7 Tips for Hosting a Healthy & Sustainable BBQ This Season

7 Tips for Hosting a Healthy & Sustainable BBQ This Season

May is National Barbecue Month! With the summer season and its many celebrations like MDW and Father’s Day around the corner, we hope you're feeling inspired to get out, grill, and make the most of the warmer weather! But while we’re enjoying time spent in the backyard with our family and friends, why not make it more intentional and sustainable with these BBQ hosting tips? 

1. Make veg options available  

Today, BBQ is synonymous with meat, but we can change that! So many people now are making a concerted effort to consume less meat for humane and environmental reasons, and it doesn’t need to be any different at a barbecue. 

To take care of your vegetarian guests or provide a more “climatarian” menu, make sure there are plenty of plant-based protein options and grillables available, like vegetarian hot dogs, black bean patties, marinated portobellos, BBQ jackfruit, tofu kabobs, and more!

2. Choose better chips 

Crunchy, salty chips are a staple at any grill-out, but not all chips are created equal. Offering 6-7 grams of plant-based protein to help round out your meal, Kibo Chickpea Chips and Kibo Lentil Chips are baked (not fried), with zero gluten, artificials, dairy, or GMOs. Go ahead and get the party size in fun flavors that go great with all your summer dips, from classic Sea Salt to Spicy Ranch and Mediterranean Herbs. 

3. Lighten up your sides 

Looking for other ways to lighten up your sides? Sub in yogurt when making potato salads or homemade ranch, and consider fresh sides like cabbage slaw, grilled corn, mango salsa, or strawberry avocado greens instead of pasta salad if you want to get in some extra produce. 

4. Reuse party decorations

Rather than buying the disposable decorations at your big name liquor store, it’s always a nice touch to have a few key items you hold onto through the years. From patriotic razzle dazzle to beachy bobs, there are so many neat vintage and secondhand table cloths, centerpieces, bunting and pinwheels out there you can use to decorate for your BBQs. If you entertain regularly, it’s worth it to keep a box of treasured decorations stored at home, one for each of the four seasons. 

5. Reduce food waste  

If you’re throwing a potluck-style BBQ, keep track of who is coming and what they’re bringing using a list or spreadsheet so you don’t end up with too much of the same thing. Having a ballpark guest count will help you avoid making too much food. If you do have leftovers, send people home with excess before composting as a final resort. 

6. Big batch your drinks 

Dozens of bottled beers or canned seltzers can create a lot of waste fast. Consider offering a big-batch cocktail like a peachy summer sangria, cucumber mint mojitos, or other boozy bev that will add a fun touch to your party. To keep guests hydrated, set up pitchers of ice water instead of buckets of bottled water. 

Same goes for your frozen treats—plastic-free pops and big batch ice cream instead of individual servings will help you reduce waste overall. Juicy, fresh-cut watermelon is even better—no packaging needed. 

7. Serve with sustainable tableware

Barbecues are usually sites for styrofoam plates, paper napkins and toxic, plastic forks and cups. But nowadays there are thankfully so many sustainable alternatives to using disposable picnicware that just creates a lot of trash. 

If you’re having a small get together for family and friends, reusable options are your best bet. These include glassware and dishes, stainless steel cups, or silicone party tumblers that are perfect for hot days by the pool. Cloth napkins also add a nice, homey touch without the waste. 

If you’re having a big party, sourcing enough reusables might not be possible. But there are many compostable or biodegradable plates, napkins, cups, and flatware available these days to choose from made from bamboo, sugarcane, and more. Be sure to follow their composting guidelines as some of them might not be backyard compostable. 


As always, source your meat and produce locally, maximize your protein, compost your food waste, and have fun! A little planning ahead will go a long way towards a healthy and sustainable season of barbecue get-togethers, from Memorial Day to Labor Day and everything in between.