Skylar’s Summer BBQ Survival Guide

Summer sunshine means cooking out with friends and family! Grilling lets you add fresh and seasonal flavors but at BBQ’s this summer be careful of hidden sugars, processed carbohydrates and extra sweets. Don’t worry we have your sun kissed faces covered. Here are 6 tips for staying on track at your next summer BBQ:

Be a BBQ detective  

Plant based salads like edamame, avocado, or bean salads pack a doubly whammy of fiber and protein. Grilled meats are excellent protein sources to pair with grains or fruit. If able, choose lean meats such as chicken, fish, or turkey burgers Salads (the clearer the dressing the better), grilled vegetables and fresh fruit are also full of fiber and healthy sides. Opt for naturally flavored seltzers or fruit-infused waters for a hydrating and guilt-free beverage.

Salmon plate 

What to Avoid

Mini-sized desserts, such as two-bite brownies or cheesecakes, can be easy to grab and graze, especially if you are hungry. Overindulging on desserts or sugary drinks can leave you feeling sick and often hungry again later on. Be mindful of condiments like cheese, ketchup, hot sauce and mayonnaise, as these can add hidden calories.


Healthier Bun Options

If you’re looking to slim down on added carbs, swap up your burger bun with an alternative such as a low-carb bread or pita! Look for grains high in fiber and low in carbohydrates (we call these net carbs). Some of my favorite skinny grain brands include: Joseph’s Pita, Thomas Light Multigrain English Muffin, La Tortilla Factory Low Carb tortillas or Flat-Out Light Pitas. Check these out at your local grocer or on Amazon. No healthy grains? No problem! Switch it up with lettuce wraps or atop a salad.


Fill up with Fruit

Watermelon, pineapples, and berries are a great side-dish option to help you feel full and satisfied. Fresh fruit will provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber to help prevent cravings that can lead to overindulging. Remember to combine fresh fruits with a protein or fat to keep you feeling satisfied. Plus, eating water-based fruits can also help you stay hydrated on a hot summer day!

Switch up Your Mayo

My favorite mayonnaise and condiment brand is Sir Kensington’s. They strive to create healthier condiments by using clean, non-GMO ingredients, without much added sugar. Additionally, all the eggs in their products are Certified Free Range. I love using their Avocado oil mayonnaise (in moderation) in my potato and egg salads! I stick to their ketchup and vinaigrettes for healthier flavor options.

mayonnaise jar

Bring a Dish

If you’re heading to a cookout, perhaps check in with your family or friends to see what options they are bringing.  If you know there will be grilled proteins, consider bringing a healthy side dish such as a cucumber salad, tomato and mozzarella skewers, or a 3-bean salad. Slicing pineapple and peaches for grilling can be a delicious healthy dessert along with a balsamic drizzle or low-fat whip cream! One of my favorites to bring is a quinoa (or faro) salad with green peas, chopped asparagus, fresh mint, low-fat feta, and pumpkin seeds for a dish that combines both whole grains and veggies!

Faro mixture
Faro, Mint, Pumpkin Seed, and Feta salad


I hope these tips help you navigate your next summer BBQ feeling healthy and guilt-free. Try to keep your focus on your friends and family, and away from the food. Be sure to stay present in your conversations, chew mindfully, get active and focus on the summer memories! Bon a petit!

veggie plate

Co-Created with Molly Pelletier, Yoga Instructor and Nutrition Student at Boston University.

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