25 plus tips for a healthy bbq

For those of you who live here in Vermont, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Across the Fence. If you’re not from around here, let me explain. Across the Fence is the longest running farm and home daily television show in the country. In other words, to call it a Vermont institution would be an understatement. And this week, just in time for Labor Day Barbecues, I was invited to be a guest!

Across the Fence- Better BBQ

from left to right: Jill Goodroe RD, Judy Simpson of WCAX and me on the set at the WCAX studios

Jill Goodroe, RD from the New England Dairy & Food Council and I were asked to share our top tips for making a healthier barbecue. The show airs today at 12:10pm on WCAX Channel 3.

If you aren’t local, here is the clip.

Below you’ll find more than 25 tips for making your barbecue healthier and please scroll down to get all four recipes I shared on the show.

Here are some of the ways you can make your barbecue better and healthier this Labor Day:

Go Lean with Protein

    • Choose less fatty cuts of beef, 95% lean is best
    • Burgers should be about the size of a hockey puck
    • 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
    • Watch out for big buns, choose those that are about the size of a deck of cards or 3oz.
    • Bulk up your burger with loads of nutrient-rich veggies and low fat cheese for extra calcium

Fill Your Plate with Vegetables

  • 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 home-made dressing to save calories
  • A little goes a long way so limit the amount of dressing
  • 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


  • 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
  • Cut mayonnaise with low-fat Greek Yogurt

Add Fruit to Dessert

    • 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
    • Home-made popsicles are kid-friendly and easy to make

Last but not least

  • Pay Attention to Portions

Below are the four recipes I shared on the show. Please scroll down to get all four. I really hope you enjoy them. Please leave me a note below letting your tricks for staying on track and eating healthy at a barbecue.


Yogurt Dill Dressing

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad Dressing
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American


Light creamy dressing made healthier by swapping in Greek yogurt for most of the mayonnaise.



  • 1/2 cup plain Low-Fat Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 4 teaspoons minced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste


  1. Whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar,dill, shallot, salt and pepper in a small bowl.


  • Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 83
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 3 g
horseradish cheddar potato salad

light and creamy potato salad with horseradish cheddar

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American


Lighter potato salad with a pop of horseradish cheddar. These flavors go great with grilled meat.



  • 2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes, cut into chunks about 1 ½-inches each (6c)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • ½ cup low-fat Greek-style yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper, preferably white
  • 1 cup shredded horseradish cheddar such as Cabot
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery hearts
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tender herbs, such as parsley, chives, chervil, basil tarragon and dill
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Bring several inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer attachment over high heat. Add potatoes to steamer and cook until tender and flesh feels tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Remove potatoes and steamer transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle vinegar over the potaotes and toss to coat. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 ½ hours.
  2. Whisk Greek-style yogurt, mayonnaise and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in cheddar and mix until any clumps of cheese are broken up. Stir in the celery hearts, onion and herbs. Stir yogurt mixture into the cooled potatoes and season with pepper.


This recipe was developed for Cabot Creamery Cooperative and it also appears on the Cabot website.


  • Serving Size: 3/4 cup each
  • Calories: 124
raspberry frozen yogurt popsicles

Healthy Raspberry Frozen Yogurt Popsicles

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 hours
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Small Appliance
  • Cuisine: American


Healthy home-made raspberry frozen yogurt pops made with three simple ingredients



  • 6 ounces (1/2 dry pint) fresh raspberries
  • 1 1/4 cup low-fat Vanilla Greek-style yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons honey, maple syrup or agave nectar


  1. Puree raspberries in a food processor. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard seeds. Whisk puree, yogurt and sweetener in a medium bowl until smooth. Divide among popsicle molds (makes about 6, depending on mold size.) Freeze until solid, about 1 day. Unmold under warm running water.


  • Serving Size: 1 popsicle
home-made popsicles

fresh watermelon pops

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 hours
  • Yield: 6 pops 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: no cook
  • Cuisine: American


Have the kids help you make these simple family friendly Popsicles. Just puree fresh watermelon and freeze. Healthy, Kid friendly, gluten free, and vegan.



  • 4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
  • sweetener to taste, optional


  1. Puree watermelon in a food processor. Add sweetener if desired and puree to combine. Divide among popsicle molds. Makes about 6 (depending on size of pop molds.) Freeze until solid. Un-mold popsicles by running mold under warm water.