Finally, a mask-free summer that is barbequed, smoked, slathered, rubbed, and dipped! When it comes to summertime cookouts, going overboard on indulgent foods happens often. It may seem impossible to include healthier alternatives at these get-togethers but serving healthier options can be easier than you think. According to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics we need to think beyond the traditional barbeque favorites. Here are a few ideas for your next summertime party:

Go Lean

Instead of using processed meats such as hot dogs and sausage, try incorporating leaner meats. Choose healthier options like lean beef, pork, and chicken. Fish is also a great alternative and cooks up quickly on the grill.

Consider swapping out typical beef burgers for heart healthy turkey burgers. Ground turkey can be found as lean as 99% fat free. Add some flavorful ingredients like feta cheese, Kalamata olives, or cilantro to make a juicy Greek-style burger.

Better yet, go meatless! There are plenty of meatless options that will satisfy your taste-buds and help control your fat intake. Grilled tofu, tempeh or plant-based burgers can be great vegan or vegetarian alternatives.

Roast Veggies 

Don’t forget to make half your plate vegetables! A sure-fire way to watch your calories is to include vegetables every time you eat. Additionally, there are so many ways veggies can be incorporated into your cookout menu.

One of the tastiest ways to use vegetables is to marinate them in olive oil and spices to give a great flavor. After marinating, place them directly on the grill until they are tender and brown. You could also bulk-up your salads or sandwich with the addition of roasted or raw vegetables!

Fruit for Dessert 

Grilling fruits is an easy and fun way to control your added sugar intake that is typical in desserts. Grill watermelon, peach halves or pineapple slices to bring out the unique flavors. Simply grill each side for 30 seconds and add spices like pepper flakes or balsamic vinaigrette to create a nutritious and delicious treat!

Another simple way to incorporate fruits is to create fruit kabobs. Strawberries, cantaloupe, grapes, and more can easily be placed on a skewer for enjoying. On the side, whip up a healthy fruit dip made with Greek yogurt for indulging.

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