Summer is all about having fun in the sun. You will agree upon the fact that everything becomes a lot better during the summer season. Climate is better, food is better and every single day of the week becomes a lot better than the freezing winters.

With summer comes the joy of grilling food in the backyard barbecues that means lots of burgers, hotdogs, steaks, ribs, briskets and other scrumptious delights on the grill. If you have a pellet smoker at home and are looking to grill one of the aforementioned foods on it, then let’s just hold it right there.

Instead of consuming so many calories, which each of those aforementioned foods possesses, why don’t you switch to something healthier? You can cook healthy meals on the barbecue if you want, so why have those arteries clogging meals when you can have something healthy in order to stay fit.   

There are simple swaps that you can consider in order to lighten up your grilling dishes. I have shared a healthy summer barbecue menu with leaner proteins, which are low on sodium and calories, so having these will keep your body healthy for the entire summer.

Replace beef burger with a turkey burger and skip the bun

The juicy beef burger is always on the people’s list when it comes to backyard barbecue because it is so delicious. The addition of fresh lettuce, sour pickle, juicy tomatoes and cheese in the burger makes it even more tempting, but the overall count of calories goes to 564, which is way too much in my opinion.

Replace beef burger with a turkey burger with all other ingredients, as it will just add up to 300 calories. When compared to beef, turkey is a leaner meat, so it is lower in fat and higher in calcium. Replace the buns with collard greens, which is a high fiber vegetable that consists of antioxidants as well. You just need to grill turkey burger patty and then, place it in the wrap along with pickle, tomato, lettuce and cheddar cheese.

Replace bratwurst with turkey hot dogs

Bratwurst is a sausage that is made of pork, beef or veal. The dish has basically originated in Germany but is extremely popular in the US. It tastes great but is not good for health, so it is better to replace it with a turkey hot dog with some mustard sauce and sauerkraut.

Where a bratwurst would add up to 373 calories in your body, a turkey hot dog will be light on your body as it contains only 193 calories. Moreover, the sodium content is low too, so you are not going to feel salt-bloat in the morning that people usually feel after having barbecue food. Moreover, the sauerkraut is a great source of probiotics, thus helping you digest the food easily.

Replaces Steak with Tuna Kebabs

Grilling steaks are one of the common things that you would see in the majority of US households during summer weekends, but you don’t make the same mistake. Try tuna kebabs instead of steaks, as the former is leaner than beef and contains lesser fat. The difference between a steak and tuna kebabs can be determined from the fact that the former contains 2.5 times more calories than the latter.

Moreover, tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin K, so you are eating nutritious food. But, don’t over-consume tuna thinking it is healthy for you because the mercury level in your body may rise due to over-consumption.

Replace baby back ribs with marinated chicken

Baby back ribs may be full of juices, but it is not a healthy food, and you know it too. It is prepared with a good amount of sugary BBQ sauce, which does no good for your body. By replacing baby back ribs with marinated chicken, you will consume 300 less calories.

A plate of baby back ribs has around 700 calories, whereas a plate of grilled chicken is going to add just 320 calories, so the difference is pretty evident. But, keep in mind that the chicken is not marinated for a long duration, as that will decrease the percentage of antioxidants in the sauces. There are hundreds of BBQ chicken recipes that you can try, so just forget baby back ribs.

Don’t compromise the taste

These are some ideas to make your summer barbecues healthier, but there is one thing I want to add that by replacing the usual dishes with the ones I’ve mentioned above, you are not making any compromise with the taste. These new dishes will taste equally good, if not better, plus these ensure that you are consuming less fat and calories.

Author Bio: Monica Henin, the author of this post on how to make your summer barbecues healthier is a passionate food writer and a great cook. She has written a countless number of blogs and articles on healthy recipes and food tips, which have inspired millions of her readers all around the world. Check out the best of her work at