healthy bbq recipes

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The boob sweat is real, which means one thing: summer is here and it’s time to get grilling. But if you want to swerve very-over-cooked veg masquerading as ‘charred’ and ‘not sure if it’s cooked’ meat, it’s worth spending a moment getting to grips with healthy BBQ recipes before your support bubble turns up.

It’s no big secret a BBQ doesn’t have to be all burgers and hot dogs. That said, there’s still confusion over what’s the healthiest food to chuck on the coals. According to nutritionist Amanda Forman it can be pretty simple. ‘A BBQ is no different from any other meal in that it still requires all three macronutrients—that’s carbs, protein and fat—not forgetting elements of micro-nutrients, from fruit or veg. Stacking your plate with a variety of foods and opting for things like vegetable skewers and side salads, as well as your protein and carbs, is an easy way to ensure all your nutritional needs are covered’.

So, we reckon it’s time you brushed up on some healthy, delicious and nutritionist-approved BBQ recipes to suit all palates.

How to build a balanced BBQ plate

Melissa Kuman, registered nutritionist, agrees. As a general guideline, she advises trying to balance your plate by macros.

Opt for:

  • One starchy carbohydrate, like pasta salad, rice or a burger bun
  • A protein or two, like chicken, turkey, halloumi or tofu
  • A thumbful of fat, like avocado, nuts, seeds or olive oil
  • Lots of different colourful salads

‘For example, you could have chicken wings (protein) with a mixed roasted vegetable bulgur wheat salad (starchy and non starchy carbs), a side salad (veg) and an olive oil and garlic dressing (healthy fat)’, she adds. Got it? Good.

If you’re wondering what that looks like in recipe form, don’t worry—we also asked Forman and Kuman to approve 15 healthy BBQ recipes for you, highlighting the nutrition ‘wins’ of each, as they went.

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Grilled Veggie Skewers

Nutrition win? Use up whatever veggies you’ve got in the fridge for a flavourful and, with this recipes’ spice hack, simple way to make veg tasty.

Forman shares ‘Grilling vegetables is an excellent way to retain nutrients and eating a variety of vegetables is important for diet diversity. Each vegetable has its benefits, and ensuring high levels of antioxidants in your diet from fruit and veg helps to protect against harmful free radicals.’

Takes: 30 minutes

Recipe here


Grilled Courgette

Nutrition win? Simple, quick and oh-so-tasty, courgettes will soon become your best friend if you crack how to cook them properly. Plus, they’re chock full of nutrients. ‘Courgettes have a high water content and, as a result, a low calorie content. They are also very fibrous, making them an excellent vegetable at keeping you fuller for longer’.

Takes: 25 minutes

Recipe here


Grilled Broccoli

Nutrition win? Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli contains various bioactive compounds (including glucosinolates) which reduce damage caused to cells from inflammation of chronic diseases, explains Forman. ‘There have been some successful clinical trials highlighting their health promoting properties and potential as a benefit to reducing cancer risk, plus they’re rich in folate, vitamins A, K and C and magnesium’, she adds.

Takes: 45 minutes

Recipe here


Balsamic Garlic Grilled Mushroom Skewers

Nutrition win? According to Forman, mushrooms are rich in phytochemicals and have been used for their medicinal properties for centuries. ‘They have multiple benefits including being anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and even anti-viral. Even the humble button mushroom is an excellent immune modulator’. Pass the skewer.

Top tip from Kuman: ‘Before doing this recipe, sit your mushrooms gills (aka bottom) side up in the sun to get some extra vitamin D’.

Takes: 20 minutes

Recipe here


Grilled Cauliflower Skewers

Nutrition win? Cauliflower, like broccoli, is a cruciferous vegetable packed full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, similar in nutritional value to broccoli, according to Kuman. Plus, amazingly, one cup of cauliflower provides you with 77% of your daily vitamin C needs and 20% of your daily vitamin K needs. Not bad at all.

