Our Current Healthy Obsessions: Better-For-You BBQ Favorites


Everyone on my telehealth functional medicine team can agree that BBQs and cookouts are one of the best things about summer. As soon as the weather warms up, it's time to fire up the grill for an evening spent enjoying the outdoors and good food. However, most traditional cookout recipes aren't made with the best ingredients. Instead of skipping out on our favorite foods or giving in and regretting it later, we have rounded up the best BBQ essentials my team and I have on hand so we can enjoy the summer to the fullest.


Andrea C. - Jovial Pasta

"Nostalgia definitely plays a role in some of my summer food choices, especially at family picnics or get-togethers! Growing up my grandma and mom always made a pasta salad. Now that I'm older I still look for these old summer comfort favorites and by switching out some ingredients I get the same dish while also making it healthier! I use your typical pasta salad ingredients, but switch out my pasta for this Jovial pasta and it's still a super easy and delicious side dish (or you know a plate full too!)."


Candice W. - Sound Sparkling Water

"Sound sparkling water has incredible flavor profiles and absolutely no sugar! These sparkling waters and teas are sure to elevate the drink cooler at your next BBQ.

As a mixer or standalone beverage Sound tastes like your party has it's own signature drink with flavor profiles like Grapefruit Lavender, Ginger Tea,  Blueberry Cinamon, Hibiscus Tea and Tangerine Lemongrass & Green Tea. Amazingly good!"

Emily B. - Sir Kensignton's Organic Mayo

"A cheap and healthier alternative to mayonnaise that actually tastes good (we all know "healthy alternatives" are sometimes not so yummy!) is the Sir Kensington's Classic or Avocado Oil Mayo! It's dairy free, non-GMO, made with organic humane cage-free eggs, and tastes amazing on burgers, in macaroni/potato/tuna salad, and any other mayo-infused staple at your summer BBQ!"


Emily M. - Zevia Soda

"We are a no soda household and honestly we don't miss it. However, there is just something special about a cold and bubbly soda that goes perfectly with your BBQ staples. Zevia's have become a favorite add on that everyone in our family loves and are naturally sweetened and additive free. We always have their cola soda and naturally sweetened iced teas!"


Erin F. - Wondercide Insect Repellent

"When it comes to BBQs, I'm all about them but I do not enjoy the bugs so my go bbq essential is the Wondercide bug repellent spray! I love this spray because it's powered by essential oils and oils are my favorite. It's safe for infants on up but still powerful enough to keep the insects away!"


Erin T. - Green Goddess Dressing

"Grilled romaine is a new BBQ favorite in my home! It's a fun way to enjoy leafy greens, and it's a great vehicle to try out different herbal dressings. All you do is slice a head of romaine length-wise, trim the tip if needed, "paint" on your favorite vinaigrette or dressing (I love Primal Kitchen's Caesar or Green Goddess!), add sea salt + pepper; grill cut side down for 4 minutes, flip and grill the top for another minute, then done!"

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Hollie D. - Gluten Free O'Dough's Original Hot Dog Buns

"In my opinion, summertime is not complete without roasting a hot-dog over the fire. Hot-dogs without the bun are great and all but I feel sitting around the fire, buns are a must. This is a great option if you eat gluten free and you feel the same as me about a bun."


Josh B. - AIP Friendly BBQ Sauce

"It wouldn't be a summer of grilling without barbecue sauce! Whether I'm throwing some chicken or ribs on the grill, I can't live without that classic barbecue flavor. The best part is that this sauce is AIP friendly and is still able to sate that smoky barbecue flavor that we all know and love!"


Megan R. - Epic Baked Pork Rinds

"I'm always looking for a great chip that is nutrient dense made without processed oils and added sugars. This is where Epic Baked Pork Rinds come in! I love to serve these alongside other chips at my summer barbecues. These are only seasoned with pink himalayan salt and goes great with salsa, guacamole and even buffalo chicken dip!"

Tiffany L. - Grill Skillet

"When it comes to grilling and smoking food for summer our house loves our grill skillet. We use it every time the grill is on whether it be for fish, shrimp or vegetables. It allows the skin on our fish to get crispy but saves the fish from sticking to the greats, and who doesn't love some fresh smoked fish. It even comes in handy when wanting to make shishkabobs but not having the time to skewer everything. We just drain our marinade, toss everything in the skillet and on to the grill. The Grill Skillet is a must have in our house."


Rosemary W. - Natural Bamboo Skewers

"For Summer holidays we love grilled Surf & Turf skewers! We add thin cut sirloin steak, shrimp, mushrooms, red onion, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes to wood skewers. Marinate in homemade italian dressing and pop on the grill!"


Yvette J. - Hu Chocolate

"In the summer I am a huge fan of s'mores over the fire or even toasted over the grill! But I'm not a fan of the ingredients in most conventional brands of s'mores components. I love grabbing one of Hu Kitchen's chocolate bars to use since they are free of dairy, soy, refined sugar, cane sugar, sugar alcohols, lecithins, or emulsifiers. Basically, they are one of the cleanest chocolates on the market that also taste amazing! Plus, they come in multiple flavors like hazelnut butter, vanilla crunch, and cashew butter + raspberry that are great for making s'mores even more fun!"

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Dr. Will Cole - Primal Kitchen Ketchup + Mustard

"Burgers and hot dogs are a staple in the summer and with two kids in their teenage years there are a lot of summer cookouts happening at my house. But it wasn't until I found Primal Kitchen's line of organic ketchup and mustard that I felt good about loading up my burger with condiments. Unlike most conventional brands that are filled with pounds of sugar and food dyes, Primal Kitchen is completely unsweetened with minimal ingredients without compromising on taste!"

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Dr. Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, DC, leading functional medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He received his doctorate from Southern California University of Health Sciences and post doctorate education and training in functional medicine and clinical nutrition. He specializes in clinically researching underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is the best selling author of Ketotarian and The Inflammation Spectrum.