Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Food & Recipes

Font Size
A
A
A

Spice Up Your Summer BBQs and Picnics

WebMD gives you tips on how to make typical barbeque favorites go from average to amazing.

Appetizers

The beginning portion of a barbeque or picnic is a good time to introduce new foods, because people don't normally eat appetizers to fill themselves.

"If they don't eat [the appetizer], it's OK, because the main food is still coming," says Mary Murimi, RD, PhD, chair-elect of the international division of the Society for Nutrition Education.

To entice hesitant diners, Murimi suggests presenting new fare in smaller, more familiar arrangements. Instead of making a whole salad full of strange-looking provisions, for example, she recommends slicing up fruits and vegetables, and then serving them individually in a tray. Having toothpicks available can help people sample the new foods at their leisure.

Tropical fruits such as mangoes, papayas, kiwis, guavas, and pineapples make succulent starters. They are rich in vitamin C. Deep-orange fruits and vegetables are also good sources of vitamin A.

Other ideas for starters include:

  • Grilled fruits and vegetables. Corn on the cob, tomatoes, okra, lemon, zucchini, and oranges are tasty placed on the grill with a spritz of olive oil, or without anything on them. Plus, they are chock full of different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You may eat them straight off the barbeque grill, add them to salads or seafood, or make kabobs with them.
  • Raw or grilled peppers. Although vitamin C- and A-rich peppers are in the vegetable family, so many varieties exist that they deserve their own listing. There are sweet peppers like the green, red, orange, and yellow bell peppers. Chili peppers include the jalapeno, habanero, poblano, and serrano. Chop up sweet peppers, and eat them raw. Or dip in nonfat yogurt for a dose of calcium. Chili peppers on the grill tend to burst with flavor. Eat straight off the grill, or add to salads, seafood, and meats.
  • Stir-fried tofu. This low-calorie Asian bean curd is an excellent source of protein and iron. Since it has little taste on its own, tofu can be mixed in raw or stir-fried with other ingredients such as vegetables, fruits, soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce, and oils, and take on different flavors. Make sure to use sauces low in sodium, and oils low in saturated fat.

Sides and Sauces

Can't forgo your steak, burgers, and hotdogs? No problem. Serve sides and sauces with your traditional picnic and barbeque fare to prevent culture shock.

Many exotic dips and accompaniments are available in regular stores, from salsas, to curries, to rice and breads. Just make sure you choose products that are low in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Opt for more nutrient-rich items, such as whole-grain brown rice instead of white rice.

To ensure your selection is a healthy one, you can even make it yourself. Various health-conscious recipes of foreign fare can be accessed on the Internet and in local bookstores.

Today on WebMD

fresh smoothie
Recipes
breakfast
Recipes
 
grilled chicken salad
Recipes
Butternut squash soup
Tool
 

WebMD Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.



bread
Recipes
soup
Recipes
 
roasted chicken
Recipes
variety of beans
Recipes
 
vegetarian sandwich
Recipes
fresh vegetables
Recipes
 
smoothie
fitArticle
Foods To Boost Mens Heath Slideshow
Slideshow
 

WebMD Special Sections