Diet-proof Backyard BBQ tips & yummy recipes

Yep, 2015 is already half-way over. Summer is in full swing, sizzling temperatures are heating up cities everywhere and BBQ season is finally here! Americans love to celebrate with food, especially holidays. With the 4th of July fast approaching, you may be concerned with blowing your hard work and flat bellied determination all in the course of one mouth-watering yummy Independence Day cookout. AAAH!

Have no fear, you need not dread the much anticipated eating festivities if you are armed with the proper tools and some seriously scrumptious and totally guilt-free, trim-tummy conscious recipes, you will not only blow the socks off your BBQ attendees but eat like a queen at no expense to your waistband.

What to avoid:

  1. Pasta/potato salad – Usually totally loaded with Mayo, very little vegetables and high in carbs and fat, try to steer clear of this nutrition void side dish.
  2. Chips/Crackers – Do I really need to explain why these are no-nos?
  3. Hot Dogs/Hamburgers – Most people when cooking for a crowd, don’t go with quality meats as they tend to be much more expensive. I suggest steering clear of cheap cuts like hot dogs and if you absolutely must, go with the burger SANS cheese and bun.
  4. Dessert table – Its ok to splurge every now and then but a social event with lots of sugary snacks in front of your hungry little face can be a total diet-assassin. Almost ALWAYS, “dessert” foods are totally processed, loaded with sugar, fat and carbs and mind-blowingly calorie rich. If you must snack and need sugar, find fruit!

If you are attending a BBQ celebration versus hosting or cooking at your own, it’s not totally silly to eat a light meal before you go. In fact it may be genius. If you’re not starving, it will be much easier to control your cravings and appetite.

If you’re cooking here are some great ideas for what to serve to your hungry little guests:


No marinade, spice rubbed Baby Back Ribs

1 rack of baby back ribs

1/3 c. your favorite low sugar bbq sauce

For the rub

2tb paprika

2 tb Splenda brown sugar blend or 1tb honey

1tsp cumin

1tsp chili powder

1tsp chipotle chili powder

1tsp garlic powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp dried thyme

Prepare gas grill to medium high heat. Meanwhile, mix all dry-rub ingredients together in a bowl. Rinse ribs and pat dry with paper-towels. Place on large work surface like a cookie sheet. With ribs still whole (not yet sliced) pat dry-rub spice mixture into both sides of meat.

Cook ribs fatty side down on heated grill for 15minutes to sear initially. Flip and baste fatty side with light coating of bbq sauce. Cook for 15 minutes longer and flip and repeat coating bone side with bbq sauce. Cook an additional 5 minutes and repeat process, cooking for 5 minutes more for a total of 40 minutes.

To slice, turn COOLED ribs onto fatty side and use serrated knife to cut between bones. Follow the bone line, leaving meat between cuts. Plate and serve.


Spicy Chicken Burgers

1LB ground chicken or turkey

1 egg

½ c. panko bread crumbs

1 jalepeno, seeded

½ c. minced red onion

¼ c. chopped cilantro

½ c. minced red bell pepper

1 tsp salt

1tsp pepper

½ tsp chili powder

4 slices light pepperjack cheese

Thin Whole wheat bagel buns or butter lettuce for wrapping depending on your carb requirements

Prepare gas grill to medium high heat. Meanwhile, combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl but be careful not to overmix as this will make for a doughy consistency.

Form 4 large patties by rolling into a ball and flattening into your palm with your other hand. The thicker the patty, the longer they will take to cook. Flip once after 10 minutes and top each patty with a slice of cheese. Cook approximately 15-25 minutes until no longer pink inside and cheese is melted.


Skinny protein-infused Greek style ambrosia salad

1 c. fresh red seedless grapes

1 14oz can cubed pineapple in water or pineapple juice

1 14 oz can mandarin oranges

1 c. light plain or vanilla greek yogurt (I use chobani)

½ c. shredded unsweetened coconut flakes

1tsp. vanilla extract

15 marshmallows

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder

Drain fruit by dumping cans into a strainer. Get as much moisture out as possible. Use papertowels to assist if needed.

In a separate large bowl, combine greek yogurt, vanilla protein powder, vanilla extract and coconut and stir to mix completely.

Add in grapes, drained fruit and marshmallows. Mix until all fruit is covered with yogurt mixture. Serve.


Lets be honest, we all know boozing is inevitable at bbq functions. Why not offer up something totally unique to your guests that’s also diet-conscious? Read on for some simple but yummy ideas.


Spicy Watermelon Cooler

1 large fresh watermelon, juiced

2 lemons juiced

1 jalapeno seeded and sliced thin, plus ½ jalapeno sliced thin for garnish

½ bottle skinny girl vodka

Salt for rim

Combine all ingredients in large jug. Refrigerate to let flavors melt together. When serving, pour over ice in a glass with salted rim. Top with one jalapeno slice.


Gin + Ginger + Cucumber cooler

1 english cucumber, sliced thin with rind intact

2 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced

4 cans Ginger beer – don’t go for ginger-ale, it’s much less gingery flavored and you need the stand out flavors of true ginger beer here

1/2 bottle Hendricks Gin

2 limes or 2 oz rose’s lime syrup

4 Oz St. Germaine Elderflower Liquor

In a large pitcher, combine cucumber slices, minced ginger, lime, gin and elderflower liquor. Let it rest in the refrigerator up to 48 hours prior to festivities. To serve, pour 1 parts alcohol mixture to 2 parts fresh ginger beer, over ice and serve immediately.


                  So the moral of the story is PREPARATION. If you can’t control what is served, eat first or bring healthy things along with you. BBQ’s are meant to be enjoyed with friends and family, so go on and enjoy.



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