How to Have a Healthy Cookout
Summer is the season of cookouts. Whether you're grilling in your backyard or at a local park, a cookout can be tons of fun for everyone in the family.
Of course, you want to make sure your cookout is safe, healthy, and fun, so we've put together a few helpful tips you can follow this summer.
Tips for Healthy Eating
Cookouts can offer some great food choices, but they're also known for some calorie bombs, too. Here are a few tips to help you kick up the nutrition while still having plenty of tasty food options.
- Tip #1 – Skip Heavy Side Dishes and Processed Carbs - Potato salad, pasta salad, and processed carbs like chips and other snack foods often show up at cookouts, but they're big calorie bombs. Just skip these items when you're grilling out.
- Tip #2 – Choose Lean Proteins – Lean proteins are easier to grill, and they're better for you.
- Tip #3 – Grill Veggies and Fruits – Instead of those calorie packed sides, grill veggies and fruits. Grilled tomatoes, sweet corn, squash, pineapple, and peaches are all winners.
- Tip #4 – Boost Flavor with Healthy Marinades – You don't have to go with high-fat or high-sugar sauces to boost flavor. Marinades with ingredients like lime juice, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, spices, onions, and vinegar offer great ways to kick up the flavor.
Food Safety Tips
Unfortunately, summer cookouts can turn into a big problem if you don’t follow proper food safety rules.:
- Keep cooked and raw foods separate.
- Use separate plates and cutting boards for eggs, poultry, meat, and produce.
- Make sure you use a meat thermometer to ensure meats reach the safe temperature.
- Chill perishable foods to prevent illness-causing bacteria from growing.
- Sanitize hands, grilling utensils, and other items regularly.
Don't Forget to Stay Hydrated
Last, don’t forget to stay hydrated at your cookout. When the weather is hot and you're sweating, proper hydration is even more important. Water with a few slices of lime or lemon can be particularly refreshing. Just try to keep sugar sodas and alcoholic drinks to a minimum – they don’t hydrate you.
Keep these tips in mind as you start having your summer cookouts, so you have fun while keeping everything safe and healthy for you and your guests.