It’s summer. Fresh local produce is all around and we are taking time off work to enjoy the season with friends and family at the cottage, at provincial parks, and in one another backyards for BBQs. I often here clients say that they went to a BBQ on the weekend and they struggled to make the best food choices. If you are going to a BBQ this coming long weekend (or at any other time), my top 5 tips to consider may change that for you.

1. Potato salad is not a real salad – to me, salad is mainly vegetables and can have other foods added in, such as seeds, nuts, cheese, beans, or lentils. This also means macaroni salad is not a salad. Neither potato salad or macaroni salad will give you half a plate of vegetables. They are both delicious and fine to eat, but having some real vegetable salad or my favourite, grilled vegetables, is also a must. Check out this Pizza Party Salad recipe for your next BBQ – its like eating a pizza as a salad!

2. Be cautious with condiments – Ketchup has a fair amount of sugar added. Mustard and pickles are high in sodium. Think outside the box for your burger toppings or use small amounts of your favourites. I love avocado, hot chili flakes, lettuce and tomato.


3. Mix meat with plant protein – With the popularity of the Beyond burger, I am constantly being asked if these plant based burgers are better than beef. While some veggie burgers do have a better nutrition facts panel, the Beyond burger does not. And then there is the cost….So why not make your own burgers and use half meat, half plant protein. This can be a good transition for anyone who wants meat and is also interested in other protein sources. Check out this recipe for Turkey and Lentil burgers. And of course, have a veggie burger or homemade lentil or bean burger if you do not eat meat.

4. Hydrate with water – This tip applies to all year round, not just your summer BBQ, though it is very important to stay hydrated when spending time out in the heat. Not a fan of plain water? Try infusing it with slices of lemon, lime or orange. Strawberries or fresh herbs are nice too!

5. Enjoy yourself! – Summer does not last forever. Have fun, enjoy your food. Have dessert. Play with the kids. You will regret it in the winter if you don’t!