Healthy Barbecue Ideas for Memorial Day


Although the official start of summer isn’t until June 21st, Memorial Day is considered the “unofficial” kick-off to warmer weather, longer days – and outdoor grilling. Start the season off right with some healthy recipes for your Memorial Day barbecue.

Entrees: The best part about grilling outdoors is that it is a “dry” form of cooking, where a lot of extra fat – and therefore calories – can be avoided. Choose lean cuts of beef, such as round steak, t-bone steak, tenderloin, and top sirloin. A 3.5-ounce serving contains between 5-10 grams of total fat, depending upon the cut. Choose meats that are labeled “Choice” or “Select” instead of “Prime” for the lowest amount of both fat and saturated fat.

Choose a marinade that is made with unsaturated oils, such as canola, and are rich in herbs and spices. Recent research has shown that grilled meat cooked with marinades can reduce the amount of heterocyclic amines that form when foods are cooked at high temperatures. These HCA’s are thought to increase your risk for several types of cancers, including colorectal, stomach, lung, pancreas, breast, and prostate cancer. Steer clear of those with too much sugar or salt.

Not a beef person? Grilled chicken is a great source of lower-fat protein. Tomato-based sauces such as barbecue contain lycopene, a carotenoid that may help reduce incidence of cancer, cardiovascular diseae, and macular degeneration. Tomatoes are also rich in vitamin C, folate, and potassium.

Try these recipes: Eating Well Magazine Grilling Collection and Eating Well Healthy Recipes for BBQ Sauces and Marinades


Late spring and early summer is the peak of the season for most fruits and vegetables, so try your local farmer’s market for the freshest varieties. Throw some summer squash, eggplant, large mushrooms or corn on the cob on the grill to your vegetable intake.

Other common outdoor side dishes are not typically considered the healthiest choices, such as potato or macaroni salads, chips and dips, or baked beans loaded with bacon. Try a lower-fat version of potato salad or cole slaw made with oil and vinegar instead of mayonnaise.

Try these recipes: HealthiNation Healthy BBQ Side Dish Recipes and Grilling Side Dishes

For dessert, try a grilled fruit, such as pineapple, topped with a low-fat, low-calorie homemade ice cream. Other good, light ideas are fruit salads or light-fruit based sherbets.

Try these recipes: Eating Well Quick Healthy Dessert Recipes and Healthy Homemade Ice Cream Recipes

We at eMaxHealth wish to give thanks to all Americans who have served our country in the military services this Memorial Day, especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice – their lives.