If you are planning an outdoor party this summer, then you will be excited for 25 Tips and Recipes to make your Barbecue a little bit healthier. I have included some ways to get more nutrients into your meals, while still enjoying your favorite cookout fare like burgers, coleslaw and potato salad!

I worked with Jill Hussels, RDN of the New England Dairy to put together some ways you can make your barbecue better and healthier this cookout season. You can watch Jill and me share some of these tips on our television appearance.

Lean Proteins For a Healthier Barbecue

  • Choose less fatty cuts of beef, 95% lean is best.
  • Mix vegetables or fruit into your beef to bulk it up and cut down on fat and calories.
  • Make your own turkey burgers with breast meat.
  • Add Dijon mustard to your turkey meat to spice it up.
  • Try Salmon burger to get your Omega 3s.
  • When choosing a veggie burger look for ones with beans for protein and fiber.
  • Bulk up your burger with loads of nutrient-rich veggies and low fat cheese for extra calcium.
  • Check out our line-up of healthy burger recipes too!
  • There are many other lean meats to add to the grill besides burgers!

These grilled meats, veggies, kebabs and burgers are all some of your favorite barbecue fare with less saturated fat and calories than traditional cookout recipes.

More Veggies and Healthier Side Dishes for Cookout Menu

Here are some tips for adding more veggies (and nutrients to your plate for your picnic or barbecue.)

  • Fill half your plate with vegetables , like a big beautiful garden salad.
  • Add as many colors as you can with your favorite seasonal vegetables. Like I tell my kids, eat a rainbow!
  • Make homemade dressing to save calories.
  • Add fresh herbs to dressing for flavor without extra calories.
  • Substitute low-fat plain Greek-style yogurt for some of the mayonnaise in creamy dressing.
  • Make veggie kebabs to add more vegetables to your plate.
  • Add flavor to veggie kebabs without calories with herb seasonings.

Here are some tips for making your barbecue side dishes more healthy.

  • Leave the skins on your potato salad for fiber and minerals.
  • Steam potatoes to preserve nutrients.
  • Boost flavor of potato salad with vinegar.
  • Add flavor without extra calories with herbs.
  • Make popsicles with pureed fruit to boost nutrition and keep calories in check.
  • Add berries for Antioxidants.
  • Fruit is lighter in calories than traditional desserts.
  • Homemade popsicles are kid-friendly and easy to make.

Pay Attention to Portions

  • Burgers should be about the size of a hockey puck
  • Watch out for big buns, choose those that are about the size of a deck of cards or 3oz.
  • A little goes a long way so limit the amount of dressing in your salads and sides. About 2 Tablespoon per serving is plenty!

At Healthy Seasonal Recipes, we specialize in cooking with fresh veggies and creating weeknight meals. Sign up HERE to get more produce-forward dinner ideas for FREE! If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought! Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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home-made popsicles

25 Healthy Barbecue Recipes {and Watermelon Popsicles Recipe}

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5 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 4 hours 25 mins
  • Yield: 8 pops 1x


Here are healthy and easy barbecue recipes and our favorite watermelon popsicles made with fresh watermelon


Units Scale
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 6 cups cubed seedless watermelon


  1. Combine honey, water and mint in a small saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring often. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes.
  2. Strain mint honey mixture into a blender. Discard mint. Add watermelon to the blender. Pulse then puree, stopping to scrape sides and press down on the fruit to get mixture moving as necessary.
  3. Divide watermelon mixture among 8 TK popsicle molds. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: na
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: freezer
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 pop
  • Calories: 49
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 1 g