BBQ the Healthy Way – Healthy BBQ Options and Alternatives

Healthy BBQ Grill

This post about having healthy barbeque foods was written by guest blogger Lesleanne Blakeley.

In the information and the table below, she outlines some popular BBQ foods and suggests some healthier alternatives to typical barbeque foods allowing you to reduce your intake of fats, calories, and sodium.

Known by some as ‘Canada’s Birthday’, July 1st brings upon nation-wide celebrations. Major highlights often include fireworks, a day off from work, a long weekend in some years, and a social gathering with family and friends, which often includes a Canada Day barbeque feast that looks and tastes good, but doesn’t always include the healthiest or calorie-friendly foods.

This year, the Health and Wellness Ring wants to make sure you are able host the best Canada Day barbeque without sabotaging your diet or that summer-ready body you’ve been working hard for. With these key factors in mind, we’ve provided a few healthier alternatives for the barbeque staple foods that are sure to be just as delicious, but without the extra calories, fats and sodium.

Instead of typical BBQ fare, try these healthier options.

Typical BBQ Food Healthier Alternative
  • Beef Burgers
  • Beef Hot Dogs
  • Beef Sausage
  • White-bread Buns
  • Turkey/ Bison/ Vegetable/ burgers
  • Turkey Hot Dogs
  • Turkey Sausage
  • Whole wheat/ Multi-grain Buns
  • If beef is your BBQ meat-of-choice, always opt for lean or extra lean beef products
  • Ribs
  • Steak
  • BBQ Chicken
  • If ribs are a must for your Canada Day weekend celebrations opt for a low-fat barbeque sauce instead of using a traditional, fatty barbeque sauce
  • Red meat products tend to be higher in saturated fats (bad fats) so cutting down on these and replacing with alternatives the best you can is always a good way to ensure a healthier meal!
  • If red meat is a must, try combining it with vegetables by making shish-kabobs even healthier: chicken or shrimp kabobs- When barbequing chicken, use skinless chicken breasts, thighs, and wings, and use low-fat barbeque sauces
  • French Fries with salt and ketchup
  • Sweet Potato Fries with sea salt
  • “Chips n’ Dip”
  • Use multi-grain Tostitos instead of the regular Tostitos
  • If the “seven-layer dip” is a summertime hit at your BBQ’s, make sure to use low-fat cream cheese and sour cream, use reduced fat cheese for the top layer, and increase the vegetable content. For example, add more fresh peppers to your salsa layer
  • Potato Salad
  • Macaroni Salad
  • Coleslaw
  • Use reduced fat mayonnaise, incorporate more vegetables (red peppers, green onion, etc)
  • If you enjoy your creamier salads, opt for a broccoli salad, still using low fat mayonnaise, cutting back on carbohydrates and starch and incorporating more vitamins into your meal
  • EXTRA HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES: Mixed bean and vegetable salad to really cut back on calories.
  • Include a fruit salad when to add a healthy, yet sweet treat to your BBQ meal
  • Corn on the Cob with butter and table salt

Try Corn on the Cob with:

  • Sea salt
  • Heart-healthy margarines, like Becel, which have no trans fats and very little saturated fat but the same delicious taste as butter
Green Salads
  • Caesar Salad
  • Greek Salad
  • Garden Salad
  • Skip the high-calorie cream dressings and salads such as Caesar
  • While a Greek salad is a great way to incorporate vegetables into your meal, make sure to use low fat, low sodium feta and dressing
  • Make a garden or spinach salad healthier by adding fresh fruit or vegetables, or even a combination of both to the mix
  • Add some healthy nuts to your garden salad (walnuts and pine nuts are an excellent example)
  • Create your own salad dressing by combining extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and dried herbs


The content for this post was taken from the article:

Blakely, Lesleanne (2011 June 8). “Celebrating Canada Day the Healthy Way” Ontario Public Service GSC Health and Wellness Ring June 2011 Newsletter. Retrieved 5 July 2011.

References for Original Article


By Justin Tung

Servant of the public as a communications and IT jack of all trades. Always willingly to fundraise and volunteer for the greater good.

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