Your Guide to a Healthy Summer Cook-out

By: Bridgitte Carroll, MS, RDN, LDN, Integrative and Functional Dietitian

Now that summer is finally here, it is time to celebrate and spend time outside! Typically barbecues include processed meats, calorie-dense sides and junk food snacks. This Guide to a Healthy Summer Cook-out shows you how easy healthy eating can be during parties and outdoor dinners! Additionally, we even have a recipe roundup of easy recipes to serve or bring to party to ensure you have something nutritious to eat!

  1. Use the grill for vegetables, too!

This is my biggest recommendation. No matter what the occasion is, aim to include as many veggies on your plate as possible. Grilling vegetables is easy and makes for a delicious and colorful component of your barbecue meal! Simply lather in avocado oil, salt and pepper.

  1. Do not burn or char meats

    Burning meat causes the fats to oxidize. Once a fat oxidizes, it can promote inflammation in your body when consumed.  Additionally, the charred pieces of the meat have been found to have carcinogenic, cancer causing, properties.

  1. Make your own marinade

    Many store bought marinades have hidden sugars and preservatives in them. Making your own marinade is easy and healthy, without sacrificing any flavor. Marinating in an acid like vinegar or lemon juice also reduces the aging effects of cooked meat.

  1. Eliminate highly processed meats, such as hot dogs

Processed meats may be linked to certain kinds of cancer and contain potentially dangerous compounds. However if you choose to eat hot dogs, opt for the types that are grass-fed, nitrate and preservative free.

  1. Choose grass-fed beef

        Studies show that grass-fed and grain-fed beef actually contain different nutrients, specifically different fat profiles. Grass-fed beef contains a significant amount of Omega-3 fats, while grain-fed beef contains more trans fats. Omega-3 fats are an essential part of our diet, vital for our wellbeing, including our brain and cardiovascular system. Omega-3’s also have anti-inflammatory properties. Choosing grass-fed beef may also increase the likelihood that they are hormone and antibiotic free, but still read the packaging label to double check!

Dietitian-Approved Recipe Roundup:

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