How to make your BBQ Healthier

People enjoying a BBQ

Relaxing with family and friends is a great way to enjoy the weekend and BBQ’s are always a favourite. Keeping on track with your food goals is important and getting back into healthy eating doesn’t mean you should deny yourself at a BBQ. With the availability of healthy alternatives, there is no excuse for white rolls and condiment slathered sausages (unless that is your favourite).

For those looking to follow a specific diet or just eat a little healthier, then a BBQ is a really versatile way to cook. If you have been to a Champneys spa resort, you will know that the food we offer is appetising, while still being nutritious, why not bring some of that ethos into your BBQ?

Whether you are looking to maintain a vegan lifestyle or cut out wheat, we have collated some of the ways you can make your BBQ healthier with recipes and guides.

The Veggie Option

Grilled aubergine

Though a traditional veggie kebab is not to be sniffed at, the glory of vegetables is that they are tasty in so many different styles so put down the wooden skewers and find an alternative way to serve your health conscious friends and family.

Loaded Grilled Aubergines with a creamy herb sauce

If your veggie guests are looking for a satisfying alternative to meat, then this may just be it. Over at Lexi’s Clean Kitchen, she has created a perfect marriage of succulent vegetables with a summer crunch, and this beautifully simple recipe is mostly prepped beforehand, leaving you to just grill the aubergines when the moment calls for it. This recipe is of three parts, herby dressing, grilled aubergines and a nut crumble, perfect for vegans, veggie and those who don’t fancy a mound of sticky ribs. Non vegan guests can always add mayo or sour cream. If catering for vegetarian or vegan guests, remember to use different utensils and a different area of the BBQ.

Easy Mexican stuffed mushrooms

For a side that everyone will be fighting for, these stuffed mushrooms are perfect. The tomatoes, coriander and beans all give a riot of colour while the choice still remains vegan friendly. Vanessa from Vegan Family Recipes thinks this is a great non meat option at any BBQ:

“These Mexican stuffed mushrooms are one of my favourite, healthy BBQ dishes to make. It's oil-free, bursting with flavour and packed with lots of healthy, plant-based protein and fibre. You don't have to be vegan to enjoy the flavours of these stuffed mushrooms. It's also possible to make them in the oven if there is no more room on the grill."

Fantastic Salads

Healthy mixed salad

One thing we have thankfully learnt from our American cousins is how to load a salad, move over limp iceberg lettuce. A well-constructed salad with perfectly balanced flavours is a thing of beauty and nothing makes you feel more summery than crunchy leaves and ripe fruits and veg.

Apricot, chick pea and feta salad

This salad from Hungry, Healthy, Happy has everything you could possibly want from a salad. The chickpeas bring protein, coupled with creamy feta and fresh dry fried apricots for a tang of summer. While Dannii and Dave opt for this for their meat free Mondays, it would be the perfect addition to any late summer BBQ.

Mexican inspired salad

Lynn from Heavenlynn Healthy knows the competitive edge when you are asked to bring a dish, especially when there is an expectation of healthy and fresh food. Her Mexican Inspired Salad is quick, easy and contains all the nutrients you could hope for while still being tasty and a crowd pleaser. Whether you are bringing this to someone else’s BBQ or serving it at your own, it is sure to be a great accompaniment.

Main Meats

BBQ meat

The carnivorous element is often central to a BBQ’s success, but if you can leave off the pre made burgers and traditional sausages in favour of better cuts or butchers specials, you can often save yourself an awful lot of calories.

Oregano and lemon chicken skewers

Donna at Whole Food Bellies has the answers to your meaty prayers. So often do we want to serve chicken and yet, the thought of offering undercooked chicken to guests is horrifying. These chicken skewers are small enough that the chances of them being under done are slim to none. While enjoying a long marinade, these can be prepped before allowing you a chance to mingle while offering your guests a tasty and lean alternative to a drumstick.

Garlic herb butter prawns

Lots of people avoid fish for the same reason as chicken, it doesn’t have the reassuring safety of beef. However, nothing can be more delicious than seafood grilled to perfection with a squeeze of lime and a hint of garlic. Serving these in a simple way as Dad with a Pan is the best way to highlight the natural flavours and are a lighter option for those who do not fancy lots of meat.

Different Desserts

Mango ice cream

Desserts at BBQs are often an afterthought, an Eton mess or grilled bananas with fillings. There are lots of desserts that are low in sugar or vegan yet are still delicious and are perfect for a BBQ. Monitoring what goes in your desserts will allow you to field questions about which diets it will fit with, while baking it in individual servings will save the stress of dishing up.

Mango ice-cream

For a hint of the tropics at your BBQ there is no more transportive flavour than mango. The sweetness of the fruit ensures this is recipe that doesn’t require extra sugar, while you can swap any milk substitute for the almond milk in this recipe from Creative and Healthy Fun Food. Serve with fresh berries or slices of pineapple to compliment your tropical theme.

3 Berry Cobbler

For a British alternative, this berry cobbler uses the best of the season’s berries and is a lovely way to signal that summer is ending. Sarah and Peter from The Seasonal Diet know what it is like to be busy, and nothing seems to be busier than the run up to an event you are hosting. This easy recipe can be cooked in individual portions, and mostly prepped beforehand, allowing you to relax and pop these in the oven when your guests are ready.  While this dessert is dairy free, consider offering cream or ice cream for those who eat dairy.