Healthier BBQ Swaps to Use All Summer Long

Backyard barbecue season is upon us! Good food, good friends, and good weather add up to a great time. But the traditional fare—cheeseburgers, hot dogs, mayo-laden potato or macaroni salads and s’mores—can hamper your weight-loss goals. Here are several healthy food suggestions plus two recipes for a most-delicious meal. So bring out your red-checkered table cloth, fire up the grill, and get ready for the best barbecue ever!

Pick Lean Proteins

Gotta have a burger? We get it, but make your patties from lean ground turkey or chicken breast rather than higher-fat beef. Grill some salmon burgers or make vegetable kebabs for your main dish.

Swap Pasta and Potato Salads for Fruit and Veggie Sides

Crudités served with a low-fat dressing never go out of style. Plate a medley of colorful and interesting veggies: in addition to the usual broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, add some asparagus spears, artichoke hearts, sliced red bell peppers, and some fruit—strawberries, grapes, pineapple chunks, or berries.

Mix up greens and a low-fat lemon-based dressing for a light, bright summer salad or toss together berries for a berry-delicious side.

Add Flavor Without Fat or Salt

Use spice rubs on fish and meats. Mix citrus juices or flavored vinegars into your marinades. Serve salsa alongside grilled meat, fish or veggies. 

Serve Better Beverages

Don’t quench your thirst with sweet or alcoholic drinks that can quickly decimate your day’s calorie limit. Swap beer and soda for sparkling water with a little fruit and a touch of juice or perhaps a squeeze of lemon and a few slices of cucumber.

Do Dessert Right

Toasted marshmallows are simply gooey sugar on a stick; squash them between chocolate bars and graham crackers and, well, you have a high-sugar-fat-calorie sandwich. Try skewering a mix of fruits (see the recipe below) and tossing them on the grill; grilling enhances the fruit’s sweetness and flavor.

Consider these Recipes

Here are two great recipes for the grill. Both are appropriate for phase 1 or 2 of Curves Nutrition Program.

Grilled Fruit Skewers

Prep time: 20 minutes


– 1/4 mango, cut into bite-size chunks
– 1/4 cup pineapple chunks
– 1/4 large banana, cut into bite-size chunks and brushed with lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon canola oil
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/4 tablespoon coconut flakes
– 1/2 teaspoon fresh mint
– 5 ounces plain low-fat Greek yogurt


1. Preheat the grill.

2. Place the mango, pineapple, and banana on 2 skewers; brush with oil and sprinkle with cinnamon.

3. Grill the kebabs until golden brown and tender.

4. Sprinkle with coconut, top with mint and serve with yogurt.

Note: if using wooden skewers soak in water ahead of time.

Grilled Shrimp Salad with Tahini-Cilantro Dressing

For the Salad

– 3 ounces shrimp
– 1 cup romaine lettuce
– 1 carrot, grated
– 4 asparagus spears, chopped
– 1/8 red onion, chopped
– 1 stalk celery, chopped
– 1 ounce feta cheese
– 1/2 cup cor

For the dressing

– 1 lemon/br> – 2 stalks celery
– 2 cloves garlic
– 1/3 cup cilantro leaves
– 3 tablespoons tahini
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– salt to taste
– pepper, to taste


1. Juice the lemon.

2. Blend lemon juice, celery, garlic, cilantro, and tahini in a food processor. With motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Grill the shrimp.

4. Toss lettuce with 2 tablespoons dressing.

5. Top the lettuce with asparagus, onion, celery, feta, corn, and shrimp.

Serves 1

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