How to Throw a Healthy Cookout

Cookouts and barbecues may be in full swing already, but there are plenty of opportunities for more this summer. It’s totally possible to throw a healthy and fun cookout for your family and friends. Plus, I’ll even throw in some tips for staying on track while at someone else’s cookout.

4 Things to Know About Throwing an Awesome Summer Cookout

1) It’s All About the Food

There is a lot of planning that goes into throwing a successful cookout. The most important part is the menu. Making it a potluck creates less work for you, but more room for very indulgent dishes brought by foodie friends. By making your potluck list specific, you can create a more healthful and diversified menu.

Try this: Instead of adding a column for “dessert” add a few different columns like fruit salad, chocolate dessert, etc.

Try this: Instead of adding a column for “sides” add a few different columns like salad, corn, green vegetables, potatoes, etc. This way you will have a good, healthy variety while still letting others do a majority of the cooking.

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2) Generally, the Hosts Take Care of the Main Dish

At a cookout, the main dish is usually some sort of grilled meat (I know you already know this). Now it’s up to you to pick some healthy proteins. Burgers are always a good idea! Choose a lean ground beef like 90/10 and choose healthy toppings like thin slices of cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc. Keep in mind condiments are loaded with sodium. Some other good protein options are lean cuts of steak, 100% beef hot dogs, veggie or black bean burgers and fish could even be a hit!

3) If You’re Attending a Cookout and Want to Stay on Track My Best Piece of Advice is to Bring Your Own Dish

This gives you the opportunity to bring a healthy dish that you can make the majority of your meal. Some good filling side dishes could be a broccoli salad, veggie pasta salad or bean salad, etc. By knowing that you have a good healthy option, you can make room to enjoy some protein (i.e. hamburger, ribs, steak) and a small portion of dessert.

4) Keep Your Cool…

Whether you’re hosting a cookout or attending a cookout make sure you keep the alcohol consumption in check. It can be tempting to always keep a drink in your hand, but switching between water and an alcoholic beverage will help keep the alcohol calories to a minimum. But, most importantly enjoy the food and company!