Skip to main content UVA Health logo of UVA Health
Healthy Balance

Tips for a Healthy Barbecue without Blowing Your Diet

man grilling for friends and family without hurting their diet

You may cringe at the thought of a season full of barbecues if you’re trying to follow a healthy diet. But just because you fire up the grill doesn’t mean you need to cook greasy burgers, sausage or ribs. You can still enjoy a healthy barbecue without blowing your diet. In fact, this method of cooking is an easy way to eat healthy because grilling doesn’t require lots of fat or sauce for food to taste delicious.

There are plenty of healthy options to choose from when preparing food on the grill. Just make a few simple swaps and you’re on your way to a summer filled with delicious food shared outdoors with friends and family.

Make Your Barbecue Healthier

Try these simple tips for a tasty and healthy barbecue fare.

  • Love burgers? Choose low-fat beef, turkey or veggie burgers instead of ground beef with a high fat content. To add flavor, experiment with seasonings and top with grilled onions, mushrooms or tomatoes. If you can’t live without cheese, put a little inside the burger and you’ll get that cheesy taste with less fat than if you smother the burger with cheese.
  • Can’t do without sausage? Choose turkey or chicken sausage and you’ll get to enjoy the flavor without the fat. From fiery hot to mildly sweet, there are loads of tastes to suit any palate.
  • Want to go lean? Use marinades to 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. Skinless chicken breasts and pork tenderloin are lean and tasty options. Fish like salmon, tuna and swordfish also taste great when grilled. Or dust shrimp with dry spices, skewer and grill for just a few minutes.
  • Don’t forget the veggies. Corn, eggplant, zucchini, portobello mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, onions and peppers are grill favorites. Coat with a little olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper before tossing on the grill rack.
  • End on a sweet note. Pineapple rings, peach halves or watermelon wedges taste great when grilled and provide a sweet end to your al fresco meal without added sugar or fat.

Had a Grilling Accident?

Accidents happen especially while cooking. If you experienced a grilling mishap, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider.

Healthy Barbecue Recipes

Share your favorite healthy grilling recipes in the comments below.

Copyright 2019 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

Health eCooking® is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

Reply & View Comments Search Submit

Subscribe for Updates

Get stories & health tips every week