Healthy Family BBQ: 10 Tips for Getting Kids to Try New Foods and Stay Involved

This summer, take your family BBQ to the next level by incorporating healthy eating habits and getting your kids excited about trying new foods. A BBQ is a perfect opportunity to enjoy delicious and nutritious meals while spending quality time together. To help you create a memorable and health-conscious family BBQ, we’ve compiled a list of top tips that focus on introducing new flavours, encouraging kids’ involvement, and making healthy choices.

  1. Plan a Colourful Menu:

   – Incorporate a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables into your BBQ menu. Include options like cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, watermelon wedges, and berries.

   – Offer veggie skewers, grilled corn on the cob, or mixed fruit salads. The vibrant colours will attract your kids’ attention and make the food more appealing.

   – Experiment with different marinades and seasonings to enhance flavours. Let your kids help choose the seasonings to make them feel involved.

2. Create a Build-Your-Own Burger Bar:

   – Set up a station with lean meat and veggie burger options. Provide whole wheat buns or lettuce wraps as healthier alternatives.

   – Offer an array of toppings like lettuce, tomato, avocado slices, grilled onions, cheese, and pickles. Encourage your kids to choose their favourite toppings and create their own healthy burger masterpieces.

   – Provide condiments like low-salt ketchup, mustard, or Greek yogurt-based sauces to add flavour without excess calories.


3. Grill a Rainbow of Vegetables:

   – Grill a medley of vegetables like courgette, bell peppers, mushrooms, aubergine, and asparagus. Slice them into kid-friendly sizes for easier eating.

   – Season them with herbs and spices for added flavour. Consider options like garlic powder, paprika, or a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

   – Let your kids help with tossing the veggies on the grill or choosing their favourites. This involvement will make them more likely to try the grilled vegetables.


4. Offer Healthy Snack Alternatives:

   – Include nutritious appetizers like homemade vegetable skewers with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and pepper slices.

   – Serve whole-grain pita chips with a side of hummus or a light Greek yogurt-based dip as a healthier alternative to high-calorie options.

   – Prepare a platter of raw nuts, such as almonds or walnuts, for a protein-packed snack option.

5. Get Kids Involved in Meal Preparation:

   – Assign age-appropriate tasks to your kids to make them feel involved and responsible. For example, they can wash vegetables, tear lettuce leaves, or mix marinades.

   – Let your kids assemble their own kebabs by choosing their favourite vegetables and protein options. This hands-on approach will make them more likely to try the final product.

   – Allow them to set up the table, arrange napkins, or decorate the BBQ area. This involvement will increase their excitement and sense of ownership.

6. Serve Refreshing, Fruit-Infused Water:

   – Make staying hydrated fun by infusing water with sliced fruits like citrus, berries, or cucumber. Use colourful pitchers or mason jars with colourful straws for added appeal.

   – Experiment with different fruit combinations to create enticing flavours. For example, try lemon and strawberry or orange and mint.

   – Allow your kids to help prepare the infused water by adding the fruit slices and stirring the mixture. They will enjoy the process and be more motivated to drink water.

7. Create a Salad Bar:

   – Set up a make-your-own salad station with a variety of fresh greens, toppings, and dressings. Include options like lettuce, spinach, cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, shredded carrots, and sliced bell peppers.

   – Offer a range of protein choices such as grilled chicken strips, chickpeas, or feta cheese cubes.

   – Encourage your kids to explore different combinations and create their own salads. Provide them with small salad tongs or spoons to serve themselves.

8. Host a Veggie Tasting Challenge:

   – Arrange a platter of bite-sized vegetable pieces, including ones your kids may be hesitant to try, such as broccoli, cauliflower, or snap peas.

   – Challenge your kids to try different vegetables and rate them on a fun “tasting scorecard.” Offer small prizes or stickers for their adventurous spirit and willingness to try new flavours.

   – Provide a healthy dip like Greek yogurt-based ranch dressing or hummus to make the vegetables more appealing.

9. Grill Fresh Fruit for Dessert:

   – Grill slices of pineapple, peaches, or watermelon for a healthy and flavourful dessert option. The heat caramelizes the natural sugars, making the fruit taste even sweeter.

   – Serve them with a sprinkle of cinnamon or a dollop of Greek yogurt for added richness and creaminess.

   – Involve your kids in the grilling process by letting them place the fruit slices on the grill and carefully turning them with supervision.

10. Create a Food Exploration Game:

    – Design a scavenger hunt where kids have to find and try new foods at the BBQ. Make a list of various fruits, vegetables, or healthy dishes they can explore.

    – Provide a checklist or small rewards for their successful discoveries. This game will spark their curiosity and make trying new foods a fun adventure.


By implementing these tips, you can turn your family BBQ into a healthy and exciting experience that encourages kids to try new foods and actively participate in meal preparation. Remember, creating a positive food environment and involving your kids in the process can foster a lifelong appreciation for nutritious eating habits. So, fire up the grill, explore new flavours, and make lasting memories at your next family BBQ!

Note: Adapt the tips to suit your family’s preferences and dietary needs.

Need more help with your kids’ eating habits? We’re here for you! Our expert paediatric dietitian services can provide personalised guidance and support. From weaning advice to managing picky eaters, we have the knowledge and tools to help you navigate any challenges.

Visit our website on weaning or toddlers to learn more about our services and how we can assist you in fostering healthy eating habits for your children.

Like what you’ve read in this blog?

Sign up for our newsletter to receive this as a downloadable factsheet