Healthy Swaps: How to BBQ in Style this Summer

Summer is in full swing and that means it’s officially barbecue season!

With all the burgers, pasta salads and kabobs, it can be easy to lose track of what exactly you’re eating, but with some mindfulness and creativity, barbecuing can be a delicious and easy way to create a healthy meal.

Check out some of my recommendations below for how to celebrate summer in style by eating healthy outdoors.


Instead of a high-sugar barbecue sauce, try using a homemade marinade on your meat and/or veggies instead!

Confession: I found this marinade recipe while browsing through my husbands GQ magazine, but it was too good not to share it with you all!

Easy BBQ Marinade: Combine one bunch of parsley, de-stemmed and finely chopped, two tablespoons of minced shallot, a tablespoon of olive oil and half a cup of red wine vinegar. Marinate meat in marinade for about 2+ hours or veggies for 15-30 minutes before throwing them on the grill. Just add some salt and pepper to taste, and you’re set to go.


It can be easy to get caught up in the meats and potato chips and chicken salads at a barbecue, so make sure you take time to get some of those veggies!

While a green lettuce salad is always delicious and refreshing, you could also shake things up with a fun vegetable based salad like my Warm Asparagus + Tomato Salad!

Want to get fancy? Try a grilled salad! Cut a head of romaine lettuce into halves lengthwise and grill, insides down. Plate each half and serve drizzled with your favorite low-sugar dressing and top with pumpkin seeds or other favorite healthy garnish.


It’s might be hard to imagine a barbecue without the beer, wine coolers, and refreshing sodas, but opting for a healthier alternative will help you not only avoid the extra sugar in these drinks, but you also want to stay hydrated when you’re out in the heat. Not to mention how good you’ll feel the next day when you aren’t sporting a heat & alcohol induced hangover!

If you need something with a little more flavor than plain water, try a few of these ideas: infuse a pitcher of ice water with mint, lemon, watermelon or strawberries, brew a huge pot of your favorite herbal tea and ice it, or pick up some unsweetened flavored sparkling waters like La Croix to add some diversity to the beverage cooler.

Serve any of these options in cute and summery cocktail glasses with a wedge of lemon or lime and you will still feel like the life of the party.


My absolute favorite summer dessert has to be grilled peaches! They are so easy and melt in your mouth. Simply cut your peaches in half, and place flesh down on the grill and cover until peaches are cooked through.

For an extra sweet indulgence, serve with a small dollop of homemade whipped cream and scatter a few blackberries or blueberries on the plate for a gorgeous garnish.

You can use my Grilled Pineapple and Peaches with Whipped Coconut Cream recipe for inspiration!


With the rest of summer ahead, you’re bound to be hitting your fair share of BBQs in the next few weeks, so I hope you’ll try some of these ideas out! What are your favorite strategies and go-to recipes to keep things healthy?

xx jen

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