Summer is in full swing, and the 4th of July is this weekend! One of my favorite things about this time of year is the grilling and cookouts! It just seems like everything tastes better on the grill, right? The first thing you might think of when you think of a cook out is burgers and hot dogs, potato salad, chips and cookies, soda and beer, and maybe a veggie tray and fruit bowl. You don’t typically see the most nutritious foods. I’m all for eating the burgers and chips from time to time, but if you are having or going to a lot of cookouts, you want to make sure you have some healthier options as well. I’m not a dietitian or nutritionist, but here are a few tips that I have found helpful that still make for a delicious cookout!
- Protein. Instead of the typical burgers and hot dogs, try turkey burgers on a whole wheat bun or no bun, or grilled chicken. Find a good marinade and that chicken right off the grill might just be better than a burger!
- Veggies. Have you tried grilled veggies?? If not, you need to try them. I prefer cooked vegetables to raw, so grilling up the veggies is my favorite. Some of my favorites to grill are zucchini, yellow squash, and mushrooms. You can also grill the potatoes as a healthier swap for potato salad.
- Other sides. Obviously, you aren’t just going to eat grilled chicken and vegetables at a cookout, so you can try swapping out the typical potato chips and dip for some healthier options. Some of my go-to’s are whole grain tortilla chips and salsa, whole wheat crackers or pretzel thins and hummus, and a nice fruit salad!
- Drinks. Of course water is going to be the best option, but some other options I like are sparkling flavored water, like La Croix (I know it’s an acquired taste), and unsweetened iced tea. If you want to get fancy, you can try making mocktails! A mocktail is a cocktail without the alcohol. You can use juice, sparkling water or Kombucha as the base and add whatever you want, lemon or lime juice,herbs, or fruit. A recipe I’m going to try is watermelon juice, lemon juice, and mint leaves. Put it in a shaker cup with ice, and you have a refreshing summer drink!