18 Genius Ideas to Make Your Labor Day BBQ Diet-Friendly

Bring one (or a few!) of these dishes to your Labor Day get-together to enjoy the celebrations while staying on track with your eating!

Ah, Labor Day. This celebration of America's workers means so many things…friends, family, warm weather, time off work, and (of course) lots of irresistible treats, from hot-off-the-grill burgers to fresh-from-the-blender margaritas.

Fortunately, enjoying delicious food with friends in great weather doesn’t have to mean derailing your diet. In fact, with all the fresh produce in season and the outdoor grilling going on, it's relatively easy to health-ify summer food. To help you out, we rounded up some of our favorite healthy BBQ tips (including some maybe-not-so-healthy favorites from our own DietBet Referees). So celebrate summer party season in deliciously diet-friendly style by incorporating some of these healthy recipes into your Labor Day festivities:

Grilled Kale Salad with Berries and Nectarines  

When you think of things to throw on the grill, leafy greens may not immediately spring to mind. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great idea! This grilled kale salad adds a smoky flavor to this superfood, while fresh summer fruits give it a refreshing kick of sweetness.

"Not much excitement here but man it is delicious! Grilled asparagus is one of my favorite BBQ staples. This is my favorite recipe. Follow it once and you’ll be an old pro. So easy!" -Kim, DietBet Referee

Caprese Pasta Salad  

Sure, Labor Day is an American holiday, but that doesn’t mean we can’t add some Italian flair. This simple side uses fresh herbs and the healthy fats in olive oil to create a subtly savory flavor. 

"I love to BBQ lamb chops. Perhaps not the healthiest meat, but I can't get enough. On a healthy note I do love to grill zucchini and portobello mushrooms." -Karyn, DietBet Referee

Grilled Cilantro Lime Sweet Potatoes

Rather than grabbing a handful of chips, whip up a batch of these crowd-pleasing tubers. This side-dish is so delicious and comforting nobody will even suspect it’s packed with metabolism-boosting cayenne and fiber-filled sweet potatoes.

"I love shredded chicken BBQ. With all of the brown sugar and BBQ sauce, it's probably not all that healthy, but the chicken is better for you than beef or pork!" -Ashley, DietBet Referee

Grilled Pesto Shrimp Skewers

This light, high-protein main packs some serious flavor—and you can eat it with one hand, which is a major BBQ plus. 

"You throw anything on the grill and I'm game but I especially love grilled corn on the cob. You can do a little bit of salt and pepper and just a drizzle of EVOO and you are all set! The grill just brings out all the inherent sweetness of the corn. If you want to get a little crazy, make it Mexican Corn and throw on a little bit of Cotija or Parmesan cheese. Yum!" -Jenn D., DietBet Referee

Pork Lettuce Wraps  

Living the low-carb life? These lettuce-wrapped tacos get a kick from ginger, while the pork makes them hearty enough to keep you full.

"I LOVE grilling burgers. Nothing beats burgers and beer on a summer day! Instead of beef, I like grilling bison instead. I have to be careful because it cooks fast and I love rare, but it is so delicious! Top it with some Maker's Mark Sauce, cheddar, mushrooms and onions... to die for!" Alexis, DietBet Assistant Referee Manager

"Nothing in this world beats a Top Sirloin steak on the grill! No sauces or rubs....just plain Top Sirloin steak and a tablespoon of Heinz ketchup to give it a little more zip! Nothing better!! A cold beer to wash it down with doesn't hurt once in awhile, too!" -Jeff, DietBet Referee

Grilled Watermelon with Smoked Salt and Jalapeno Rings

If the totally unique description in the name doesn’t intrigue you, perhaps you’ll be won over by the fact that it’s four ingredients, takes under 10 minutes, and is virtually calorie-free.

Grilled Pineapple

Speaking of grilled fruit, it doesn’t get easier—or more summery—than grilled pineapple. This recipe has a spicy-sweet taste, and is packed with fiber and vitamin C.

Curry Grilled Zucchini Rollups

Got a vegetarian on the invite list? This colorful plant-based main is the perfect option to serve alongside whatever meat you’re grilling up.

"One of my favorite go to Meatless BBQ meals is a Tofu Banh Mi. Marinate some tofu steaks in some sesame soy marinade, grill them up top with some spicy vegan mayo, pickled veggies and enjoy! It is cool and refreshing which is perfect on a hot summer day." -Jen Z., Head Referee Manager

Raw Coconut Cream Pie with Dark Chocolate Crust

We’d be remiss if we didn’t offer a few dessert options here! This sweet treat feels rich and decadent, but it’s also totally raw, vegan, and waistline-friendly.

Raspberry Ice 

It doesn’t get much easier than this fruit-based dessert. Tangy, sweet, and perfect on a hot summer day, everyone will come back for seconds of this.

Matcha Cucumber Lemonade

Of course you’ll need something refreshing to wash all these goodies down with! This summery sipper gets its punch from matcha, the antioxidant-filled Japanese green tea, while mint, cucumber, and agave make it go down easy.

Make it WayBetter

When you don't have time to make a whole recipe, don't forget about the simple, ready-to-eat treats Mother Nature gives us! Fresh fruit and veggies are always delicious, and usually provide a nice contrast with the richer dishes on the table.