Enjoy a Healthy Cookout

By: Amanda Belo


Çookout season is in full swing just in time for National Grilling Month! As one of the summer’s favorite pastimes, it’s hard to say no to a juicy cheeseburger with all the fixin’s and maybe a hot dog…and maybe that chicken leg, too. Not to worry; you can still enjoy that summer cookout without sacrificing taste and flavor! Read more to see our tips just in time for the beginning of National Grilling Month!


  1. Grill Fruits and Vegetables: Grilling intensifies the flavor and adds tasty, healthier options.


  1. Grill Lean Meats, Poultry, and Fish: Fat from fattier meats can drip onto grilling flames, which creates smoke that may contain carcinogens. Plus, fish offers fatty acids that are great for your brain and body!


  1. Go For Quality: Buy meats from animals raised in healthy environments to avoid hormones and antibiotics. Here are some great options:
  • Sustainably raised, pasture-raised, grass-fed beef;
  • Free-range chicken;
  • Wild or organic farm-raised fish


  1. Get Creative with Kebabs: Add as many healthy veggies or fruits in between meat (or without meat) for a tasty, colorful dish. Research shows that many vitamins and minerals when eaten together provide the maximum boost of nutrition.


  1. Know Your Portions: Limit meat sizes and cuts, leaving more room for fresh, meatless options. Remember, one serving of protein is about the size of a deck of cards.


  1. Use Whole Grain Bread: For burgers and hot dogs, use whole-grain or sprouted grain buns for more fiber content. Remember, bread can label itself “whole grain” even if only 51% of the ingredients meet the qualifications so make sure to read the nutrition labels to ensure the healthiest choice!


  1. Healthy Sides: Make salads from green leafy veggies, or cook kale or spinach with garlic and serve hot. Other ideas for clean-eating sides include asparagus, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and eggplant. You can find healthy swaps for certain ingredients in your favorite dishes as well.  Try replacing mayonnaise based dishes with non-fat yogurt.


What are some of your go-to healthy options for summer cookouts? Comment yours below!




Sources: Cooking Light, Harvard Health Blog, Reader’s Digest