10 Healthy Summer Recipes That Will Keep You Feeling Good Throughout BBQ Season
Nice weather, family, friends, and delicious food — there’s lots to look forward to when it comes to summer barbecue season.
But, like so many other food-dependent celebrations, BBQs can present challenges too. Faced with chips, dips, lots of meat, and a plethora of dessert options, it can be tough to find the balance between enjoying yourself but not overindulging.
Fortunately, thanks to a few simple swaps, you don’t have to deprive yourself. Below are some ideas that will help you stay on track with your health goals, while also letting you take part in the fun of the season.
Look for chips that are cooked in coconut oil and try to make your own salsa and guacamole.
Kick off the party with some nourishing and tasty appetizers. Instead of Doritos, Lays, or other processed chips, try Jackson’s Honest or Siete Chips. These chips are made with high-quality, nutrient-rich ingredients like purple potatoes, organic blue corn, or sustainably-sourced cassava. Plus, they’re cooked in coconut oil. Coconut oil contains monounsaturated fats, which are more easily digested by your body and are considered healthier than traditional cooking oils, which contain saturated fats. Serve them with some homemade salsa and guacamole.
Raw veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, and tomatoes are an easy app, and you can always add your favorite flavor of hummus for dipping.
Load your salad with colorful veggies and some fruit for added crunch.
Instead of a Caesar salad that’s doused in creamy dressing, upgrade to a more colorful salad that’s packed with both texture and taste. Try kale, diced sweet potato, shredded red cabbage, cashews, and some fruit such as apple or dried cherries. This way you’re getting both some crunch and a bit of sweetness! Skip processed dressings — which are often loaded with hidden sugars — and opt to make your own using olive oil and dijon mustard.
When it comes to protein, swap bison and turkey for beef, and get creative with skewers.
While treating yourself to a hot dog every once in a while isn’t the end of the world (it is a summer staple), it’s not the most nutrient-dense choice of meat out there. Hot dogs are highly processed, and they also contain nitrates, a preservative that has been linked to cancer in animals.
Grilling high protein skewers like Chili Lime Shrimp Skewers or chicken sausage can be a good alternative. Both are hearty and delicious and they’re not stuffed with any by-products. And if you’re worried about the fat content in red meat favorites like burgers, throw some turkey or bison burgers on the grill instead. And for the vegetarians at your BBQ, this recipe for Black Bean Quinoa Veggie burgers is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Try a bun alternative like lettuce wraps or sweet potatoes.
Whether you’re gluten free, cutting carbs, or just trying to eat healthier, you might want to opt out of a bun. Much like a hot dog, buns often provide lots of calories and not many nutrients. Popular bun alternatives include lettuce wraps (use Boston lettuce to make these), as well as sweet potato “buns” or portebello mushrooms.
Whip up your own condiments or purchase an organic brand.
Many people look at condiments as an innocent add-on that doesn’t make much of a difference. The truth is that many of the sauces used during a barbeque are loaded with high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and other processed ingredients. There are many delicious, homemade recipes for BBQ sauce, ketchup, and honey mustard that will provide with you the same taste, but without all the added ingredients.
Fresh fruit is an ideal summer dessert that’s light but will still satisfy your sweet tooth.
Never underestimate the power of a fresh, sliced watermelon for dessert. Digging into a heavy dessert in the heat isn’t always a great idea, but fresh fruit can be both light and extremely satisfying. If you want to get fancy, try adding fresh herbs to your fruit salad or drizzling some lemon or lime over it.
If you’re craving ice cream, make these healthy Strawberries-and-Cream Ice Cream Pops. All you need is five ingredients, a food processor, ice mold, and a freezer.