These classic grilling dishes get a recipe makeover with Cooking Light Diet approved tasty alternatives.


It's no secret: we love grilling. When the sun comes out, there's nothing better than biting into juicy burgers and sipping on cold beers poolside. But with backyard barbecue season comes difficulty sticking to your healthy eating plan, and the calories can suddenly pack on. 

Consider swapping out some fan favorites and serving Cooking Light Diet menu options at your next barbecue. Imagine a menu filled with grilled pork, corn on the cob with feta, and potato salad made with creamy miso. Your guests will be so impressed with the dishes, they won't even notice the menu change. 

We pulled together our top healthy recipes that allow you to enjoy your favorite foods, without tossing your progress. 

Credit: Photo: Victor Protasio

Sweet BBQ Drumsticks

Traditional barbecue chicken gets a makeover with this delicious drumstick sauce. Mix hoisin sauce, orange juice, honey, lime, and garlic for a lower calorie chicken glaze you'll use year after year. 

Tennessee Burger With Bourbon and BBQ Sauce

Cooking your BBQ sauce with bourbon and bacon grease may seem less than diet conscious, but the Cooking Light Diet lets you live a little.  

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey

Mushroom-Potato Salad With Miso “Mayo”

Simulate a hearty potato salad with meaty mushrooms and a rich miso and Greek yogurt dressing. You'll never go back to the old stuff. 

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey

Caribbean Grilled Pork Tenderloin With Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Grilling pineapple brings out a sugary sweetness in the fruit and flavoring the pork with Caribbean spice rub keeps the calories lower than smothering in a sugary sauce. 

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey

Pesto Pasta Salad With Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Replace mayo in this pasta salad with fresh, flavorful pesto. Guests will get so lost in the herbs and cheese, they won't know it's lightened. 

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Barbecued Lime Shrimp and Corn

The Asian style flavors of this shrimp dish will add some variety to your backyard barbecue. Simply wrap in foil, and toss on the grill for an easy, coastal entree. 

Sheboygan Bratwurst

Cooking your sausage in beer? It can't get more American than that. Substitute the average hot dog for a healthier alternative; bratwurst. The lower sodium and less processed meat makes this a win-win for frank lovers. 

View Recipe: Sheboygan Bratwurst

Grilled Bean and Cheese Stuffed Poblano Peppers  

Mix up your vegetarian options with this fiery stuffed poblano. The charred peppers add a subtle spice, while the meaty beans and cheese give body to the dish that even carnivores will love. 

Credit: Photo: John Autry

Barbecue Pulled Chicken Sliders

Swap out heavy, premade sauces for the full flavor of chili powder, brown sugar, and a collection of spices. Your guests will ask what your dirty little secret is; it's up to you if you want to share it. 

Credit: Oxmoor House

Grilled Pork Sliders With Honey BBQ Sauce

Elevate your classic BBQ sauce with a rum and honey mixture that tastes far from diet food. Pork didn't know what it was missing. 

Credit: Photo: Johnny Miller

Corn on the Cob With Feta and Mint Butter

Trade butter soaked corn for this delicious, healthier version. The recipe calls for only one tablespoon of butter, but still packs on full flavor with creamy feta and mint. 

Credit: Photo: Randy Mayor

Grilled Veggie Salad

Change up your old school grilled veggies with fresh thyme, Dijon mustard, pine nuts, and a sprinkle of Manchego cheese. You won't have to convince anyone to fill their plate with these goodies. 

Credit: Photo: Jason Wallis

Black Bean Burgers With Sriracha Aioli

It's time to switch from using frozen veggie burgers to making your own fresh version. Simply mix black beans with veggies and spices, shape the patties, and spread on the sriracha aioli. Yum! 

Credit: Photo: Johnny Autry

Southwest Turkey Burger

Turkey burgers are a fantastic alternative to the real deal. Turkey breast keeps the dish light, but poblano peppers, chili powder, and cumin bring major flavor to the table.

Cowboy Beans

Switch out store bought baked beans for this speedy, homemade version. Making your own sauce allows you to control the ingredients, so you get flavor without all the extra sugar, salt, and calories.

The Cooking Light Diet makes every holiday a breeze. For more, head to the Facebook community group, or learn more at