May is National Barbeque Month and a great time to dust off the grill and get creative with healthy, yet satisfying recipes, perfect for dining al fresco. Check out these smart swaps and tasty tips to kick off grilling season!
Grilling is a simple way to prepare nutritious meals and enhances the flavor of any food, from seafood and steaks to fruits and vegetables. There are many ways to think outside the box when it comes to typical cookout fare, including vegetarian and vegan options, lighter side dishes, and even dessert. With a few simple swaps, you’ll enjoy healthy and delicious meals all summer long.
Beyond the Butcher Counter: Vegan and Vegetarian Options
Although BBQ often conjures images of grilled meats slathered in sweet sauces, there are many different foods that can benefit from the added flavor of the grill. Whether catering to an individual vegetarian request, or planning an entire plant-based meal, these ideas will help keep everyone happy.
- Grilled Spinach Burgers
- Grilled Flatbread Pizzas
- BBQ Tofu
- Tomato, Feta and Pita Skewers
- Grilled Radicchio and Romaine Salads
- Grilled Pineapple, Mango and Peach Kebab
Sear and Sizzle with Seafood
Grilled fish is a classic low-calorie dish, but try a few less expected fish and shellfish varieties to create flavorful and nutritious dishes to impress guests or simply enjoy with the family.
- Curry Marinated Grilled Shrimp
- Sweet Teriyaki Fish Skewers
- Grilled Ahi Tuna Steaks with Avocado Salsa
- Cedar Plank Salmon
Traditional BBQ food can often include a lot of added sugar, fat and calories. With a few simple substitutions, though you can create a meal that is fun, healthy and deliciously suitable for a summer soiree.
- Traditional BBQ sauces can include up to 15 grams of sugar per serving (that’s THREE teaspoons)! Try to use the sweet stuff lightly and aim to add heat to your dishes with spices instead, including red pepper flakes and chili pepper.
- Mayo-based potato salads can be found at almost every cookout, but a 1 cup serving can include up to 20 grams of fat. To slash calories and fat, try using Greek yogurt instead of mayo, or try a vinegar-based recipe. Potatoes and sweet potatoes also make excellent sides when grilled with a bit of coconut oil, too!
- Chips and dip make an easy appetizer while manning the grill, but can lead to many added calories, fat and sodium – all before the real meal even begins. Instead, try serving hummus with crudités (cut-up veggies) or homemade baked tortilla chips with salsa. If your party just isn’t complete without guacamole, try mixing 1 part guacamole and 1 part salsa for added spice and half the calories.
- Additionally, fresh and grilled fruits make a great side or dessert. Try pairing grilled peaches or pineapple with a drizzle of honey and cinnamon. Enjoy!