BBQ, Anyone? These Healthy Foods Are Delicious on the Grill

There is more to barbecuing than burgers, chicken legs and corn on the cob. If you are looking for healthy barbecue options to serve to your family and friends, we have lots of ideas. Here are some creative, healthy and delicious foods to add to the grill—along with recipes to inspire you!

Proteins beyond processed and high-fat meats

When it comes to choosing proteins to grill, it is best to look outside the box. Lean proteins are just as easy to grill as higher-fat T-bone steaks, burgers or processed hot dogs—not to mention lean proteins are much more cardioprotective being low in saturated fat and high in omega-3 fatty acids. Since these proteins are low in fat, it would be best to marinate them in vinegar or citrus to add flavor that may be lost. These are our top low-fat protein picks.

Non-flaky fish like halibut, salmon, char and swordfish
Get the recipe: Grilled Halibut with Tomato Avocado Salsa

Seafood like shrimp, scallops and mussels
Get the recipe: Grilled Sea Scallops with Yellow Beets, Cucumber and Lime

Lean meats like chicken breast, turkey and pork tenderloin
Get the recipe: Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Herb Sauce

Vegetarian options like tofu and tempeh
Get the recipe: Spicy Grilled Tempeh

Vegetables that can withstand the heat

I think we all know why vegetables are great healthy additions to summer barbecues but have you ever tried putting them directly on the grill? When doing so, it is best to choose vegetables with lower water content so you can get a good char—but even a leafy green like kale can be grilled!

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower
Get the recipe: Grilled Chipotle Lime Cauliflower Steaks

Crunchy greens like kale and collard greens
Get the recipe: Grilled Kale

Summer squash like zucchini, yellow squash and pattypan squash
Get the recipe: Grilled Zucchini Rolls Ups with Ricotta and Herbs

Creative skewers with mushrooms, potatoes, brussel sprouts and sugar snap peas
Get the recipe: Snap Pea Skewers with Soy Ginger Sauce

Finish the barbeque with a healthy dessert

What other way to end your barbecue than with a healthy sweet treat that can also be made on the grill? The sweetness of these desserts pairs well with the smokiness of the grill for a nice flavor profile. Also, you will notice they are low-calorie and can still be part of your healthy diet. Here are the top picks to end your night on a (healthy) sweet note.

Tropical fruits like mango, pineapple and banana
Get the recipe: Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Sorbet

Citrus fruits like grapefruit or oranges with a low-sugar cream like mascarpone, ricotta or Greek yogurt
Get the recipe: Grilled Grapefruit with Yogurt

Stone fruits like plums, nectarines or peaches with nuts like pecans, almonds or walnuts
Get the recipe: Honey Glazed Plums with Almonds and Creme Fraiche

Well, look at that. A three-course meal—all made on the grill! On top of that, all of it is healthy and won’t set you back on your summer body goals. We hope we inspired you to make something healthy and delicious at your next summer barbecue.


Gabriella is a registered dietitian living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently works in corporate wellness as a dietitian and overall wellness coach. She also runs a food blog called Macrobalanced, where she shows people that healthy and balanced eating can be interesting and tasty! She enjoys all things fitness from lifting heavy weights in the gym to hitting the barre. Nothing is off limits as long as sweat is involved. When she is not cooking or sweating, she is playing with her dog Maui, a lively German Shepherd. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.