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Eating Healthy At Your Cookouts

Barbecues are a great way to enjoy delicious food with friends and family. But if you’re concerned about eating well, you’ll have to go beyond old favorites like hot dogs and hamburgers. With a little planning, though, it’s easy to create a healthy and tasty menu that includes meat, vegetable, fruit, and even vegan options.

We’re only going to mention some simple ideas here. There are nearly infinite possibilities! But it’s definitely possible to enjoy delicious, healthy food at a cookout.

Starting Ahead of the Curve

Grilling is a great way to cook food because it allows excess fat to drip away from the food. So you start out with at least one advantage! 

To create a healthy meal, you want to plan from beginning to end. Eating right includes what you eat and drink. That means you should take into account your main dish, but also your sides, snacks, beverages, and even your toppings!

You should even think about how to coat your food or grill to start. Barbecue grill grates often lack the “no-stick” surface of kitchen pots and pans. To keep food from sticking to the grill grate, brush your food with a healthy oil or use a grill basket.

The Main Dish

Fish, skinless chicken breast, and lean ground poultry are all healthier choices than red meat. For example, you could try barbecued chicken fajita skewers or jerk chicken kebabs with fruity mango salsa. They’re still traditional grill foods, and they’re absolutely delicious!

If you or a guest prefers to eat vegan, there are plenty of delicious choices. You could try spiced halloumi & pineapple burgers with zingy slaw or chickpea & coriander burgers.

The Sides

Vegetables are also great on the grill. Some favorites include asparagus, avocado, bell peppers, corn, eggplant, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, squash, and zucchini. You could try a shredded charred corn salad or a simple honey & mustard glazed veggie kebab.

Even fruit can add a sweet touch to your barbecue. For example, pineapple & coconut kebabs taste great. And watermelon slices are always a great part of any cookout!

Check out some more great salad recipes, too!

The Toppings

When it comes to condiments, it’s important to choose wisely. Some condiments can be high in sugar or salt. Instead of reaching for the ketchup or mayo, try using fresh herbs and spices to add flavor to your food.


When it comes to beverages, there are many healthy alternatives to sugary sodas. You can even make your own bubbly beverage at home with a machine, which lets you choose your flavor and saves you money.

Sparkling water made with natural flavors or real fruit juice can be a great soda alternative. Brands like AHA, Hint, LaCroix, Pepsi Bubly, Spindrift, and Waterloo offer a variety of flavors with little to no sugar.

If you’re looking for something with a little more flavor, you could try a prebiotic drink like Health-Ade Pop or OLIPOP Sparkling Tonic. These drinks come in fun flavors that rival the fruit soda you’re used to.

If you’re looking for a caffeine boost, you don’t have to give it up just because you’re cutting out soda. Caffeinated sparkling water or sparkling tea can provide the caffeine you need without the added sugar. Brands like Amaz, Hoplark, Minna, and Nixie offer a variety of flavors to choose from.

In conclusion, with a little planning and creativity, it’s easy to create a healthy and delicious barbecue menu that includes meat, vegetable, fruit, and vegan options as well as condiments and drinks. Eating well doesn’t mean eating food that’s bad for you, or that’s tasteless. And the barbecue grill is a perfect place to show it!

About Us

Tom and Sarah Greenwood are the dynamic duo behind “Yards Improved,” dedicated to the joys and challenges of gardening, pool maintenance, and lawn and patio care. With Tom’s passion for landscape design and Sarah’s enthusiastic approach to gardening, they share their journey of transforming their backyard into a thriving retreat. We strive to offer practical advice aimed at helping you enhance your outdoor space.