One of the best parts of summertime is gathering outside with friends and family to enjoy delicious food and conversation. The fireflies, warm, dewy air and longer days are the perfect equation to gather and experience the essence of summer. Cookouts are a staple of summertime, but if you're trying to eat healthy, you may be left munching on veggies as everyone else fills their plate with hotdogs and coleslaw.
You don't have to be stuck with just the veggie tray. There are numerous healthy options to choose from during the summer cookout months, so there's no need to go home hungry. Here are a few of my summer cookout staples:
Veggie Burgers. Whether you make your patties from scratch or buy them premade, veggie burgers give you that summer BBQ feel, while reducing calories or avoiding red meat. Use a whole grain bun (or lettuce wrap if you are sensitive to gluten) and dress it with the typical toppings and condiments for a tasty flavor boost. Delicious!
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. Do you love mashed potatoes, but not the calorie count? You can now get the texture and love of this summertime favorite for far fewer calories with some mashed cauliflower. Just add some garlic and olive oil for a delicious flavor that mimics the real deal. Request my favorite cauliflower mashed potato recipe by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sweet Potato “Fries”. The perfect companion for your veggie burger! Skip the regular French fries and lean towards the healthier option -- how about some baked sweet potato ‘fries?’ They have a higher nutrient profile, and since you are baking them, fewer calories! You can even toss them on the grill for a crispy option to sweet potato fries.
Shish Kabobs. Shish kabobs taste great during the summer. Adding bell peppers, squash, red onion and mushrooms make this a deliciously healthy and handheld meal. If you desire protein, add some chicken, steak or shrimp in between your veggie layers. Drizzle with your favorite BBQ sauce or shake herbs and seasoning onto your kabobs for a delicious and healthy meal.
Eating healthy through the summer months does not have to be difficult or feel like a sacrifice. With just a few minor adjustments, you can turn nearly any dish into a delicious and healthy meal without skimping on flavor. So give these recipes a try at your next BBQ. You will not be disappointed.
Sara Wolfsen is a Certified Health & Lifestyle Coach who specializes in helping people make their own healthy changes by providing private health and lifestyle coaching, nutrition education and wellness classes with guidance and gentle support for lasting weight loss and building healthier habits. Learn more online at www.sarawolfsen.com.