Second Nature logo



How to have a healthy barbecue

Megan Widdows
Written by

Megan Widdows

Medically reviewed by

Fiona Moncrieff

3 min read
Last updated July 2024

It’s almost time to dust off our barbecues and enjoy cooking outside with friends and family in the warmer weather. 

We all know that eating is often a social occasion, and there’s no reason to miss out for the sake of your health journey. It’s perfectly ok to want to indulge for special occasions. The important thing is that this isn’t a frequent indulgence, and you focus on finding the motivation to get back to your healthy habits afterwards. 

However, if you’re looking for ways to have a healthy barbecue, this guide is for you. We’ve got lots of healthy barbecue ideas to help you enjoy yourself whilst sticking to your lower-carb lifestyle. 

Evidence suggests that a lower carbohydrate diet is the most effective method to improve our health and lose weight. But a lower-carb barbecue doesn’t have to taste boring! Vegetarian recipes are marked with a (v). 

Check my eligibility


These simple, easy, but delicious chicken skewers are packed with protein from the chicken plus plenty of fruit and vegetables both on the skewers and in the side salad. You could make these vegetarian by swapping out the chicken for halloumi (v). 

A photo of a lamb burger on a bed of mixed salad

These homemade burgers are a perfect option for your barbecues! Packed with flavour and protein these burgers are perfect without the bun and go great with hummus or tzatziki. 

bbq pulled pork inside bread buns with red cabbage coleslaw on a wooden platter

This recipe takes a little longer to cook so might be best prepared in the oven before your barbecue, but will definitely be worth the wait! Choose to enjoy this option without the bun to keep it lower-carb and instead enjoy some of our delicious salads. 

two tandoori chicken drumsticks with a kachumber salad and tzatziki

This bright, colourful, and healthy dish will get your taste buds tingling. A balanced dish with protein and plenty of vegetables, but not missing out on any flavour. 


Salads and Sides

A selection of salads are always a popular choice, especially in hot weather, and definitely don’t have to be boring. They’re a great way to bulk out your barbecue meal without refined carbohydrates and help to boost your intake of fruit and vegetables. Some of our favourites include:

Two bowls of quinoa and vegetable salad topped with slices of halloumi 

This hearty salad is packed full of fibre and protein, helping to keep you full for longer. 

A large bowl of Greek salad with feta, olives, cucumber

This cheesy salad is a classic for a reason. The feta provides protein while all the vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals. 

A chicken salad with lettuce, croutons and a coronation dressing

This new take on a Caesar salad aims to use up any leftovers you have in the kitchen, resulting in a delicious healthy salad. 

  • A selection of homemade dips with chopped vegetables or lower-carb seed crackers

A bowl of pink beetroot hummus with vegetable crudities in the background

A bowl of Baba Ghanoush with a herb garnish and vegetable crudities

A bowl of green blended dip - cannellini bean guacamole


If you or your guests fancy something sweet to end on, there are plenty of lower-carb options to help you stick to your healthy lifestyle including our apple tart

A photo of an apple tart with sliced apples on top. One slice is missing.

This is a delicious lower-carb take on a family favourite. The recipe uses ground almonds and coconut flour instead of wheat flour to keep carbs low. 

Another option would be a fruit salad. Opt for fruits that are lower in carbohydrates such as berries. 


Check my eligibility
Meal Plan

Download our free, indulgent 7-day meal plan

It includes expert advice from our team of registered dietitians to make losing weight feel easier. Subscribe to our newsletter to get access today.

I've read and agreed to the Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.

You might also like

Make losing weight feel Second Nature

The first step on your Second Nature journey is to take our health quiz.

Hand holding phone

Write a response


12 September, 2021

I have lost 3 stone in my own way but now I have plateaued out but wish to lose another 1.5 stone.


20 September, 2021

Hi Howard,

Thanks for your comment! Our programme will provide you with the tools to push past your weight loss plateau and continue toward your goal.

If you’d like to learn more about our programme, you can take our health quiz here, or email with any questions 🙂

As seen on

The GuardianThe TimesChannel 4The Sunday Telegraph
Evening Standard