Food

10 healthy barbecue ideas

There's nothing quite like the sizzle of the barbecue in summer. Here's some our favourite recipes and tips for outdoor entertaining.

Written by Medibank
Grilled vegetarian skewers with zucchini, onion, bell pepper, corn and cherry tomatoes in a herb marinade
Grilled salmon fillet with vegetable salad

1. Grill up some fish

Grilled fish can be a delicious, healthy dish to serve at your next barbecue. Rich in omega 3 fatty acids, fish has been linked to a number of health benefits, including supporting your heart health, brain function and mental health. Choose fresh fish like salmon, mackerel, trout and herring and enjoy a tasty protein hit.

Recipe inspiration: Try these fragrant fish recipes for a seafood feast.

A Wonderful summer bounty of greens, apples, cheese and nuts.

2. Get creative with salads

Fresh, light and full of flavour, salads are the perfect way to balance out your barbecue meal. Serve up green leafy salads with nutritious ingredients like quinoa, almonds, strawberries, orange slices, chickpeas, brown rice, low-fat feta, and a range of fresh veggies.

Recipe inspiration: Check out our huge collection of fresh, delicious salad recipes.

Quinoa and vegetable salad and grilled chicken fillet on white plate, top view

3. Choose leaner cuts of meat

You can make a big difference in lowering the fat content of your barbecue by choosing leaner cuts of meat. Choose loin or round cuts of red meat and pork, look for choice or select grades of beef rather than prime, and trim off the excess fat before cooking.

If you’re cooking chicken, breast pieces are a great cut to choose, and a good trick is to remove the skin first – the skin soaks up all the juices and fat while it’s cooking.

4. Make your own burgers (meat or veggie)

If you love burgers, a healthier option than many pre-made patties is to buy extra lean ground beef, chicken or turkey (or lentils, chickpeas or kidney beans for a filling vegetarian option) and make your own.

Recipe inspiration: This Indian-spiced quinoa burger or turkey burger with jalapeño mayo are delicious!

5. Skip heavy marinades and condiments

Lighten up the salt, sugar and fat content of your barbecue by swapping heavy, preservative-filled marinades with simple ingredients like olive oil and flavourful herbs and spices. The same goes for store-bought tomato sauce, barbecue sauces and salad dressings – these often contain high amounts of sugar and salt, corn syrup and preservatives, so look for healthier varieties whenever you can. Yogurt-based sauces and marinades can also be a great option for barbecued food.

Recipe inspiration: Add flavour to your barbecued meats and veggies with avocado sauce or cucumber and corn salsa.

Grilled skewers with chicken meat, sausages, zucchini, peppers, onions and mushrooms in a herb marinade

6. Fill up on veggies

Meat isn’t the only thing you can grill on the barbecue – grilling vegetables is a great way to bring out their deep, rich flavour. Tomatoes, mushrooms and onions are tasty barbecue staples, but you can also add colour and variety with asparagus, corn on the cob, broccoli, capsicum, zucchini, eggplant, or any other veggies you can think of.

Try a simple marinade of olive oil, salt and crushed black pepper, and fill up your plate – or get some skewers and make colourful vegetable kebabs.

Recipe inspiration: Chargrilled Mediterranean veggies, stuffed capsicums and even Brussels sprouts can make tasty additions to your barbecue spread.

7. Serve healthy, colourful snacks

Ditch the bag of potato chips and try raw veggies like carrot, cherry tomatoes, capsicum and celery sticks served with a yummy low-fat dip.

Recipe inspiration: Whip up some tasty homemade dips, sweet potato fries, or guacamole.

8. Drink lots of water

Stay hydrated while you’re out in the sun. Skip the Coke and drink plenty of water. If you want something a little more exciting, try some unsweetened iced tea, sparkling water or fresh fruit juice for a refreshing summery drink.

Recipe inspiration: Try some of these fun, fruity and simple soft drink alternatives.

9. Try grilling fruits

Throw some sliced pineapple, nectarines, plums and peaches on the barbecue for a great healthy desert. The natural sugars caramelise with the heat, bringing out a scrumptious flavour.

Recipe inspiration: These easy grilled stone fruits are a delicious treat.

10. Go for wholegrain breads

Add flavour and texture to your burger with wholegrain breads and rolls with plenty of fibre. There are plenty of nutritious and interesting options available – look for rye, linseed and buckwheat, to name a few.

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