Summer is here, and with it is the beloved BBQ season.
When you’re watching what you eat or prefer to eat healthier regularly, thinking of what to bring to the neighborhood BBQ can be a chore.
Healthy eating at a BBQ doesn’t have to be all lettuce and fruit. In fact, the recipes we’ve put together don’t have either of those ingredients. These recipes range from low fat and low carb to macro balanced, but there’s one thing they all have in common: they’re all delicious.
Fire up the grill, here are six healthy appetizers to get you ready for the main event.
Grilled Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon
Asparagus comes into season in May and lasts through the summer. There’s something so delectable about this crunchy green stick, and the flavor is definitely enhanced when it’s grilled.
Wrap a piece of bacon (or prosciutto if you’re feeling fancy) around it and pop it on the grill. These beauties will cook up beautifully, and the bacon will be crispy.
Of course, if you don’t eat meat, nothing is stopping you grilling the asparagus on its own!
Sweet potato salad
When you hear potato salad, it’s easy to picture an unhealthy bowl of mayonnaise and cheese. Our lightened up version is totally healthy and low fat, giving you all the flavor with none of the extra calories.
• 4 Sweet Potatoes, cubed (can also use white potatoes if you’d prefer)
• 2 Spring Onions, finely sliced
• ¾ cup fat-free Greek yogurt
• 1 tsp dried dill/dillweed
• Salt and pepper to taste
Cook your sweet potatoes so they still have a bit of bite to them and let them cool. Mix all the ingredients together. Enjoy!
Mediterranean couscous salad
Couscous is such a versatile grain. It can go from totally bland to the life of the salad party with just a few ingredients.
• 3 cups dried couscous
• 2 Tbsp raisins
• 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
• 2 stalks celery, chopped
• 1 red onion, finely chopped
• ½ Tbsp garlic powder
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp cumin
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• Salt and pepper to taste
Boil 3 cups of water, add all the spices and couscous to it. Stir, cover, and set aside for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare your veggies.
When the couscous has fully cooked (absorbed the water), fluff it with a fork. Combine the rest of your ingredients. Add salt and pepper; you can also adjust your spices if you find it’s not quite to your taste.
Lean chicken bites
Everyone loves chicken. It’s the most versatile meat, taking on totally delicious flavors depending on what you cook it in. These bites make a great appetizer because they’re, well, bite-size. You can make a few different varieties, and they can be eaten hot or cold.
• 4 chicken breasts, skin and bone removed, cut into bite-size pieces
• Fat-free vinaigrette based salad dressing of your choice, or 1 Tbsp good quality olive oil mixed with one of these spice blends:
• 1 tsp each: smoked paprika, oregano, garlic salt
• 1 tsp each: garlic salt, dill, smoked paprika
• 1 tsp each: cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cumin
• Or experiment with your own blends
Cover the bite-size chicken with oil blend or salad dressing of choice, cover, and let marinate for at least 4 hours, better if overnight.
These can be cooked on the grill or cook them in the oven before you go.
Guacamole, hummus, and veggie sticks
Who doesn’t like dips and sticks, right? They’re a necessity for any vegan and vegetarian coming to the BBQ. Store-bought dips are always full of unnecessary additives and fats; when you cut these dips back and make them yourself, you’ll see they’re actually a healthy addition!
• 2 x avocados
• ½ red onion
• 1 small bunch cilantro
• 1 lime, juiced
Combine all ingredients in a food processor or by hand until smooth – or keep it a bit chunky. Your choice!
• 1 x can garbanzo beans, rinsed
• 1 Tbsp tahini
• 1 Tbsp good quality olive oil
• ½ lemon, juiced
In a food processor or with a hand blender, combine all ingredients until it reaches your preferred consistency.
Serve the dips with veggie sticks of your choice. Peppers, carrots, celery, cucumber, broccoli, and cauliflower are all good choices.
Cold cut and cheese roll-ups
We’ve featured a lot of lower fat appetizer options, but this is one for anyone following a low carb or keto diet. These fats will keep you fuller for longer, plus these are fun to make.
Cold cuts of your choice: salami, pastrami, roast beef, and chicken
Cheese of your choice: marble, Havarti, Swiss, and Gouda
Cut cheese into a stick about half an inch wide and as long as the cold cut. Roll the cheese up in the slice of meat.
Try these combos, or make up your own and let us know!
• Salami and cheddar
• Pastrami and swiss
• Ham and marble
• Roast beef and Havarti
• Chicken and gouda
Be sure to let us know how your BBQ turned out with these delicious recipes.