Food

23 Easy Tricks For A Healthier Barbecue

Eating grilled shrimp isn’t exactly a sacrifice, you know?

1. Lighten up your dip by using greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

Jessica Merchant / howsweeteats.com

Healthier dip just means you can eat more chips, right?

(Wrong. For the record, that is wrong. It doesn’t work like that.)

Recipe: Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip

2. Make guacamole lower-fat by cutting the avocado with another vegetable.

Trish Cowper / infinebalance.com

Adding frozen peas keeps the guacamole green and adds a subtle sweetness.

Recipe: Lighter Guacamole

3. Or, serve a fun, fruity salsa instead.

Chung-Ah Ree / damndelicious.net

Just don’t go crazy with the chips.

Recipe: Strawberry Mango Salsa

4. If you’re brave, replace chips and dip with crudités so beautiful that guests forget they’re eating raw vegetables.

Seasoning your vegetables with lime, salt, and chili powder is a nice touch.

Recipe Crudités à la Mexicaine

Pre-portioning will keep everyone from double (or, ahem, triple) dipping.

Recipe: Crudités with Roasted Red Pepper Buttermilk Dip

5. Make a really kick-ass salad that people will actually want to eat.

Marla Meridith / familyfreshcooking.com

Use seasonal produce to make your salads colorful and more appetizing.

Recipe: Strawberry Avocado Asiago Spring Salad

Lettuce-free salads don’t wilt as quickly, so they’re great for long barbecues.

Recipe: Greek Salad

And, just a little bit of cheese goes a long way.

Recipe: Zucchini Ribbon Salad

6. Position the aforementioned salad at the front of the buffet line.

Putting salad on your plate first means less room for other, less healthy things.

7. Always make your own vinaigrette instead of buying bottled salad dressing.

Danny Kim / bonappetit.com

Homemade vinaigrette — one part vinegar or citrus juice, two parts oil, plus whatever flavorings you’d like — is not only super easy to make, it’s also healthier than the bottled kind, since there are no preservatives, colorings, or added sugars.

Recipe: Simone’s Shallot Vinaigrette

8. Serve a delicious, no-mayo potato salad.

Laura Sant / saveur.com

Warm potato salad with a super vinegar-y dressing is tangy and totally refreshing.

Recipe: Warm Red Potato Salad

Using lots of herbs adds flavor without adding any fat or sugar.

Helen Rosner / saveur.com

This recipe is packed with parsley, but dill tastes amazing in potato salad, too.

Recipe: Moroccan Potato Salad

9. Take the mayo out of your coleslaw, too.

Marc Matsumoto / pbs.org

You won’t miss it, and it’ll taste much fresher.

Recipe: No-Mayo Coleslaw

10. Better yet, make a veggie-packed sweet potato salad instead.

Maria & Josh Lichty / twopeasandtheirpod.com

Recipe: Southwestern Grilled Sweet Potato Salad

11. Instead of burgers, grill a lean cut of steak.

Randy Harris / bonappetit.com

Burgers inevitably come with all kinds of not-so-healthy extras: cheese, sugary condiments, bacon, white bread, more cheese, etc. These add up quickly, so you’re better off eating a super-flavorful piece of steak, with salsa verde or just a little bit of steak sauce.

Recipe: Grilled Skirt Steak with Herb Salsa Verde

Skirt steak, hanger steak, flank steak, and sirloin are all good, lean cuts that grill well.

Recipe: Grilled Steak and Vegetables

12. Ban hot dogs. Pork skewers are more fun and don’t have scary filler ingredients.

Henry Fong / nomnompaleo.com

Also, no need to serve kebabs on refined buns, slathered in ketchup and barbecue sauce.

Recipe: Peachy Pork-A-Bobs

13. Grill chicken that will upstage any red meat by marinating it beforehand.

Victoria Berman / avocadopesto.com

Simply marinating your chicken in a mixture of lemon juice and soy sauce for at least an hour before grilling it will make it delicious. More importantly, it’ll keep it from drying out on the grill.

Recipe: Grilled Chicken Thighs

Using skinless chicken breasts means lots of protein with very little fat.

Recipe: Buttermilk and Herb Marinated Chicken

14. Shake things up by grilling healthy shrimp kebabs.

Shrimp is healthy, filling, and super quick to cook on the grill.

Recipe: Chipotle Lime Shrimp

Scallops are another great, grill-able shellfish option.

Citrus-y grilled scallops are sweet, juice and perfect.

Recipe: Grilled Scallop and Orange Skewers

15. Serve grilled portobello mushrooms as a vegetarian main dish.

Most veggie burgers have not-so-great ingredient lists. Plus, they often fall apart on the grill.

Recipe: Grilled Balsamic Portobello Mushrooms

16. If you can’t live without burgers, check out these 25 healthier burger options.

Hirsheimer Hamilton / bonappetit.com

Recipe: Turkey Spinach Sliders

17. When it comes to condiments, mustard is your best friend.

 

Ketchup and barbecue sauce are loaded with sugar, and mayonnaise is essentially all fat. Mustard adds a ton of flavor and a little bit of spice, so set out a variety of different kinds for guests to pair with their meat.

18. Remember that vegetables love the grill, too.

Ryan Liebe / marthastewart.com

Veggie kebabs are easy to grill and easy to eat.

Recipe: Grilled Eggplant with Tomatoes, Basil, and Feta

Layer a bunch on skewers for easier handling.

Recipe: Grilled Vegetable Skewers

19. DItch pre-made mixers and make your own low-sugar coktails.

tashka2000 / http://thinkstockphotos.com

A classic mojito has just one teaspoon of sugar per drink. The majority of the flavor comes from lime and mint.

Recipe: Sloppy Joe’s Mojito

Using freshly squeezed citrus juice is key here.

Cameron Whitman / http://thinkstockphotos.com

A real margarita is just tequila, triple-sec, lots of fresh lime, and the tiniest bit of agave. Pre-mix a whole pitcher for guests to enjoy throughout the party.

Recipe: Healthy Margarita

20. Consider the wine spritzer.

Charles Masters / bonappetit.com

One part white wine + One part club soda makes for a low-calorie drink that’s perfect for summer. Also, diluting the wine with water means the booze won’t go to your head and convince you that eating three cheeseburgers is a good idea.

Recipe: Wine Spritzer

21. Serve iced tea instead of punch or lemonade.

Michael Depasquale / bonappetit.com

Your best bet is unsweetened. Cold-brew ice tea is flavorful enough that you can drink it without any sugar.

Recipe: Cold-Brew Ice Tea

If you can’t drink it unsweetened, add a little fruit juice.

Katie Goodman / goodlifeeats.com

Recipe: Tangerine Raspberry Iced Tea

22. Serve sweet, caramelized grilled fruit for dessert.

Much more bikini-friendly than pie.

Recipe: Brown Sugar Grilled Pineapple

23. Popsicles are another good dessert option.

Kimberly Hasselbrink / theyearinfood.com

Fruit-based and super refreshing.

Recipe: Summer Berry Mint Ice Pops

If you want, sneak in a little booze (hey, you’ve earned it).

Naiomi Robinson / endlesssimmer.com

Recipe: Grapefruit and Strawberry Greyhound Poptails

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