How to Survive the Family BBQ When You’re Trying to Eat Healthy

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Hey lady, sick of getting invited to summertime BBQs when you’re trying to live a healthier lifestyle?
It’s inevitable. Summer’s here, bring out the beer. Right? So how do we enjoy our friends and family, attend the get-together, and still avoid the massive amount of cookout calories?

You need some healthy BBQ ideas, my friend.
Let me share some easy, healthy BBQ recipes to make your next summer food party a healthy BBQ!

There Are Going to Be Burgers

There’s almost a 99.99% chance that there will be burgers at a BBQ. I’m from Iowa, and it’s not a BBQ without the burger. And not just burgers, but hot dogs, bratwursts, steaks, and briskets, too! Not your typical healthy, lean protein options, right?
While there may not be many healthy BBQ recipes for burgers, there are ways to make healthier choices to reduce cookout calories.

It’s All about How You Build It!

          1. Go bun-less. I promise you won’t even miss it. Plus, the average American hamburger bun sneaks in almost 120 calories while providing barely any              nutritional value.
          2. Veggies taste good. Top your grilled burger with tomatoes, pickles, onions, bell pepper, cucumber… Get creative. And skip the ketchup because                      there’s sneaky sugar in that red imposter!
          3. If you’ve got a hankering for BBQ sauce, bring your own after you search for the healthiest BBQ sauce -- one without added sugar.
          4. Avocado is your friend! This green goddess will make you forget you skipped the bun and cheese!
          5. Wrap your burger in a lettuce leaf. Once you’ve got your burger, topped it with veggies, and spread on some avocado - it’s time to wrap it tightly and              take that first bite!

Drinks Anyone?

Is it a BBQ if there isn’t alcohol being passed around like parade candy? It’s possible, but I don’t see many folks in Iowa jumping on the “BBQ without the Beer” bandwagon anytime soon.

If you’re nodding your head in agreement here are some healthy BBQ ideas that will take your beverage game to the next level!


It has some calories, but it also comes with some health benefits to tip the scales in its favor. Best options: dry, red wines.
Bring your own, single-serving bottle of wine. You’ll be less likely to drink an entire bottle once it’s open.


The cooler crew favorite. The varieties are endless. IPA, Stout, Sour, Light, Ale, Lager -- you name it. And can you really have just one? The danger with drinking beer at a BBQ is the chance that you’ll keep going back for more!
Beer’s delicious. If you can choose a light beer like Miller 64, Bud Select, or Michelob Ultra.
Be super picky! Become a beer snob, if you will. Refuse to drink what others bring and just drink that one fancy bottle or can that you brought for yourself.


Are you more of a liquor lady? Tequila anyone? If so, skip the mix-ins and pour your alcohol on the rocks with water. There’s a ton of sparkling water options that make it easy to save on calories! Try LaCroix, Hint, or ICE waters to give your beverage some flavor.
My secret: I mix my first drink with 1oz of alcohol (my choice is gin) and sparkling water. After that, it’s just rocks and water for the rest of the day. Honestly, no one even notices and I feel great the next day!
​Measure your liquor. Limit yourself to one, 1oz serving. OR skip the alcohol altogether and smash a lemon or lime wedge over the rim and everyone will think you’re celebrating even if you’re just sipping on ice water!

Salads Can Be Dangerous

It’s quite possible the most dangerous part of the entire BBQ smorgasbord is the “salad” section. Sorry, ladies. We can’t just put the word salad behind it and magically make a dish healthy. Bummer, right?

Potato salad, macaroni salad, fruit fluff, pasta salads — all of these are smothered in oils, sugars, cheeses, and clock in way too heavy on the calories. You can’t count on salads being healthy sides for burgers and hot dogs.

Those of us hoping to lose weight or maintain our figures need to eat from the rainbow!

You Can Eat Healthy at the BBQ

With these easy tips and a few new healthy recipes, you won’t put your hard-earned inches at risk.

The next time you’re invited to a BBQ, you can confidently accept the invitation, knowing you will be successful and keep your results on track.
Just Remember These Six Easy Tips:

          1. Skip the bun for the burger or dog. Top that baby with fresh veggies and then wrap it in a lettuce leaf. If you can’t find a leaf, eat it with a fork!
          2. Ask if you can grill your own. It’s possible to bring your own marinated chicken breast and grill it instead. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask! Don’t           feel confined by “what’s on the menu.” Often, the party host is more than happy to share space on the grill.
          3. BYOB. Bring your own alcoholic beverages if you must, and ONLY bring what you intend to drink. No more, and no planning for friends to drink any                either. Just bring one.
          4. Don’t get suckered by salads. And if there’s fresh corn on the cob, and it wouldn’t be a BBQ in Iowa without one, don’t drown it in melted butter.
          5. Plan to eat fresh. Prepare fresh. Take fresh. To eat fresh, healthy foods at the BBQ, prepare fresh vegetables and fruits ahead of time. Take a tray of              raw fruit and veggies to share. That way you’re assured you’ll have something healthy to eat.

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† These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

† These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.