This recipe is banging (there’s a reason they nickname it bang bang cauliflower), especially when served with this umami sauce.

Takes: 45 minutes

Recipe here


Grilled Mini Sweet Peppers with Goats Cheese

Nutrition win? Peppers are renowned for having the highest content of vitamin C in any fruit or vegetable which, according to Forman, is ‘essential for immune health’.

Not a meat eater? Goats cheese is a great meat-free source of protein, according to Kuman, plus provides ‘calcium and phosphorus, which are needed for healthy bones.’

Takes: 30 minutes

Recipe here


Red Cabbage Slaw

Nutrition win? You can’t beat a refreshing red cabbage slaw, especially when it’s as light as this one. From a nutrition perspective? ‘This colourful dish is a great example of how to pack a dish full of, well, nutrition wins. For example, you’ll get vitamin A from the carrots, the blood sugar balancing from the cabbage and antioxidants from the chilli, spring onion and parsley’, shares Forman.

Takes: 15 minutes

Recipe here


Sweet Potato Wedges

Nutrition win? Sweet potato, your standard potato’s slightly, ahem, sweeter sibling, tastes great barbecued or roasted in the oven. ‘It’s also a carotenoid and rich in a variety of vitamin and minerals, especially vitamin A’, shares Forman. ‘Further, it’s a carbohydrate that’s low GL, meaning it’s better suited to maintain balanced blood glucose levels’.

Takes: 15 minutes

Recipe here


Grilled Carrots with Honey Brown Sugar Glaze

Nutrition win? ‘Carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene, an anti-oxidant that the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A is known to support the immune system and is beneficial to skin and eye health’, explains Forman.

Plus, Kuman adds that grilling your carrots is a great way to retain the water soluble vitamins in the veg that are lost with other cooking methods, like, say, boiling. Crafty.

Takes: 25 minutes

Recipe here


Hawaiian Prawn Skewers

Nutrition win? Packed with fresh ingredients, this recipe provides natural sweetness from the pineapple. ‘Prawns contain a good level of zinc’, explains Forman. Which is important, why? ‘As zinc is super helpful for supporting both your immune system and metabolic function.’

Takes: 35 minutes

Recipe here


Sweet and Sour Tofu BBQ Skewers

Nutrition win? A great vegan addition to a bbq and a way to provide protein in plant form. Plus, in nutrition terms, Kuman thinks tofu is a winner. ‘It’s packed with selenium and zinc, is low in saturated fats and includes all the essential amino acids, like animal protein’, according to the nutritionist.

Takes: 1 hour

Recipe here


Grilled Salmon

Nutrition win? Salmon, together with mackerel, anchovy, sardine and herring, form a group of fish known as ‘smash’. ‘These are the oily fishes and, in terms of nutrition, are abundant in omega 3. Omega 3 form part of the essential fatty acids and are required for healthy cells, plus a protective against inflammatories’, shares Forman.

Takes: 40 minutes

Recipe here


Halloumi Skewers

Nutrition win? Another skewer, sure, but one that contains halloumi, so is pretty much a must at any BBQ. Halloumi cheese is a. high in protein b. rich in calcium and c. bloomin’ delicious. You all know protein is important for muscle repair in the body and eating foods that are damn tasty are good for the soul, so this one is a winner with WH.

Takes: 10 minutes

Recipe here


Turkey and Courgette Burgers

Nutrition win? Well, aside from the fact it’s an Ottolenghi recipe so will be deeee-licious, the nutritionists both share that courgette is packed full of vitamins and minerals and turkey is one of the leanest proteins you can eat. Delightful.

Takes: 30 minutes

Recipe here


Cajun Chicken Burger

Nutrition win? As with turkey, chicken is a great source of lean protein, plus, you’ve got the perfect slaw recipe just a scroll away. Don’t say we aren’t good to you.

In expert terms, that roughly translates to chicken being ‘a good quality source of protein containing all the essential amino acids’, according to Kuman.

Takes: 15 minutes

Recipe here

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