No-fuss healthy sides for your next BBQ

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Posted on March 05 2020

No-fuss healthy sides for your next BBQ

Longer days and balmy nights make summer the ideal time to round up the troops and head outside for a meal. Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to get out of a hot kitchen! But although convenient, BBQs can quickly turn into a greasy pile of snags and meat, which isn’t the best thing for your family’s health. To give you a helping hand with building a balanced BBQ, here’s seven dietitian-approved sides that focus on all-important veg. The best part? They don’t involve any cooking!

Caprese salad

A salad that’s as easy as 1 – 2 – 3? Yes please! Tomato, basil and mozzarella is a winning combination that both kids and adults will love – not only does it help you towards your 5 veg a day, but provides a boost of bone-strengthening calcium, too. Finish it off with a good glug of extra virgin olive oil for a boost of disease-fighting antioxidants and heart-healthy fats.

Quick slaw

While it might taste delicious, a mayo-drenched store-bought slaw isn’t exactly a picture good nutrition. For a healthy alternative, DIY coleslaw with a pre-chopped slaw mix, grated apple and plain Greek yoghurt instead of mayo – it’ll slash the harmful saturated fat content, and save kilojoules.

Homemade hummus

A food processor and a few basic ingredients is all you need to whip up a batch of hummus – a tasty alternative to butter on rolls, or dolloped on salad. Nutrient-dense chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus, which is a good thing given they are rich in fibre, plant-based protein and slow-burning energy. Pair a drained tin of no-added-salt chickpeas with tahini, lemon, garlic and olive oil and voila – you’ll have a tasty side in seconds.

Lentil salad

Another choice for a dose of super nutritious legumes, lentil salad is packed with fibre and protein to keep hunger pangs at bay long after dinner. Simply pair a tin of no-added-salt lentils with mixed leaves, any chopped veggies you like and a sprinkle of goats cheese, then drizzle with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Yum!

Tomato salad

This one is on high rotation in my household because it’s tasty, nutritious and ready in less than five minutes. Simply halve mixed medley cherry tomatoes, finely slice a cucumber, add a handful of olives and finish it off with a sprinkle of feta. For the dressing, drizzle over olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Ta-da – your family will love it.

Wholemeal rolls

No meal is complete without a little healthy carbs, and bread rolls are the perfect solution. Opt for small rolls over jumbo white ones for a smart portion size, and choose a brown, grainy variety for a high-fibre boost of health-giving wholegrains. Oh, and skip the butter!

Prawn, mango & avo salad

Nothing says summer more than prawns and mango – toss them together with avocado, salad leaves and sweet chilli sauce and you’ve got a real crowd pleaser on your hands. The addition of avocado provides satisfying healthy fats that support heart and brain health.

And there you have it! Seven no-cook BBQ sides that get this dietitian’s tick of approval. Which one will you be making this weekend?

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can connect with her at or on Instagram @honest_nutrition.

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