If you’re doing a round or two of Whole30 this summer, a BBQ or potluck can be an awkward place to be! Casseroles, desserts, pasta salad and many more gluten-filled, carbolicious, tempting, sweet foods abound at get-togethers with family and friends.
First, we’ll talk about some ideas for how to safely, sanely eat at your friend’s or family’s next barbeque, and stay Whole30 compliant (or compliant to any other way you’re eating). This will also be helpful for potlucks and other meals you bring any kind of food to. Even though you’re on a Whole30 round, it’s still very important to have a social life. And food is often found at social gatherings.
Next, we’ll provide some yummy recipes you can use for your next BBQ or potluck. These are Whole30 compliant recipes that not only will you love, but your friends and family will love them as well!
Here are some tried and true ideas for things you can do to help you adhere to whatever type of food lifestyle you’re following if you’ve been invited to a barbeque or potluck.
- Offer to take a dish to the BBQ. I like to take side dishes, salads or desserts, because it’s generally easier to eat whatever meat is being served, and then eat the meat along with my compliant side dish (as long as the meat has been prepared with a Whole30 compliant marinade or rub).
- In addition to bringing a side dish, you might need to bring your own portion of meat, if you know it won’t be compliant. This is especially helpful if there might be sugars or other non-compliant ingredients in the meat marinades and meat rubs.
- Make friends with other people who follow the same healthy eating lifestyle as you. You might find others as you meet people or through Meetup groups. If you can’t find a Meetup, start one. There are likely other people in your area on the lookout for a Whole30 group. (As a sidenote, I have a Vegan friend who goes to Denver area potlucks and she LOVES them. In addition to being able to eat Vegan food at a potluck, she has met some great friends at the potlucks).
- Don’t make a big deal out of what types of foods will be at a barbeque or potluck. While it’s important to stay compliant if you are eating a certain way, it’s also important to try to keep stress levels low. While you don’t want to go off your diet or have a negative reaction to eating certain foods, getting into a disagreement with a friend or family member over your food choices is no fun (I’ve been there, done that!) So, if you need to, be discreet.
- Eat a meal before you go and then go to the BBQ and then enjoy yourself. In a perfect world, we’d always have easy access to foods that won’t cause health problems for us (wheat is a huge health disruptor for me). I have a good friend who had a quite a few food allergies. Sometimes, she’d bring her own meal to barbeques and gatherings with food. And sometimes, she’d eat beforehand and then snack on compliant foods. Her system worked very well for her!
- If all else fails, bring a Larabar or RxBar to eat! I always keep one of those in my purse for emergencies and doing this is very useful.
One of the best ways to stay compliant on Whole30 and enjoy a BBQ or potluck with friends and family is for you to host your own potluck or barbeque. As you plan and organize your get together, you can assign which foods you want people to bring, and you can provide compliant recipes to those who need them.
In my family, around the holidays, we use SignUpGenius. And then we assign sides, desserts, salads, main dishes, etc. We usually keep the side dish and main dish options kind of open, but you can be more specific when you make food assignments, if you want to be. For a grain-free gathering, assign a few people to bring a few potato and sweet potato dishes. You could also assign some green, leafy salads and some dishes that have summer squash in them. You can ask for a veggie tray and a fruit tray. And if you need any meats to grill, you can offer to supply the marinades and rubs for the meats.
Also, remember that it’s okay to offer recipes to others if they need ideas. When I’ve brought dishes to gatherings, I’ve been SO grateful for recipes and ideas from the host and/or hostess.
Below are some menu ideas that might be helpful! Mix and match as you see fit.
Mark Bittman’s Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri – Food and Wine
Easy Paleo Deviled Eggs – Stay Fit Mom
Sriracha Deviled Eggs – 40 Aprons
Asian Kabobs – Pretend It’s A Donut
Chimichurri Chicken Skewers – Tastes Lovely
Paleo Whole30 Grilled Gyro Burger – Jay’s Baking Me Crazy
Grilled Chicken Fajita Kebabs – Fit Foodie Finds
Grilled Steak Potato Mushroom Kabobs – Let’s Dish
Super Easy Tandoori Chicken – Nom Nom Paleo
Buffalo Chicken Kebobs – Maria Makes/Whole30
Asian Meatballs – Nom Nom Paleo
Pineapple BBQ Chicken Skewers – Little Bits Of
One-Skillet Teriyaki Meatballs – Paleo Running Mama
Balsamic Grilled Chicken – Living Loving Paleo
Grilled Salmon Cobb Salad – Fashionable Foods
Grilled Vegetables – i Food Real
Spiced Grilled Sweet Potatoes – Whole Foods
Whole30 German Potato Salad – Bravo for Paleo
Berry and Spinach Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette – 3 Whole Sisters
Simple Whole30 Greek Salad – Real Food With Dana
Guacamole with Terra chips, carrot chips, and/or sliced cucumber
Baked potato or baked sweet potato – Fine Cooking
Chicken salad served on top of cucumber slices
Bacon Wrapped Dates – Tastes Lovely
Cucumber Dill Chicken Salad – Paleo Bailey
Paleo Stuffed Peppers – Our Paleo Life
Grilled Zucchini – Delish
Roasted Potato Cups with Loaded Guacamole (omit the corn and black beans) – She Likes Food
Fruit tray (an assortment of melons and berries; or use tropical fruits like banana, papaya, and mango)
Fruit kebobs (add your favorite fruit to a skewer, alternating as you go; guests might like to make their own – you can use berries, melons, and tropical fruits for some great combos)
Grilled Fruit Salad – Primal Dish
Grilled Peaches with Hazelnut Pancetta Crumble – Little Bits Of
We hope this will help you to better navigate barbeques, potlucks and other get togethers with your loved ones and others. Food often has a very important role at social gatherings, but you can choose to eat foods that will optimize your health instead of destroying it. You can have your “cake” and eat it too!