Rethink Your Summer Cook Out
The weather has been beautiful here and for my family that means we cook out on the weekends. Whether we are eating alone, or having friends over for dinner it's pretty much a guarantee that the grill will be fired up.
A cookout could easily mean loads of extra calories in mayo based salads and sides, and grazing on appetizers you put out for munching while dinner cooks (because sometimes that grill just doesn't cooperate on schedule). But wait- it doesn't have to!
Cooking out can actually be an easy way to keep your family eating healthy. By using the grill to cook your meat (especially burgers) the fat naturally drains away leaving the full flavor of your dish to shine. But how else can we "health-ify" your Saturday barbecue?
Here are some tips:
Replace buns with whole wheat buns or sturdy lettuce wraps
Try grilling portabello mushrooms brushed with balsamic vinegar instead of ground meat
ditch the red meat and grill some chicken, fish or pork instead
cut out the macaroni and potato salad you ate as a kid and throw some vegetables on that already warm grill instead! Squash, mushrooms, eggplants, sweet potatoes and peppers hold up particularly well to grilling
These are sweet peppers tossed with olive oil, fresh oregano, salt and pepper, you can grill them in a basket or thread onto skewers and grill for 6-10 minutes for a bright, delicious and zesty side!
instead of fries with that burger how about a green salad instead
cut veggies up and serve with a greek yogurt based dipping sauce as muchies instead of chips
replace store bought coleslaw with homemade or try something new and toss together a brocolli slaw salad. You can use a bag of store bought brocolli slaw (or shred brocolli stems, carrots and red cabbage) then toss in some fresh brocolli florets, chopped red onion and mix together with an easy dressing*. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and pepitos, sliced almonds or sunflower seeds to add a little crunch and VOILA! a salad so good you will be scraping the bowl to get it all
for my simple healthy dressing option try:
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp lime juice (or the juice from 1 medium lime)
and salt and pepper to taste
don't feel the pressure to offer a fancy dessert- try serving fresh fruit cut up and topped with some whipped cream or mix yogurt and maple syrup together for a fun fruit dipping sauce. You could even layer it with yogurt for a fun parfait!
So turn on those creative juices and see what creative changes you can incorporate into your next cook out!