! It’s healthy and tangy, and contains far less sugar than bottled barbecue sauces, whose top ingredients usually include high-fructose corn syrup. Check out this delicious recipe for white barbecue sauce with smoky chicken. Looking for more ways to keep your barbecue as healthy as possible? We’ve tracked down the healthiest and unhealthiest hot dogs you can buy at the supermarket.
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