Although I may have cheated this year and celebrated the Fourth of July a week early because I’ll be cruising on the actual holiday, it did give me a chance to think up some tips on how to enjoy your holiday cookout the “light” way. The list below is a handful of hacks to keep in mind while preparing the cookout or while attending one!
- Skip the soda– It’s common knowledge at this point that sodas are packed with calories, sugars, and acids that are harmful to your overall health. Instead of reaching for a fifth can of Coke (or a more adult beverage haha), try drinking an iced tea or fruit infused water. If you must crack a cold one or enjoy a root beer, limit yourself to one or two so you don’t feel like you missed out. There are tons of interesting infused tea and water recipes out there, both of which are even better to keep you hydrated on this hot summer holiday!
- Include fruits and vegetables– If you’re preparing the cookout, this one is easy. Make a big salad, have a vegetable/fruit tray, or even make a festive berry tart! The sweetness of the fruit tart will keep you from reaching for another slice of cake, while a vegetable tray or salad will be a welcome change from all of the meat and chips. Plus, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been to a BBQ without corn on the cob or watermelon…
- Wrap your burger in lettuce– Butter leaf lettuce is my go-to for this option; the butter lettuce is firm enough that you can wrap it and eat your burger without a knife and fork, but won’t add the 200+ calories to your meal like a traditional bun. There’s normally lettuce at cookouts to dress the burger anyway, so add some tomato and ketchup on there and you’re good to go!
- Swap out your sides– This one is easiest if you’re actually the one cooking. Typically at cookouts, you’ll find the same types of food: potato salad, fries, corn, beans, and chips. You can still enjoy these sides by having small amounts of each, or by making them healthier/homemade! Add extra vegetables by including a veggie kabob, swap out store bought potato salad with a light version made with Greek yogurt, and use cauliflower tots or sweet potato fries instead of the usual kind (trust me, you won’t miss them once you’ve tried cauliflower tots).
Since holidays are made for celebrating with family and friends- flavor and fun should never be sacrificed! You can still enjoy all of your favorite cookout foods, even while keeping them on the lighter side. If you enjoyed this list, please like it, share it, and subscribe!