Healthy Grilling Options and Cookout Dishes

Aug 17 • 2015

Grilling is one of the biggest summer pastimes, but many people find themselves overindulging in creamy salads, salty chips, and protein options that aren’t heart healthy. If you’re hesitant to have a cookout because of a lack of nutritious grilling and side dish options, try these alternatives that are both delicious and healthy.

Healthy Burgers
You can still make a delicious burger by using a chicken breast or ground turkey. These options are leaner and much better for your heart. Pick up some thin, whole-grain burger buns to cut down on carbohydrates and go for a thin slice of low-fat cheese (or no cheese at all). Instead of mayonnaise, use avocado – it provides the same creamy texture with good-for-you fats. Load up on vegetables like peppers, tomato, and onion for a delicious, filling entrée with less guilt.

Lighter Salads and Sides
Coleslaw and potato salad are two of the most common cookout side dishes. The heavy mayonnaise in both can be detrimental to your diet, so choose a healthier ingredient instead. Increase your fiber intake by using redskin potatoes with the skins on. Then mix with a combination of white wine vinegar and olive oil instead of mayonnaise. With coleslaw, try substituting a mixture of non-fat Greek yogurt and apple cider vinegar. You’ll love the taste and the food will taste lighter than the previous versions.

Skip the Chips
Instead of potato chips and dip, why not make chips using vegetables? Kale chips are a popular option right now, but you can also make chips from zucchini, carrots, and a variety of other vegetables. Also, try grilling corn or asparagus right on the grill. You’ll get that great charred flavor and have a delicious replacement for salty snacks.

Pass Up Sugary Drinks
Soda, lemonade, and iced tea can all be filled with surprisingly high amounts of sugar. Try making your own lemonade with sparkling water and lemon juice, or flavor water with cucumbers, limes, and other fruits. For alcoholic beverages, substitute soda water for a delicious, fruity option with less calories and sugar.

What are some of your favorite healthy cookout entrées and side dishes? Share your recipes in our comments section.