Marc and I were invited to a BBQ last weekend at the home of a friend of my stepson, Kuba. Imagine my delight when we were welcomed with a beautiful spread of delicious salads (mixed greens, potato, and fruit), fresh olives and hummus, organic sausages, and a large pitcher of filtered water filled with fresh berries, mint, and a hint of lemon.

Though there was also the usual fare of burgers and buns, missing was the tired bins of gloppy potato salad and coleslaw that contain more mayo than veggies, endless bowls of potato chips and/or Doritos, or liters of soda.

How refreshing!

As I was relaying my experience with Stephanie, we decided it would be a great topic to share with you.

With a few simple tweaks, you too can turn your next BBQ into something guru-friendly by using some of the following tips. Even just replacing ONE dish with an upgraded version is a great way to get started! As we always say, one step at a time . . .

And what about when you are going to a BBQ?  If you are not sure whether the fare will be healthy or not, we always suggest offering to bring a dish that you know is safe to eat . . . just in case.

Check out our 8 suggestions below.  Let us know about your BBQ – did you have your own using one of our tips or bring something healthy to another BBQ – post in the comments below.

By the way, notice that 7 of our tips are vegetarian. Try to let go of the mindset that a BBQ is all about the meat.  Keep in mind you want to have the veggie dishes flowing. They should never take a back seat to animal protein, so let them SHINE!

Appetizers: Put out some fresh olives from your supermarket olive bar, a bowl of fresh hummus (store bought or homemade), cut up array of colorful veggies, guacamole or cashew dip.

Potato salad: Instead of piling on the mayo, use either an olive oil/mustard base (4 Tbs oil to 2 Tbs mustard) to adorn your tots, or use ripe avocado for a creamy addition (see recipe HERE).

Coleslaw: A simple vinaigrette can take the place of mayo. Don’t want the hassle of shredding your own cabbage? Buy pre-shredded cabbage found in any supermarket and add your own dressing. You can also try our Thai Coleslaw recipe HERE.

Mixed greens: Break out of your lettuce, carrot, cucumber rut (and bottled dressing) and whip up a Mediterranean salad with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. See the recipe HERE that I made the other day (extremely easy with pre-washed greens) for a family gathering. It was gobbled up in minutes with seriously rave reviews.

Grilled veggies: Nothing beats grilled eggplant, onions and zucchini. Simply slice lengthwise, brush with olive oil (and a little salt and pepper), and grill them up along with your fish, chicken or meat.  Also fun is to throw veggies on skewers, such as chunks of colored peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and onions.

Fresh corn: Go for organic to avoid the GMOs. Local sweet corn can be so tasty you may not need any butter or salt, but if you do, opt for one of our favorite, Kerry Gold butter or ghee and use a good sea salt.  See our recipe HERE for a delicious fresh corn salad.

Organic sausage: Even supermarkets are now carrying ready-made sausages that are fabulous for BBQ’s. Try brands like Aidells or Applegate Farms.

Fruit Salad: Ok so this is a no-brainer, but with all the amazing summer fruit it’s a must-have for a summer BBQ. You can also check out some of our healthier dessert options on our recipe page.