Eating Healthy During Summer Cookouts

Dear Daughters,

A friend of mine shared these tips with me so I’m sharing them with you.

Summer cookouts are an excellent opportunity to make healthy (and tasty) choices. Follow these simple steps and enjoy the pleasures of dining outdoors without the guilt.

Keep it Healthy

  • Portion size is key. Load up a plate with seasonal fruits and vegetables and enjoy small portions of favorite summer treats.
  • Make kebabs. Instead of a eating a full hamburger, chicken breast or steak, make a skewer with marinated mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, onions and peppers. Add a few choice chunks of lean meats for a meal packed with vitamins, nutrients and fiber.
  • Opt for salsa, guacamole, hummus and black bean dip instead of high-fat mayonnaise-based dips for vegetables and chips. Even healthy foods have calories, so continue to watch portion sizes of chips and dips.
  • Try grilling fruit like pineapple or mango for a delicious, low-fat dessert.

Make it Hydrating

Foods that have high-water content are natural appetite suppressants:

  • Fruits and vegetables have a high water content and are naturally hydrating.
  • Have a naturally-sweetened slice of watermelon or a fruit salad made with melons and berries for dessert.
  • Make popsicles out of fruit juice or lemonade for a satisfying treat.
  • Choose water, tea or sugar-free sports drinks instead of regular soda or alcohol.

Focus on Hearty Choices

The fiber in whole grains provide energy and keep hunger at bay longer:

  • Choose whole-grain or whole-wheat rolls, buns and noodles for dishes.
  • Load up on fruits, vegetables, baked beans and legumes.
  • Choose lean cuts of beef, chicken and pork. Avoid batters or breading on meats.
  • Avoid mayonnaise-based salads and opt for zesty marinades instead.

Practice Food Safety

  • Do not leave food out longer than two hours if the temperature is warmer than 90 degrees.
  • Preheat the grill for at least 20 minutes before grilling anything new; this will kill any leftover bacteria.
  • Use a meat thermometer to cook meats to a safe temperature.
  • Avoid cross-contamination of bacteria. Thoroughly wash all utensils, plates, containers and surfaces, including your hands.
  • Store leftovers in separate containers in the refrigerator immediately after eating.

I will be trying these at my next cook-out!

Love Mom



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