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A Healthy Make-Over For your BBQ Menu

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger  Theresa Walker- Beach Body Coach

BBQ season is upon us once again!  Yay!  I love this time of year; I enjoy getting together with friends and family to relax and soak up the beautiful sun and fresh air.  My only pitfall, is that typically summer is the most difficult season for me to maintain my weight.  It’s worse than Christmas-time for me. I think because BBQ season/summer lasts 3 months while the Christmas holidays are about 1 month worth of celebrating and get-togethers.  Add a few vacations, concerts, birthdays and girls nights out and it’s a recipe for disaster for my waistline.  And I just don’t feel good when that happens; clothes get tighter and my stomach is hurting from junk food.  

So, the last few summers I knew I had to make a few changes.  Don’t get me wrong, I still indulge and enjoy my summer which includes burgers on the grill, s’mores, pasta salad and cocktails; but I pick and choose and do it in moderation.  At least I try, I’m not always successful in all honesty.  Below are some of the things I choose to do in order to make my BBQ’s a little friendlier on my waistline.  My disclaimer is that, you can choose what works for you and it doesn’t mean that every change or swap has to be used at every BBQ.  You can choose to make one get together super healthy with only good choices, and the next you can just swap out the meat for something leaner but enjoy the rest.  Typically I will do a few things at each BBQ that will help me out in the long run, but I also enjoy some indulgences along with that.


Instead of Pop try these zero or near zero sugar drink options.

  • Aquafina Sparkling Lemon Lime or Blackcherry Dragonfruit (2g sugar)
  • LaCroix sparkling waters 
  • Vitamin Water Zero  
  • Unsweetened Ice Tea
  • Water infused with fruit  


Ditch the potato Chips & Dip- find options that have some nutrients in them yet satisfy that need for a crunch.

  • Pita chips and hummus 
  • Tortilla chips and fresh guacamole or salsa  
  • Terra Veggie Chips 
  • Skinny Pop popcorn 
  • Cheese, meat and cracker tray
  • Veggie Tray with a greek yogurt dip, dill dip or hummus. 

Main Dish:

 Lighten up your hamburger.

  • Ground Sirloin (96/4 grade ratio)
  • Ground Turkey (93/7 grade ratio)
  • Salmon burger
  • Skip the cheese
  • Skip the bun or use whole wheat
  • Skip the ketchup and mayo- go for zero calorie Mustard

For Brat Lovers:

  • Al Fresco Chicken sausage
  • Jennie-O or Johnsonville Turkey sausage

Side Dishes

Replace Potato Salad or Pasta Salad smothered in mayo dressing.

  • Start with whole wheat pasta and add a lighter dressing like Italian or Greek.
  • Add veggies to the mix- colored peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, celery etc. 
  • Switch it up by using quinoa (One of my favorites is: quinoa with olive oil, squeezed lemon, salt, pepper and fresh basil and toss with beans and red onion. See above pic.)  
  • Three Bean Salad
  • Cold spiralized zucchini salad (One of my favorites is just cold zucchini noodles with red onion, tomato, beans and a spritz of olive oil and lime or lemon. See above pic.)
  • Baked Sweet Potato
  • Don’t forget the veggies!  Often times I go to a BBQ and can’t find a single vegetable.  Corn on the cob, roasted asparagus, grilled mushrooms, peppers & zucchini mix, tossed salad or edamame are easy and yummy. 


Instead of a sugary pie or cake:

  • Fruit Kabobs
  •  Fruit salad with grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries   
  • Strawberries dipped in chocolate
  • Rice Krispie Treats
  • S’mores (in moderation)

Wishing Metro Detroit Mommy readers an awesome summer with many happy memories made.  Hope you found some of these ideas helpful. 

Theresa W
Author: Theresa W

Theresa is a wife and stay at home mother of 2 boys, David (13) and Aiden (10). Her hobbies include traveling, reading, running, cooking and volunteering at MI Humane Society with the adoptable cats. She also spends her free time serving as PTO President at her son's elementary school. She enjoys being active and is proud to have completed 4 marathons. She loves to share her passion for health and fitness with others.