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Springtime is the start of warm weather and grilling season. It’s synonymous with grilling for many American families, and why not? When the weather is warm, we spend more time outdoors and try to stay out of the hot kitchen.
The days start to get longer, and it starts to stay lighter longer, and the evenings tend to seem a little less jam-packed with activities than usual. These are all great reasons to look to the barbecue for dinner inspiration.
But before you dust off that grill, call over some friends, I have some tips to help you enjoy the BBQ season while keeping your meals as lean and healthy as can be without compromising on the fun.
Healthy Barbecue Tip No. 1: Bold ingredients add great flavor to grilling sauces and marinades.
You can add bold flavors without adding too many calories or fat grams. Here are some of my favorite ingredients for sauces and marinades: Worcestershire sauce: 2 tablespoons contain 30 calories, 0 grams fat, and 390 milligrams sodium Chili sauce: 2 tablespoons contain 40 calories, 0 grams fat, and 960 milligrams sodium (depending on brand)
Healthy Barbecue Tip No. 2: Have large resealable plastic bag, will marinate!
One of the easiest ways to marinate meat, chicken, fish or vegetables is to place them inside a large, resealable plastic bag. Set the bag in a medium sized bowl, then drizzle the marinade over the food. Seal the bag, eliminating any excess air. The food should be surrounded by the marinade. Keep marinating in the refrigerator until you’re ready to grill.
Healthy Barbecue Tip No. 3: A little sweetness is good, but more is not better
Adding a small amount of a sweet ingredient (like fruit juice, brown sugar, honey or molasses) to the marinade or grilling sauce can be a good thing. It adds flavor and helps to balance other bold spices in the marinade or sauce. But too much sweetness can encourage the meat, fish, or vegetables to burn when they’re grilled over high heat.
Healthy Barbecue Tip No. 4: Throw some vegetables on the grill
The best part about grilling vegetables is that you don’t have to worry about overcooking them as you do with some types of meat. And vegetables seem to taste better grilled than they do cook any other way. Marinating vegetables will help them caramelize better when they’re grilled, and it’s the caramelization that brings the best flavors. Just submerge the vegetables in a marinade for about an hour before putting them on the grill. If you don’t have that kind of prep time, just coat the vegetables ever so lightly with a little olive oil or canola oil.
Healthy Barbecue Tip No. 5: Deconstruct your favorites
Sure, hot dogs aren’t the poster child of healthy eating, but deconstructing your favorite BBQ meal is a way to make it a bit healthier. A hot-off-the-grill, juicy, ConAgra Hebrew National® All-Beef Franks hot dogs are one of grilling season’s ultimate greatest pleasures. But, who says you have to be deprived when you’re eating clean? With a well-chosen hot dog, bun and fresh toppings, you can make the best of the wurst. I LOVE deconstructing mine by creating a salad with bold colors and fresh ingredients. I usually will top it with sauerkraut and a dijon vinaigrette for some wholesome, quality eating. Want the recipe? Continue reading!
I'm an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200), offering guidance to high achievers in aligning their lifestyle with well-being through daily wellness and self-care routines, promoting balance and harmony. Join me at Wellness Bum for tips on living well, and consider subscribing to my newsletter or booking a coaching session.