Eat the Season
Focus on Nutrition This Summer with a Healthy Cookout
Do you need motivation to achieve your health goals and start eating right? Celebrate warmer weather with a healthful backyard barbecue while impressing your family and friends with delicious foods they will love.
Start building your healthful barbecue around fruits and vegetables, which are low in calories, high in fiber and packed with the nutrients you need. Look no further than your local grocery store or farmers' market for fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables. Not sure how to feature fruits and vegetables at your barbecue? Here are a few ideas, but feel free to get creative:
No summer gathering is complete without this sweet treat. Made up of more than 90 percent water, it will also keep your guests hydrated on a hot day.
- Caramelize watermelon slices on the grill, then drizzle with honey, lime and a pinch of salt.
- Pair with shrimp on a kabob.
- Carve out a watermelon to use as a bowl for fruit salad.
- Use the juice of a watermelon as a glaze for chicken, shrimp or pork.
When it comes to summer squash like zucchini, patty pans or yellow crooknecks, you've got options. You can stuff it, bake it, steam it or grill it.
- Grate squash and bake with it. Summer squash can be used in recipes ranging from meatloaf to muffins or breads.
- Stuff squash with lean-protein like chicken, fish or beans and brown rice.
- Cut squash into length-wise strips and place directly on the grill or cook smaller pieces in tin foil.
While potato salad and potato chips are popular at summertime gatherings, they contain high amounts of fats and sodium. A medium-sized sweet potato contains 3 grams of fiber and just 130 calories, making them a nutritionally sound choice.
- Bake a sweet potato on the grill and top with cinnamon.
- Cut into strips and bake for sweet potato fries.
- Grill sweet potatoes until tender and mash for sweet mashed potatoes topped with a touch of brown sugar or freshly grated nutmeg.
For more information on healthy ways to enjoy summertime, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist in your area.
Reviewed April 2013