Cookout Makeover- Dean - WI

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Published on July 27, 2015

Cookout Makeover

Healthy Swaps for Backyard Barbecues

With summer in full swing, your family is probably getting sick of the same old same cookout food. Not to mention that barbecue isn’t exactly the healthiest meal option. These simple swaps provide a nutritious twist on your favorite backyard classics.

  1. Entrée Swaps: Start with the main course. Instead of fatty meat options like traditional ground chuck hamburgers, ribs, steaks or hot dogs, look for leaner alternatives like sirloin. Be sure to swap out white buns for healthier whole grain ones. If the kids are adventuresome, try fish options like tuna or salmon steaks, shrimp kebobs or fish tacos. Another alternative is to ditch the meat altogether in favor of black bean or quinoa burgers. You can also grill up some veggie skewers or make potato packets with fresh veggies in the fire pit. 

  2. Side Switches: Your cookout makeover doesn’t end with the entrée. There are plenty of wholesome alternatives to typical cookout side dishes. Drop the potato chips and make your own kale or sweet potato chips, two veggies with a high nutritional value. Lightly coat with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper, and the kids will never want regular chips again. If you’re making potato salad, leave the skin on for extra fiber and nutrients. For pasta salad, swap out white noodles for whole grain. Instead of coleslaw, put together a fresh veggie-and-hummus platter. Similarly, skip the sugary Jell-O and whip up a fruit plate with yogurt dip. 

  3. Dessert Exchanges: Just because you’re adding a healthy spin to your barbecue doesn’t mean you need to skip dessert. Look for frozen yogurt instead of ice cream and all-natural frozen fruit bars instead of popsicles. If you’d rather keep that homemade touch, but want to forgo all the sugar called for in most baking recipes, make your own banana ice cream with just one ingredient. You can also fun up fruit by putting pieces on skewers or cutting them into fun shapes. Kids will love graham crackers with peanut butter and dark chocolate chips or chocolate-dipped strawberries.

Looking for more healthy meal inspiration? Check out these 3 familiar family dinners made healthier. Or, find out if a CSA share is right for your family.

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