Are you looking for ways to make your Labor Day cookout healthier but are not sure where to begin? Well, look no further than this guide to the ultimate healthy Labor Day cookout. This weekend is all about getting outside, soaking up a little vitamin D and of course having some fun! When it comes to the food portion of this weekend, it can be challenging to determine what healthy options to serve. But rest assured, the following tips will help you make a delicious and nutritious Labor Day menu that everyone will love.
Choosing lean proteins for your cookout can be a great choice when it comes to healthy options. Lean proteins offer plenty of protein but without all the fat and can still taste just as delicious. Lean ground beef, ground turkey, skinless chicken breast, and lean steak are all excellent options. Just make sure to trim off any excess fat before grilling to keep these options healthy.
Grill Up Some Veggies
Don’t forget about your vegetables! Ensuring there are plenty of veggies on the menu can be an easy healthy option for your cookout. Having vegetables available can provide much needed vitamins and minerals along with the fiber and antioxidants your body needs to stay healthy. Try grilling up some bell peppers, corn on the cob, portobello mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, or asparagus.
Beware of High Fat Dishes
The highest-fat or high-calorie dishes usually served at a cookout are potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw, sauces such as ranch dressing and barbecue sauce, and chips and creamy dips. These high-calorie and high-fat dishes may taste delicious, but if you want to keep it healthy, it’s not worth it. Instead, try to make low-fat versions of these dishes by adding more vegetables to the mixture and replacing the mayonnaise with healthier fats such as Greek yogurt, or skip it altogether.
Stick to White Meats
Skipping the red meat at a cookout and substituting it with white meats can be a great heart-healthy alternative. Grilling or baking fish, chicken or turkey can reduce saturated fat and if you are choosing fish, this protein also adds in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Try grilled salmon, shrimp skewers, fish tacos or grilled mahi sandwiches.
Add in Whole Grains
This simple healthy swap can add in fiber, and vitamins and minerals to your favorite cookout dishes. Adding whole grains can be as easy as swapping your classic burger or hot dog buns out for whole grain versions or serving whole grain crackers or chips. These small changes can help to make your cookout healthy and still taste delicious.
Drinking water is an important part of your Labor Day cookout. Whether you are drinking alcohol or sticking to non-alcoholic beverages, make sure to alternate your drinks with water to keep hydrated. Staying hydrated can also help your body not mistake thirst for hunger, when this dehydration happens it is all too easy to grab the closest food items to satisfy you.