Staying healthy and sticking to your goals throughout the summer months can be a challenge. This is especially true when you have a calendar full of cookouts, vacations & parties! However, it can be simple if you just stick to a few of the my hot tips below. Alrighty, here we go – healthy BBQ ideas to ignite your next cookout!
1. Make Your Meal Satisfying, and Balance It Too
Try and load up your plate with lots of veggies, whole grains, and lean protein. Then just go light on processed items like crackers, bread, and chips. Also, stick to a small portion of heavy side dishes, such as pasta and potato salad.
However, don’t deprive yourself! If there is something you really want, then go for it but do so within a reasonable amount. Remember that it is much better to have it and feel satisfied, instead of leaving the cookout with cravings!
2. Find New Ways to Add Flavor
You don’t have to add loads of butter or salt to give your food flavor. While everyone loves corn at a cookout, they’re usually brushed with huge amounts of butter. So why not try smoking the corn instead?
This smoking process adds a ton of flavor without any unnecessary fats or oils. If you’re using a natural gas meat smoker, cook for 30 minutes or until tender. On the other hand, if you like the corn a bit crunchy, try 45 minutes. You can also try smoking:
All these veggies take on a delicious smoky flavour, making them great healthy BBQ ideas.
3. Bring a Healthy Dish to Share
This tip is a no brainer. If you bring a healthy dish that you enjoy to the cookout, you’ll know for sure that there is at least one healthy option there. Plus, you’ll be able to introduce your family and friends to some new yummy recipes, like Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa.
4. Give Yourself Time
After your first plate, give yourself 20 minutes before reaching for another helping. It’s a 20-minute period because it takes that long for your brain to register your meal and send the messages to the rest of your body. If you’re still hungry after that, grab some more protein and veggies to make sure you feel satisfied.
5. Hostess with the Mostess
If you’re the one entertaining, then make sure you offer some healthy BBQ ideas for snack foods. Remember that you don’t have to win your guests over with fried goodies! Why not try posciutto wrapped prawns or watermelon, feta, and blueberry skewers. Having two or three of these little snacks will feel indulgent while keeping your guests from feeling too full to enjoy the rest of the meal.
6. Make Friends with Dessert
Your cookout doesn’t have to have cakes and fried doughnuts for dessert. Instead, try brushing some plums, pineapples, and peaches with a little bit of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
These little bites only need 4-8 minutes on the grill, depending on the heat. As a finishing touch, top them with a spoonful of Greek yogurt or cottage cheese and a sprig of mint. Or, make this super easy food swap for ice cream.
7. More Healthy BBQ Ideas: Stay Hydrated
Making sure you drink enough water is important. Period. But it’s even more so during the summer months. That’s because being out in the sun or drinking alcohol probably means you need to drink even more water than usual for proper hydration. Therefore, take a reusable water bottle to the BBQ and remember to keep topping it up.
8. Rather Than Indulge in Everything, Pick One Thing!
Another of the useful healthy BBQ ideas is to pick one indulgant component. That might be dessert, apps, or alcohol. If you want to treat yourself to a cocktail or wine then skip dessert. However, if there is something that is really calling your name for dessert, then skip the glass of wine.
9. Don’t Overstay at the Food table
Try not to continually graze. Instead, eat your main meal and enjoy it. If you hang out by the food table, you might end up mindlessly munching away just because the food is there not because you are actually hungry.
10. Focus on Friends and Family
Rather than the food be the main focus of the party, try playing some fun games. Fun lawn games include:
If you’re lucky to have a pool, throw on your swimwear and splash about with the kids like a pool party! It’s these moments that you will remember and cherish, rather than feeling guilty later for overeating or having some unhealthy food.
A Few Last Words
It’s important to relax and enjoy all your summer events! There is no need to get too wrapped up in following food rules all the time. If you try to make good choices 70% of the time, you will have some wiggle room so that you can indulge occasionally but still feel great!
What are some other healthy BBQ ideas? Do you have a favorite BBQ dish?