The weight loss blog

Better-for-you BBQ sides

August 9 2018
Esther Reynolds
By Esther Reynolds
Better-for-you BBQ sides

Barbecues are a great way to get together with family and friends and enjoy some of the best food of the season. Better yet, many grilling staples like lean meat, fish and seafood, and veggies are all Free Food with Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, called Food Optimizing. That means you can eat them until you’re satisfied—no counting, weighing or measuring.

Classic cookout sides can often be prepared with foods that would pose a risk to our weight loss, like mayonnaise and oil. With Food Optimizing as a guide, it’s easy to prepare potato salad, pasta salad, and coleslaw into dishes everyone will enjoy—and you’ll keep your weight loss on track. Ahead, all of the smart swaps and recipe inspo you need to cook(out) your way to a slimmer summer!


There’s nothing like a scoop of creamy coleslaw to accompany smoky grilled meat. Instead of mayo or buttermilk, add creaminess (and irresistible tang) with fat-free plain Greek yogurt. While it’s hard to go wrong with cabbage, additions like shredded carrots, thinly sliced collards or kale, and flavorful aromatics like onion, scallion, and fennel can take any slaw from good to great.

Potato salad

Instead of tossing boiled potatoes with mayo, opt for a lighter—and brighter—version: Mix your spuds with lemon juice or vinegar (red wine vinegar, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar all work equally well), then add finely chopped onion and celery for crunch. Pump up the flavor even more with ground mustard and fresh herbs. This perky side will complement grilled meats and fish so well, no one will even miss the mayo!

Pasta salad

Turning this potluck favorite into a healthier yet no less satisfying dish is easier than you might think. Start with cooked dried pasta—which is a Free Food with Food Optimizing—then load up on fresh veggies, like bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and corn for a summery mix. You can also add in chopped lean deli meat to make it even more filling. Then toss it all together with fat-free vinaigrette. Quick tip: After draining the pasta, rinse it well under cold water. This will halt the cooking process while removing excess starch that causes the pasta to stick together.