Healthy Swaps To Make At Your Next Barbeque | Good Food Made Simple
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Healthy Swaps To Make At Your Next Barbeque

Jun 27, 2019

One of the best parts about summer is the ability to eat outside and cook delicious food on the grill — while staying cool and refreshed with a beverage (or two). Yet as delicious as summer barbeques can be, they don’t always come with the healthiest dinner spread. Cue things like brats and burgers, coleslaw and potato salad, and a vast array of chips and dips. Let’s not forget a yummy dessert to top off the night while the coolers stay stocked with beer and wine.

While there’s nothing wrong with indulging every now and then, it’s also possible to throw an awesome barbeque and give it a healthy twist. We promise you won’t be sacrificing flavor or fun.

Here are some of our favorite healthy swaps to make at your next barbeque.

Eat This, Not That At Your Next Summer BBQ

Swap store-bought ketchup and bbq sauce for something homemade

You might not consider ketchup and barbeque sauce to be particularly sweet, yet a quick read of the ingredient list will tell you otherwise. Both condiments — which no good barbeque can do without — are packed with sugar that does little good for your health. That’s why the homemade stuff is so much better! Which just a few ingredients and little bit of time, you can whip up these condiments in your own kitchen, leaving sugar out of the equation. Our guess is it will taste a whole lot better, too.

Cook up portabella burgers instead of beef burgers

You might be thinking: What’s a barbeque without a burger? Stay with us. Portabella mushrooms have a super meaty texture, and marinated just right will make any meat lover satisfied. Plus, these mushrooms are filled with antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatories, and contain a healthy bout of vitamin B. Grill the shroom and then top it with avocado, arugula, and red onion. Shop for whole wheat burger buns or leave it out altogether.

Serve quinoa salad instead of macaroni salad

Is it just me, or does macaroni salad taste like equal parts pasta and mayonnaise? White pasta and mayo definitely aren’t on the top of the healthy food chain, which is why something like a fresh quinoa salad could happily take its place. Cook quinoa on the stovetop and chop up any of your favorite veggies and herbs to throw in. Dressings can be just as simple: some olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a little lemon juice can go a long way in terms of flavor.

Grill sweet potatoes instead of serving potato salad

If there’s no macaroni salad in sight, people might be hoping for some potato salad instead. Trust us: Grilled sweet potatoes will give any potato lover their fill, and once again you’ll avoid having to eat mayo! Sweet potatoes on the barbie are both savory and sweet, and all they really need is a sprinkle of salt.

Use tahini instead of mayo

For people who actually love mayo (we’re sure you’re out there) another thick and creamy substitute to try is tahini. Made from blended sesame seeds, tahini has a deliciously nutty and tangy flavor that will top mayo on the flavor charts any day. Tahini contains many healthy vitamins and minerals, and may help regulate blood pressure and cholesterol. It does contain a lot of (healthy) fats, so just be aware of how much you’re spreading on your burger.

Offer grilled veggies instead of chips

For whatever reason, people love to add a pile of potato chips to their plate when it’s ready to eat. Rather than offering processed potatoes, grill up a bunch of veggies that can be served as a side. Produce like zucchini, squash and eggplant cook up quite nicely on the grill and are way more nutritionally satisfying than chips.

Use kale over iceberg lettuce

While having a salad for your barbeque is a great first step, making one with iceberg lettuce means you’re missing out on some great health benefits. While iceberg lettuce does contain some nutrients — a little bit of vitamin A and C — dark and leafy greens like kale are way more nutritionally dense. In fact, it’s one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet. It’s packed with vitamins A, K, and C, is the queen of antioxidants, and also contains cancer-fighting substances. Make a kale salad with a creamy tahini dressing and your party goers will be coming back for seconds and thirds.

Serve spritzers instead of beer

For an adult beverage that is hydrating and low calorie, whip up a bunch of spritzers! These alcoholic drinks are part wine, part sparkling water, which makes them healthier to drink and not as sugary. You can make them easily in your own backyard, or see if your local liquor store carries spritzers that come in a can.

Enjoy grilled fruit instead of s’mores

Last but not least: dessert. Instead of grilled up marshmallows to make some smores (which, while delicious are also very messy) get creative and try barbequing different kinds of fruit! Most fruits grill really well, but it does help to coat them in a thin layer of oil so they don’t stick. Try making a grilled fruit salad with watermelon, peaches, pineapple, and grapefruit. Or, bonus points: head to your local farmers market and pick out what’s in season and grown in your own community.

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