Is BBQ Healthy? With These Kid-Approved Grill Favorites, It Can Be!

Grilling is one of America’s favorite summer activities. In fact, 75% of Americans own an outdoor grill or smoker and according to the US census, nearly 80 million people grilled out in 2015 alone! The most popular items to grill were hamburgers, followed by chicken, hot dogs and steak. All that meat makes one ask, is BBQ healthy? If you’re looking for delicious options for healthier and lighter BBQ fare, we’ve got you covered with some kid-approved burger substitutions.

Burger Alternative Recipes: 

Salmon Burger with Avocado Salsa: Salmon is a fantastic addition to any grill and it’s full of health benefits for growing bodies! Salmon is rich in B vitamins and fatty acids which are great for brain health, improved cognitive function and thyroid/heart health. This yummy recipe from Laughing Spatula includes the added benefits of heart-healthy, high fiber avocado. If mild poblano peppers aren’t your thing, sweeten things up with some chopped mango in your salsa!

The Humble Black Bean Veggie Burger: There are plenty of delicious veggie burgers on the market if you need a quick dinner but homemade always tastes better. The beauty of this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction is that you can flavor these black bean burgers any way you choose. They’re also the perfect platform for all kinds of burger toppings. Black bean burgers are nutritious as well as tasty. The high fiber content helps keep kids regular, reduces digestive issues and helps keep cholesterol low.

Savory Falafel Tahini Burgers with Tzatziki: Looking for another healthy vegetarian option for grilling on the BBQ? Try these falafel tahini burgers from Evergreen Kitchen served with a dollop of fresh tzatziki sauce. They’re filling, rich in plant protein and high in fiber, something most kids and adults could use more of. Instead of pan-frying, cook your falafel burgers on a cooler grill for 4-5 minutes per side. Don’t forget to oil the grill to prevent sticking! Serve on a pita, bun or in a lettuce wrap with your favorite veggie toppings.

Sweet Potato Coconut Patties: If your family loves exotic flavors, they’ll love these sweet and healthy sweet potato coconut burgers. Sweet potatoes aren’t just a kid-favorite for their sweet taste, they’re healthy too. Rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, sweet potatoes boost the brain, eyes and immune system. Coconut has its own health benefits too. Coconut is high in healthy fats and provides quick energy to the brain and body while increasing HDL cholesterol, which helps keep heart disease at bay. Try this recipe from Foodal and grill them as you would black bean or falafel burgers.

Healthy BBQ Ideas That Aren't About The Meats: 

Substituting out ground beef or hot dogs isn’t the only way you can boost the healthiness of your next BBQ meal, here are a few more ideas to keep things light and fresh:

Always grill vegetables when you BBQ. Grilled veggies can make fun and healthy finger foods, burger toppings or side dishes. Try grilling things like beets, squash, corn, eggplant, green beans, mushrooms and tomatoes. Whichever vegetables your kids love most, they’ll love even more on the grill!

Grill fruit for a healthy dessert. Many fruits taste amazing on the grill. Grilled pineapple is a given but don’t forget about grilled peaches, pears, apples, figs, bananas and even watermelon!

Dump the bun. Opt for healthy lettuce wraps instead of a carb-heavy bun. Romaine lettuce is a good choice for wrapping up patties but lettuce isn’t the only option. Get creative! Serve your patties between grilled eggplant slices or portabella mushrooms for a healthy twist.

Make your own condiments. It’s easy to make your own condiments like mayonnaise and ketchup at home with any preservatives or extra sugar. Try this homemade ketchup recipe from The Pioneer Woman and rediscover what ketchup should taste like!

With a little ingenuity and some fresh ingredients, now when people ask, “is BBQ healthy,” you can say yes!

Earth-Conscious Plating:

Ditch the paper plates! Minware’s Sandwich Plate with Divider is the perfect BBQ plate for kids. It’s sturdy and shatter-proof, great for outdoor settings and the smart divider is ideal for creating a healthy plate of varying foods while keeping sauces and foods separate. A must-have for picky eaters! Durable, eco-friendly and dishwasher-safe for easy clean-up.

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