Share The Health

7 Tips For Hosting a Healthy Summer Barbecue


When someone mentions BBQ, what comes to mind? Hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecue chicken, and corn on the cob, right? Everyone loves to spend some time firing up the grill around friends and family this time of year, but not everyone loves what the unhealthy food options can do to our summer bodies. Here are seven tips for hosting a barbecue that will keep everyone happy and healthy.

1) Healthier Sides

Half the time you go to a barbecue, you’re full before the burgers even hit the grill. Traditional sides like coleslaw and potato salad contain more than 350 calories. Switch it up and go with something lighter. Not only will it be healthier, but your guests will still be hungry when it’s time for the main course. A Mediterranean-style pasta salad and grilled veggies are both good options if you’re looking to break from the mold.

2) Get Creative With Your Burgers

Most guests will still probably want to stick with the traditional hamburgers and hot dogs, but for those who are feeling more adventurous or looking for a lighter option, grill up some turkey breast burgers and serve them on a whole-grain bun. A typical hamburger contains 500 calories, while a turkey burger cuts more than 100 calories and 5.5 grams of saturated fat.

Another great alternative to burgers and hot dogs is fish. Grilling some salmon or tuna is another delicious option for health-conscious guests.

3) Don’t Overcook Your Burger

Well-done and charred meat contains carcinogens that can increase your risk of cancer. Always marinate your meat before grilling. Use a healthy marinade like garlic and rosemary or lemon dill.

4) Create a Dessert That’s Delicious and Healthy

After a day filled with grilling and socializing, its best to follow-up with a dessert that’s still enjoyable but not over indulgent. Serve something that includes in-season fruit, like summer stone fruit, peaches, and nectarines. Angel food cake is always a crowd-pleaser, as is low-fat Greek strawberry yogurt.

If you’re really craving some chocolate, take fruit salad, watermelon, or grilled pineapple and lightly dip it in some dark chocolate.

5) Practice Fire Safety

Fire safety while grilling is something that every host should take seriously. Never use a grill on a balcony, terrace, or roof. Avoid squirting flammable liquids onto an open flame, and never use a propane tank inside of the house.

6) Have Healthy Drink Options Available

Staying hydrated is important, so stick with water for most of the barbecue. Heavy beers can be high in calories and contain added sugars, while the ethanol makes you hungrier and causes you to crave high-calorie foods. It’s a barbecue, though, so if you really want to enjoy a drink, stick with a light beer or distilled spirits. If you do chose to indulge in an adult beverage, do so in moderation.

7) Practice Proper Food Safety

Above all else, make sure that none of your guests get sick due to poor food safety. Always keep your food at a safe temperature. Thoroughly cook all of your meats, and keep raw and cooked meats separate. On a hot summer’s day when the temperature is above 90 degrees, don’t keep food out for more than an hour.

Save Us a Plate!

Frederick Memorial Hospital hopes that everyone enjoys a great number of happy and festive barbecues all summer long. Contact us for information on nutrition counseling and programs that can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.