How to Make Smart Cookout Choices
Warm weather and longer days make this time of year perfect for backyard cookouts. While you probably think of hot dogs, potato salad, and chips when the word ‘cookout’ comes up, it’s possible to transform a cookout into a healthier event. Have your fun and eat up, too, with these helpful tips and ideas for making smarter cookout choices.
Make Leaner Choices
Instead of hotdogs and hamburgers try leaner options, including:
- Lean cuts of poultry, beef, fish, or pork
- Ground turkey burgers, which can be up to 99% fat-free
- Bean-, tofu-, or tempeh-based burgers for vegan or vegetarian alternatives
Add plenty of delicious veggies to your cookout menu, such as:
- Toss veggies like sweet potatoes, mushrooms, onions, red peppers, eggplant, and squashes with olive oil and herbs, grilling directly on the grill until tender
- Marinated Portobello mushrooms, grilled
- Raw veggie dishes like raw carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and peppers with a healthy dip like hummus or low-fat ranch v
Salads packed with mayo aren’t the healthiest cookout choice. Try some of these mayo-less options:
- Toss fresh fruit and fresh fennel, soaking in lemon juice for 15-20 minutes. Add lemon zest, sliced peaches, rice vinegar, and just a bit of pepper and salt.
- Go with Caprese salad, which includes mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and fresh basil, sprinkled with salt and olive oil
- Create an avocado salad with cubed avocadoes, green onions, roasted pine nuts, fresh herbs, and a bit of vinaigrette.
Along with these helpful ways to make your cookout healthier, adding some physical activity makes it even better. Have a game of volleyball, baseball, or play croquet before you eat your meal, or go with a short walk between your main meal and dessert.