Fire up that grill, it’s BBQ season! There’s nothing like a backyard cookout to celebrate summer holidays and spend time together as a family. You already know that, generally speaking, grilled foods are way better for you than fried, but if you want to take the benefits up a notch, read on for 20 delicious and healthy recipes to make on the grill this summer.
Healthy Recipes to Make on the Grill
From grilled chicken and shrimp recipes to tasty veggies, you’ll find something for everyone on this list (including the kids)! You’ll even find a couple of amazing grilled desserts!
- Bacon Wrapped Shrimp Kabobs – Don’t miss the ten delicious dipping sauce ideas to go along with them!
- Honey Dijon Pork Tenderloin– You’ll only need three ingredients to pull off this yummy & healthy grilled pork recipe!
- The Greatest Grilled Chicken Ever – With a recipe name like that, you just know it’s going to be outstanding! Find out the secret to making it. Here’s a hint: it’s easier than you might think!
- Honey Lime Salmon on the Grill– Honey and lime come together with spices to really bring out the flavor in this grilled salmon recipe.
- Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs – If you can’t visit Hawaii this summer, bring the taste of the islands to your back yard with this delicious recipe! It’s a big hit with kids, too.
- Grilled Zucchini Wraps With Goat Cheese – With just 4 ingredients, this healthy grilled appetizer is a cinch to make!
- Easy Pineapple Meatball Skewers– Although already good as is, make it with chicken or turkey meatballs to kick up the health factor a few notches.
- Grilled Sweet Potato Fries – This healthy alternative to regular fries uses just two ingredients. I bet you can guess the first one!
- Grilled Mexican Corn on the Cob – Of all the ways to prepare summer corn, grilling it is definitely the yummiest, especially when you use this recipe.
- Grilled Peach Salad– Turn those grilled peaches into a healthy side dish with this yummy salad recipe.
- Grilled Watermelon Salad – Watermelon on the grill? Yes, please! It’s especially delicious with Feta cheese!
- Easy Grilled Artichokes– With one main ingredient and a few spices, you’ll have the perfect healthy side dish in no time.
- Lemon Basil Grilled Pork Chops– You’ll love how the lemon brings the basil and garlic flavors to life with this easy grilled pork recipe.
- Grilled Cilantro Vegetables in Foil – This foil pack grilled side dish isn’t just yummy, it has virtually no cleanup involved. That’s always a major plus!
- Guacamole Chicken Burger– Everything is just better with avocados, including this outstanding grilled chicken burger recipe.
- Mediterranean Grilled Avocado Stuffed with Chickpeas – Speaking of avocados, this filling dish is perfect for your vegetarian friends and family.
- Cherry Sriracha Barbecue Sauce – Although it’s not technically something that you make on the grill, this sauce goes great with everything from chicken to grilled fruits!
- Grilled Peaches with Yogurt -Part side dish, part dessert, all delicious. This grilled peach recipe will have your cookout guests begging for more.
- Grilled Fruit Kabobs with Cinnamon Honey Glaze – The best part of this easy grilled dessert: you can swap out the fruits depending on what’s on sale that week.
- Grilled Dessert Pizza– This grilled dessert pizza looks rich and decadent but it’s actually full of healthy ingredients.
5 Tips for Healthier Grilling
Along with choosing healthy recipes to make on the grill, you’ll also want to follow a few basic safety tips, like these five!
1. Trim the fat and skip the charred parts
A couple of years ago, a shocking study came out suggesting that barbecued meat can cause cancer by forming polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs) during the grilling process. The first forms when fat drips down into the coals and rise back up onto the meat. The second comes from the charring process.
The best way to avoid PAHs and HCAs would be, of course, to not grill meats, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, make sure you trim off as much of the fat as possible before grilling, then skip eating (or at least significantly limit) the charred bit.
2. Marinate Your Meat
Marinating your meat doesn’t just add yummy flavor, some studies suggest that it can cut those PAHs and HCAs down by a whopping 92-99% because it helps trap the fat and keep it from dripping down into the coals. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you’re sticking to low-cal, low-fat, healthier homemade marinades.
3. Microwave First, Flip Regularly
Microwaving your meat first may not sound all that appealing, but it drastically cuts down on both PHAs and HCAs. Once you put it on the grill, make sure you’re flipping it regularly but without piercing the meat. A good stainless-steel spatula will help get the job done right.
4. Add more fruits and veggies to your BBQ menu
Obviously, fruits and veggies are better for you than steak and ribs, but there’s another reason to grill them more often. Unlike meats, they don’t form PAHs and HCAs, so you can grill away and eat every last bit. Check out 15 Delicious Healthy Fruit Recipes That Make Perfect Summer Desserts for more tasty ideas using summer’s bounty of “nature’s candy.”
5. Ditch the wire brush
PHAs and HCAs aren’t the only dangerous things that can end up in your meat. Stray bristles from grill brushes can end up in your food. In fact, this grilling mishap alone sends an average of about 140 people a year to the emergency room. While that may not sound like a lot compared to other BBQ accidents, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Ditch the wire brush and opt for something like a grill stone cleaning block.
Cookouts let you spend more time outdoors with your family and less time sweating over a hot stove, so it’s not wonder they’re one of our favorite summer activities. As long as you follow the basic safety rules and stick to healthy recipes, there’s no reason why you can’t make all your meals on the grill!
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