Build a Better Barbecue This Summer

By Sarah-Jane Bedwell, RD, LDN, Welch’s Health & Nutrition Advisory Panel Member

First Memorial Day, then Fourth of July – it’s fair to say that summer grilling season is now officially in full swing. Whether you’re grilling for a crowd or attending a neighborhood potluck, beware of unhealthy barbecue traps. The good news is that BBQs don’t have to be bad news for your waistline. In fact, it’s easier than you might think to build a better barbecue meal using heart-healthy ingredients like lean proteins, whole grains and all forms of veggies and fruit, including 100% grape juice made with Concord grapes. Thanks to the Concord grape, nearly 20 years of research shows that drinking 100% grape juice can help support a healthy heart! But you don’t just have to drink it; each of these cookout-ready recipes is made with grape juice, adding natural sweetness, flavor and a nutrition punch to each dish.

Chicken and Grape Kebabs with Thyme: Kebabs are a grilling favorite, and these are made with lean chicken, fresh grapes, grape juice and herbs to create a combination of healthy, crave-worthy, sweet-and-savory flavors that the whole family will enjoy!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad: For a healthy yet hearty side, try this salad created by fellow Registered Dietitian and Welch’s Health & Nutrition Panel Member, Robin Plotkin. Enjoying this dish is a great way to love your ticker because you will be getting fiber from the quinoa, polyphenols from the 100% grape juice and omega-3 fats from the walnuts. Plus, who can resist the classic Mediterranean flavors of grapes, feta cheese and olives!

Chunky Grape Salsa: What would a cookout be without a dip? While many dips are loaded with fat, this salsa is loaded with fresh flavors and nutrition from fruits, veggies and herbs! The combination of grapes and grape juice with oranges, peppers and cilantro is a match made in heaven! 

Peanut Butter, Grape and Chocolate Snack Bites: Who doesn’t love a PB&J or chocolate? All those flavors are literally rolled into one in these little balls of goodness. Not only will they satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth, they are a dessert that you can feel good about too. They are sweetened naturally with 100% grape juice, which has no added sugar, as well as a little honey. The rest of the ingredients are nutritious too, including oats, flaxseed, peanut butter and dark chocolate! The best part is that you can stay cool in this summer heat as you make them, because no oven is required!

Grapeade: Did you know that 100% grape juice made with Concord grapes delivers many of the same healthy polyphenols found in red wine? These plant nutrients not only give the wine and juice their deep purple color; they also deliver health benefits. So why not serve this refreshing beverage made with 100% grape juice, seltzer and lemon that the whole family can enjoy!

Now you are ready to build a better barbecue with these flavorful, easy and heart-healthy recipes.