Meal, Planned: Recipe Ideas for a Healthy Memorial Day Barbecue

Memorial Day means summer, and summer means grilling. From entrees to sides to cocktails, here are 14 healthy recipes to make your Memorial Day bash one for the history books..

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, ya’ll. If you haven’t fired up the grill yet this spring, the time is now. These recipes use seasonal, low-cal produce to add color and flavor to each dish. And don’t forget to save room for dessert—cocktails, too!

Main Dish

Mojito-Rubbed Chicken with Grilled Pineapple
via Good Housekeeping

A dish sounds and tastes like summer? Yes, please. It’s versatile, too—sub in pineapple juice in place of the oil to reduce fat, or add rum to the marinade for a tropical twist. Best of all, it takes only 30 minutes to prepare!

Black Bean–Corn Burger
via Self

Perfect for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, this burger is packed with 12 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein to keep you feeling full.

Pork and Mango Skewers
via Yum Sugar

It’s not a barbecue without something on a skewer, right? These kebabs strike the perfect balance between sweet and savory. The mango can be substituted for pineapple, peaches, or any other fruit your summer-loving heart desires.

Barbecue Ribs
via Sunset magazine

Ask the butcher to trim extra fat off the ribs, or do it yourself at home. Rubbing in the spice mixture of cumin and chili powder the night before cooking creates jam-packed flavor.

Inside-Out Cheeseburgers
via Eating Well

A burger with less than 300 calories? I’m in! No buns needed when the cheese is on the inside of the patty. Although the recipe calls for cheddar and gruyere, you can use your favorites; any mixture of semi-hard cheeses will work.


Grilled Sweet Potato Fries
via Food Network

This healthy twist on the traditional French fry is an insta-crowd pleaser. Check out Bobby Flay’s step-by-step video to see how it’s done. Add as much (or as little) spice as you like.

Mango Salsa
via Food Network

The only thing better than fresh salsa is mango salsa. This simple recipe takes just five minutes to put together. Serve alongside grilled chicken or the pork-mango kebabs. Add black beans for some extra bulk.

Spicy-Sweet Slaw
via Health magazine

This low-cal, low-fat riff on classic coleslaw uses olive oil instead of mayo for healthy unsaturated fats.

Bell Pepper, Tomato, Cucumber, and Grilled Bread Salad
via Cooking Light

A colorful combo of seasonal veggies. Mix in some grilled chicken and make it a meal.


Fresh Grape Crush
via Yum Sugar

This fizzy cocktail is made from real red grapes and freshly squeezed lemon juice and comes in at under 200 calories. Bonus: It packs a powerful dose of vitamin C, too.

Made-Over Piña Coladas
via Cooking Light

With just 1/3 the calories  and less than 10 percent of the fat in the traditional version, this guilt-free cocktail uses healthy ingredients without sacrificing an ounce of flavor. Use a ripe pineapple for a more concentrated sweetness.

Peach Lemonade
via Cooking Light

Round out your average lemonade by adding the sweetness of peaches—along with some white rum or bourbon for the adults.


Grilled Peach Sundaes
via Eating Well

This dessert is low-cal and gluten free. Peeling the peaches before grilling creates a treat like pie filling that goes great with your favorite fro-yo or ice cream.

Grilled Angel Food Cake with Strawberries in Balsamic
via Good Housekeeping

Take store-bought angel food cake to the next level by throwing it on the grill, and add the sophisticated strawberries for a unique twist. This 150 calorie dish takes only 15 minutes to prepare.

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