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It’s called different things in different parts of the country.  No matter what you call it – grilling, barbeque, or cookout – cooking and eating outdoors is one of the simple pleasures of summer.  But now that you are following Bright Line Eating®, how do you navigate the potential pitfalls of this summer tradition?

Here are some of my favorite Bright Line Eating® BBQ tips:



Host a Bright Line Eating® BBQ


If you have other friends or family that follow the Bright Line Eating® lifestyle, invite them over for a “Brilliantly Bright BBQ.”  This Memorial Day we invited three other families where one or more of the spouses are following the bright lines.  We cooked hamburgers and served them on a salad with lots of other available veggies.  Everyone who came brought something that fits within the bright lines.

And, of course, there was no dessert or other NMF (not my food) options.

Keep it Easy to Weigh & Measure

If you do host a Bright Line Eating® BBQ, make sure you make it easy for guests to weigh and measure their food.  We accomplished this by serving buffet style with the food accessible from both sides.  One side was for folks who don’t use a food scale so that they could get through the line relatively quickly. On the other side we strategically placed two food scales.  This allowed two people at a time to assemble their salad.

A Clear Meal Time

And finally, there is one other key factor if you want to pull off a Brilliantly Bright BBQ – meal time.  How many holiday cookouts have you been two when food is served mid-afternoon?  As you know, a non-traditional meal time adds unnecessary complications when you stick to three meals a day.  So schedule your bright BBQ so it is clear whether your meal will be lunch or dinner.

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Traditional BBQ Tips

Now most of the time you won’t have the luxury of controlling the food environment so neatly.  That is OK.  It is just the reality we all need to navigate.  So whether you’re hosting or attending a traditional BBQ, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Don’t Make the Sauce the Boss

As you know, BBQ sauce is loaded with sugar.  So if you are lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to be the grill master, give the sauce a demotion.   Change its status from star ingredient to supporting role condiment.

You can make this more fun for your guests by serving a variety of flavored sauce options.  And of course, one of those options should be sugar free.

Another alternative to BBQ sauce is a nice BBQ rub.  Most rubs are also loaded with sugar, but you can find sugar free rubs out there.  Here is a Homemade, Sugar Free Barbecue Rub recipe from The Domestic Man.

And there are sugar free rubs you can buy like the Cajun flavored Black Magic rub from Spiceology.

Instant Pot Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is a great Bright Line Eating® BBQ option.  Two ears of corn count as one vegetable serving (see Can I eat corn on the cob while on BLE?).  And corn on the cob is a traditional BBQ food so you can fit right in with the crowd.

Here’s the tip – shuck some fresh sweet corn and prepare it in your Instant Pot.  We generally cook ours on high pressure for eight minutes.  Not only is it perfectly cooked, but the Instant Pot will keep it hot until you are ready to serve the rest of the meal.  And no more messing with a huge pot of boiling water.

I usually just add a little salt and eat the corn without adding anything else.  But you can choose to use your fat serving and add some butter as well.

Keep the Salad Simple

Summer BBQ is when salads suddenly go from healthy greens and veggies to macaroni noodles and potatoes drenched in mayo.  Ok, in all fairness, a leafy salad can be a bit more difficult to eat off of a paper plate on a windy summer day.

But don’t give up to easily.  Find some salad recipes that work well on a paper plate but still allow you to have a compliant Bright Line Eating® BBQ.

Here is an example of a delicious salad that is so quick and easy to make.

Chop up some fresh tomatoes and cucumbers into bit size pieces.  Combine three ounces of tomatoes and three ounces of cucumbers in a bowl.  Add one tablespoon of Gaucho Ranch Original Chimichurri Sauce and mix everything together.

The Gaucho Ranch Original Chimichurri is a sauce/marinade that combines lots of parsley and garlic with oil and vinegar as well as other herbs and spices.  This will add a nice pop of flavor to your tomatoes and cucumbers without any of the extra work.  And of course, is has no added sugar or artificial sweetener.

For some variation you can add some red onion to the salad or try one of the other three Gaucho Ranch Chimichurri sauces.  And, of course, you could increase the quantities if you’re making this salad for lots of guests.

For a formal recipe check out: Tomato & Cucumber Chimichurri Salad

Grab a Burger

When you’re doing the grilling, choosing a meat option that works with Bright Line Eating® is super easy.  However, when you’re not hosting the event, you have to be careful about all of the sauces and marinades that folks like to use.  And, you also need to be cautious about many of the sausages that frequently contain sugar.  So if I’m not sure what is in or on any of the meat options, I usually grab a big ‘ole burger.

Hamburgers can certainly have sugar or flour mixed in, but that is pretty rare.  Generally they are just ground beef and maybe some added spices.  Yes, they might be high in fat, but it is a BBQ after all.

And if you do grab a burger (no bun of course), slice the burger in half horizontally similar to a hamburger bun.  You can then pile in toppings in between the two slices of meat.

My mother-in-law did this recently and I thought it was brilliantly simple.  Thanks Mom!


And finally, no Bright Line Eating® BBQ would be complete without a nice beverage.  Unfortunately, other than plain water, most beverages served at a BBQ event are loaded with sugar or artificial sweetener.  So my suggestion is to always BYOBB (Bring Your Own Bright Beverage).  If you need some inspiration, check out 17 Specific Bright Line Eating® Drink Ideas.

Wishing you a happy and bright BBQ season!

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

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