4 Easy Tips For a Healthier Summer Barbecue

 Via  Giphy

Via Giphy

By Jessica Hamlin

Summer is here and it’s time for grillin’ and chillin.’ Whether it’s a July 4th barbecue or another gathering, food will be aplenty—burgers, chips, sweets and more.

 Via  Giphy

Via Giphy

Depending on your health goals and needs, a barbecue may be your time to eat whatever you want. Or maybe you want to enjoy some grub without the food coma or questionable ingredients.

From recipes to tips and food swaps, we’ve got four easy, delicious ways to health-ify your summer hangout so you can nourish yourself while you have fun. 

Have better burgers and meat

Why:

Store-bought meats can be loaded with antibiotics and additives like nitrates and nitrites that have been linked to serious health conditions. Here are some alternatives that have benefits.

 Via  Giphy

Via Giphy

How to have it:

Get veggie with it

Why:

Try vegetables a variety of ways to get extra vitamins, minerals and fiber that nourish your body and mind. Veggies can get a bad rap as being bland or boring, but it doesn't have to be that way. Prep and season them different ways and enjoy the possibilities.

 Via  Giphy

Via Giphy

How to have it:

  • Grill 'em up. Make kebabs or throw some thick sliced zucchini, eggplant or fennel on the grill to bring out the flavor. Then drizzle with a simple balsamic vinaigrette if you like. You can put grilled veggies on your burger too.
  • Grill your salad. Yes, really. Raw veggies maintain more of their nutrients, but if you don’t feel like raw greens, grill a head or two of romaine lettuce and garnish as you like with nuts, cheese, and dressing with healthier oil like olive or avocado oil.
  • Cauliflower rice. Substitute rice or other starchy foods with cauliflower rice (just grated cauliflower) that’s easy and versatile. Top cauli rice with your grilled burger/meat and veggies for an easy, balanced dish that still screams summer. See another cauli rice idea below. Stores including Trader Joe’s, Sprouts and Whole Foods all sell fresh or frozen cauli rice that just needs to be cooked quickly on the stove.

Try Other Protein

Why:

Meat isn’t the only protein superstar. Lentils and beans have protein plus good carbs, fiber and more to help fuel your body and leave you feeling full without a lot of calories.

How to have it:

  • Make a southwest taco bowl (above) with taco-seasoned lentils or black or pinto beans, cauli rice, bell pepper, tomatoes, non-GMO corn, cilantro and avocado; here’s the recipe. Or try our black bean burrito bowl below!
  • What’s a barbecue without pasta salad? If you’re not digging the starchy, mayo-covered version, use gluten-free noodles from Banza, Explore Cuisine and Trader Joe’s packed with protein and fiber from beans or lentils in a lighter recipe. They still have the taste and texture of traditional pasta too! 

Have fun with fruit

Why

Fruit is naturally sweet, has beneficial vitamins and fiber and makes a great snack or dessert. Seasonal fruits like berries are high in antioxidants that help protect your cells and tend to have less natural sugars than other fruit.

 Photo credit: Jessica Hamlin/ greeneggsnhamlin

Photo credit: Jessica Hamlin/greeneggsnhamlin

How to have it:


Jessica Hamlin is an LA-born and bred journalist and editor who started taking pictures of food back when everyone used film cameras. A graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s health coach training program, she’s passionate about wellness and enjoys making and discovering delicious and healthy food. Her work has appeared in Clean Plates, NPR affiliate KPCC, AOL, and Eater LA.

 

 

Related Posts