Cookouts are arguably one of the best parts of summer. After all, they’re filled with food, family, fun, and sun. What more could you ask for?
But cookout foods are usually low in nutrients and high in fat, and the few greens you see are likely buried under big blobs of ranch dressing.
You don’t have to put your healthy lifestyle on hold for this summer’s cookouts. Try these healthy food choices for your next cookout instead of the greasy, fatty options served at most outdoor parties.
7 Healthy Cookout Foods To Serve This Summer
Potatoes can be prepared in a variety of ways – grilled, baked, or dressed in a salad. It’s best to skimp on the French fries, though.
2. Green beans
Green beans are high in protein, filling you up without adding extra calories. They also have phytochemicals, which can fight heart disease, high blood pressure, and inflammation. Pennsylvania State University linked green bean consumption to higher levels of zinc, magnesium, and iron, along with lower levels of both saturated and unsaturated fats.
Plus, they’re super tasty – promise! Make this a truly healthy (and delicious!) option by serving green beans with lemon zest for a real kick.
With less than 100 calories per serving, watermelon always makes a great snack – and it’s one of the healthy food choices everyone will eat at your cookout. But be warned – this fruit goes quickly!
Do you want a healthy, low-cal meat? Look to the sea, my friend.
Related: 5 Benefits Of The Mediterranean Diet
Fish is much lower in fat and calories than ground beef; it’s also higher in vitamins A, B, D, and E, improving your health on a cellular level. With plenty of digestible proteins, fish fills you up without slowing you down. Salmon and tilapia are popular favorites; try them with a little lemon on the side.
6. Homemade iced tea
Not to be confused with the sugary, syrupy, store-bought variety, iced tea has great benefits if it’s made right. Tea prevents gum disease and tooth decay by cleansing the mouth of bacteria. Likewise, the polyphenols in tea fight off cancer and diabetes.
Connoisseurs can choose from dozens of different teas, which each have unique health perks; green tea, for example, is especially high in polyphenols.
For the full experience, skip the sugar and use honey or ginger instead; better yet, drink unsweetened tea, which contains zero calories.
If you like the taste of sugar – but not the side-effects – smoothies are the thing for you.
Mix your favorite fruits with Greek yogurt for a fat-free, high-protein option. Strawberries and blueberries mix well together and are high in antioxidants. Add a bit of honey for some nutritious sweetness.
There are plenty of healthy food choices for your next cookout. From high-fiber veggies to protein-packed fish to fat-free fruit, you and your guests can enjoy great taste and great health!
Photo by Astrid Stone*