As holidays roll around, it is common to want to over-indulge in the fun foods that are served. Summer cookout foods like hamburgers, BBQ, baked beans, and pasta salad are totally fine to consume in moderation, but overdoing them can lead to feeling uncomfortable and lacking nutrient-packed foods to balance you out. Having options for your healthy cookout menu will help you enjoy your day!
A Healthy Plan Thinks Ahead!
A good rule of thumb to ensure you aren’t going into your cookout meal absolutely starving is to plan ahead. When blood sugar is low (if we didn’t eat breakfast that morning), we are more likely to overeat. Therefore, eat a healthy snack or a balanced breakfast to start your day. You will be better prepared for your fun day!
A Healthy Cookout Plate Is Balanced
A plate of food should be balanced. It should include a portion of each food group to make sure that you are fueling your body to perform at its best. In fact, leaving out food groups is not healthy for you at all.
- First of all, when building a balanced plate at mealtime, fill half of your plate with veggies (i.e. green beans, coleslaw, salad). This provides you with the necessary fiber, phytochemicals, and hydration our bodies need.
- Secondly, each meal should provide a combination of protein, carbs, and fats, so a balance of protein and carbs alongside veggies is key. Chicken or tofu are fabulous sources of protein that take on the flavor of any marinade. Try out these teriyaki grilled tofu kabobs for a flavorful and summery meal.
- Thirdly, don’t forget some healthy fats! Nuts or avocado pair well as a topping on salads or veggies and contain those heart-healthy unsaturated fats that will help keep you full and satisfied. Such as the pumpkin seeds on this creamy broccoli slaw.
- Lastly, potatoes, fruit, or pasta are healthful carbs that give you the energy for your day! For a lighter spin on potato salad, use Greek yogurt in place of mayo for extra protein and less saturated fat.
Healthy Menu: Grilling Meat and Veggies
Summertime is a great excuse to fire up the grill and make your favorite foods! Zucchini, corn, asparagus, bell peppers, and tomatoes are perfect on the grill and provide a delicious smoky flavor. Kabobs are a simple way to cook your veggies with your proteins. Try this kabob recipe for Greek-style chicken and veggies. Also, if you are vegan or vegetarian, grilling Portobello mushroom chunks or baby Bella mushrooms are an umami-packed delicious alternative.
Healthy Menu: Grilling Fruits
Fruits are amazing grilled. For example, peaches, pineapple, and watermelon are a perfect way to add more nutrition and fiber to your meal. Put grilled fruit on salads for a tasty addition. Try this yummy Grilled Peach and Corn Salad next time you’re planning for a summer get together! Pair this salad with a grilled protein (such as fish, turkey burgers, or chicken) for a satisfying summery salad that will make your healthy cookout menu sizzle!
What are your favorite grilling recipes? Let us know!