A healthy diet for summer involves changing up what you eat at the backyard barbeque. Barbequing traditionally means meat seared on a hot grill and finished off with a tasty barbeque sauce. 

A Healthy Diet Does Not Include Store Bought BBQ Sauces

A healthy diet can easily be undermined during summer barbeque season.   Generally barbeque sauces are full of sugar and many empty calories.

Bottled sauces and marinades are often made up of a combination of vinegar, seasonings and sweeteners. Barbecue sauce usually contains a tomato base mixed with various spices and sweeteners like sugar and molasses. Unlike many other condiments that are well-suited to accompany fried and other high-fat foods, barbecue sauce is often used for grilled meats and veggies.

Just like other sweet and salty condiments, there’s a lot of added sugar and salt to reckon with in bottled barbecue sauce. These added ingredients can jack up the calorie and sodium count faster than you can say, “Pass me a chicken wing!”

Popular sauces average anywhere from 45 to 70 calories for a two-tablespoon serving. You’ll also find a hefty amount of sugar, about 12 to 17 grams per serving. They are also loaded with sodium. Typically containing 200 to 350 milligrams of sodium per serving, which amounts to about 14 percent of your daily allotment.

Added sugar is never a healthy option and some brands use even more highly processed ingredients, like high-fructose corn syrup. They also may contain caramel coloring and preservatives like potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate.

In summary, bottled barbecue sauce is far from healthy, but it is easy to make a more healthful version. Try this recipe and stick to a healthy diet during the summer.

Smoky Tomato Barbecue Sauce

Cans of smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be found at Latin American grocery stores and many supermarkets. You can add more or less chipotle depending upon how hot you like your barbecue. The amount of chipotle used here makes a moderately hot sauce.

Ingredients (Makes 1½ cups)

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, such as olive or canola oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1¾ cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 1½ teaspoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon


1. In a medium nonstick saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes, chipotle, honey, coriander, cumin, salt and cinnamon, and bring to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until thick, about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature and store the sauce in the refrigerator.

Nutrition (Per ¼ cup)

37 calories

1.7g total fat

1g dietary fiber

5.6g carbohydrate

0.8g protein

Click here for a healthy diet barbeque sauce.