For many people, a barbecue is a chance to let loose and indulge in hearty meals and calorie laden meats. However, that does not always have to be the case. There are thousands of healthy grilling ideas that can allow people to soak up the smoky, delicious flavors of the barbecue without the fat and calories. From grilled vegetables to low fat turkey burgers, this healthy grilling manual can help any grill enthusiasts find healthy ideas to replace their traditional barbecue standbys.
Vegetable Kabobs: One of the simplest and healthiest grilling ideas imaginable is the vegetable kabob. Not only is it very low calorie and simple to create, but it can be tailored to fit the tastes of each individual at the barbecue. Start with soaking some wooden skewers in water for a few hours, to ensure that they don’t catch on fire once on the grill. Then, chop a variety of vegetables into similar sized pieces. Popular items include things like cherry tomatoes, zucchini, squash, eggplant, mushrooms, onions and green or red peppers. Place these chopped vegetables onto the wooden skewer in whatever order you want, and then place them on the grill until the vegetables are soft and browned. To make it a complete meal for meat eaters, add in some shrimp or chicken breast, which is still healthy and low in fat.
Nontraditional Burgers: Most barbecues include hamburgers, which are perhaps the perfect item to throw on the grill and the best item to eat with just your hands. However, what isn’t so great about these beef burgers is their high fat content. Instead of consuming so many calories and saturated fat in one meal, consider a less traditional burger. Turkey burgers can be found in most grocery stores and taste just as delicious as their beef counterparts, especially once they are grilled and loaded onto a bun with all the toppings. Other alternatives include veggie burgers and even grilled chicken breasts piled onto a bun.
Grilled Quesadillas: Vegetarians or those trying to avoid a lot of fat will enjoy this unique grilling idea for a barbecue. The quesadillas can be made in advance and just tossed on the grill to heat thoroughly and give it those attractive grill marks. Start with spinach wraps or whole wheat tortillas, placing one wrap down and covering it in a thin layer of low-fat or even nonfat cheese. Then, top with all your favorite vegetables. Popular toppings include diced tomatoes, fresh corn, baby spinach, black beans or mushrooms. When you are ready to dig into your Mexican feast, simply toss the quesadilla on the grill and let it heat up and melt the cheese, flipping once to ensure that both sides are browned beautifully.
Grilled Eggplant: For a healthy side dish that is sure to please all your barbecue guests, consider slicing up a large eggplant into rounds. Brush on a light coating of olive oil to both sides, and then sprinkle with a little salt and fresh cracked pepper. Place the rounds directly onto the grill, allowing the sear marks to come through. Flip the eggplant rounds over after a few minutes and serve on top of a salad or as a warm dish with feta cheese.
Grilled Fruit: Although few people think of grilling fruit as a dessert, it is a truly healthy and delicious way to enjoy the end of a barbecue. The natural sweetness of fruits are emphasized when heated, creating a very sweet dish. Chop up a pineapple into rings and let each side heat for a minute or two and then serve hot to guests.