For many people, gathered around the grill at backyard BBQs is the “hot spot” to be all summer long. And especially this year, as we may still be social distancing, being outside at a BBQ with family, where you can stay six feet apart, is a great way to spend quality time together in a safe way.
But if you’re worried about sticking to your healthy diet in light of all the amazing indulgent food choices, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to adhere to a clean dietary plan while still indulging in some typical BBQ favorites – whether the party is in your own backyard or someone else’s.
Too many people use summer as an excuse to let go of the healthy habits they picked up in the beginning of the year. But you don’t have to sacrifice your health or your figure to treat yourself! You just need to learn how to make the switch to healthy grill recipes and prepare in advance.
Here are our tips for thoroughly enjoying summer BBQs while keeping up with your clean dietary plan (and feeling great about it)!
1) Enjoy a nutrient-packed snack beforehand
The best way to go into a gathering is slightly hungry – but not ready to devour the entire food spread! So, what should you do? Start with a nutritious snack before the party starts! Our go-to is a quick-grab, convenient meal replacement shake using a tasty yet healthy protein powder.
Mix the powder with your choice of milk or add it into a blender with your favorite fruits and veggies for a satisfying (but not overpowering) pre-party treat. Try one of these delightful shake recipes that will make you feel like you’re having a sinful dessert before dinner!
On the keto diet? This keto kit contains everything you need to switch your body into full-on ketosis before you get your grill on!
2) Don’t skip the salad
Salads make a fantastic, colorful BBQ side dish – and they don’t have to be boring! With the right ingredients, a salad can be both easy on the waistline and one of your guest’s favorite parts of the meal. And exciting salad recipes use flavorful combos like watermelon and feta, jalapenos and corn, strawberries and spinach, and peaches and arugula.
Quick Tip: When making your salad, choose your leafy green first like dandelion greens, kale, spinach, etc. Then add in some of your favorite summer fruits and veggies. Try to stay away from heavy and processed dressings, so you can leave the calories for another part of your meal.
3) Choose lean meats
Unless you’re on the keto diet and high-fat meats are part of your dietary plan, try to focus on lean cuts of meat and healthy BBQ recipes instead. This can help you reduce the number of calories you consume as well as the amount of saturated fats.
Good cuts of lean meat include white meat chicken and turkey, as well as less fatty cuts of pork (like pork chops) with the fat trimmed off. Also skip the skin on the chicken and turkey.
Think lean meats are boring? Give them a major flavor boost with some enlivening spices like Cajun, jerk, cinnamon, chili pepper, cumin, turmeric, ginger and lemon pepper. Or, top it off with a healthy yet tasty sauce like homemade pesto (with olive oil, fresh herbs and spices).
4) Replace steak with seafood
Another great way to cut your calorie intake and up your “good fats” is by switching out the heavy, fatty cuts of steak for seafood. One of the best BBQ seafood options is shrimp (think yummy shrimp skewers with complementing fruits or veggies like onions, pineapple, red peppers and watermelon). You can marinate the shrimp first in olive oil, fresh parsley, thyme and lemon for fresh, succulent flavor.
Other great fish and seafood options at your BBQ include salmon, swordfish, tuna, mussels, clams, scallops, crabs and oysters. All seafood can easily be used in healthy grilling recipes by adding them to foil packets to place on the grill. Love your food spicy? Kick it up a notch with a siracha marinade or glaze!
5) Load up on grilled veggies
Adding grilled veggies to your meal is a great way to get additional fiber and nutrients – especially if you’re on a keto or low carb diet. One delicious recipe option is grilled cauliflower strips or “steaks”. Top them with low-carb BBQ sauce, or make them into cauliflower skewers with onions, grilled zucchini and feta cheese.
For more low-carb veggie options with big flavor, try grilled asparagus, Brussel sprouts and even string beans. Additional veggies that make great healthy BBQ sides include grilled carrots, onions, zucchini and peppers. For a true BBQ staple, indulge in some grilled corn on the cob and top it with a variety of healthy yet totally tasty condiments like pesto, hot sauce, fresh parsley and lime.
6) Go bunless
Who said a burger needs a traditional bun?! Take a walk on the wild side and try some adventurous bun replacements like lettuce leaves or tomato slices. Or ditch the bun altogether. Instead, add some tasty toppings like avocado slices, pickled jalapenos, or crumbled feta or goat cheese and you’ll forget all about that high carb bun!
7) Swap the pasta salad for zoodle salad
Spiralized veggies are one of the most popular pasta replacements, especially for those on low-carb diets. Veggies that work great in the spiralizer include zucchinis, summer squash, peppers, carrots, radishes and even celery. In addition, spaghetti squash is a great low-carb pasta replacement. Just bake the squash, then cut it open and use a fork to scrape out the “noodle like” veggie strands.
Once you have your “pasta” base, add a variety of complementing summer veggies, including tomatoes, green beans, avocado, peppers, spinach, onions and arugula. Top it off with olive oil, lemon and feta cheese for a healthier spin on traditional pasta salad.
8) Eat fruit for dessert
So many delicious and nutritious fruits are in season during the summer – and it’s a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth, naturally. Toss together some fresh berries (like blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries) with grapes, cherries, and a little lemon juice for a simple yet satisfying treat. Or mix up a multi-melon fruit salad with options like watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew.
Peaches, plums and pears are also great, juicy summer fruits that taste delicious in fruit salads. And as an added bonus, you can also grill them! The heat will bring out their natural sugars and create a deeper, richer, totally indulgent flavor. Try this healthy grilling recipe for peaches!
9) Always go homemade vs. store-bought
You’ve probably heard before that it’s always better (and healthier) to go homemade. Pre-made foods often contain lots of preservatives and extra calories that you can avoid. And on top of that, homemade just tastes better!
But you don’t have to slave all day in the kitchen. You can make quick, tasty and wholesome sides like guacamole, onion dip and hummus in a jiff!
10) Trade your Cocktail for a Mocktail
While BBQs and alcoholic beverages often go hand-in-hand, they can add some sneaky calories to your meal. Love Sangria? Often this summer favorite is made with added fruit juice and sugar on top of the alcohol – leaving you with a drink that’s about 260 calories per 8 oz. glass! Instead, opt for a healthier yet equally tasty alternative that helps you hydrate instead of dehydrate.
310 Lemonade is just the thing you need! Available in summer-inspired, mouthwatering flavors, just add a little sparkling water, lime and your fruit of choice for a low calorie, refreshing drink. Try every flavor!
Ready to hit your next summer BBQ confidently?! You should be!
Use these 310 Healthy BBQing Tips at your next outdoor social-distancing bash to make the most of summer while staying safe and true to the dietary plan that matters to you.
Think you’ll have little to no time to make healthy grilling recipes this summer? Not a problem! 310 Shakes are low in carbs, with no sugar, dairy, gluten or soy – and make a totally tasty, nutritious meal option for on-the-go. Plus, if you’re on the keto diet, this contains everything you need to stay in ketosis, even with a busy lifestyle. Try it now!
Stay tuned for more articles on how to maintain healthy habits and crush your goals this summer on the 310 blog!