How to Prepare a Healthy, Low-Carb Meal at Your Next Cookout
Your guests will love this healthy, filling menu.
Throwing a cookout can sometimes feel overwhelming, and even more so if you want to serve healthy and delicious dishes—but it doesn’t have to be! The secret to serving healthy food is to have options ready so you don’t have to come up with new ideas on the spot.
Make a list that you will use for every cookout. Divide your list into food groups and items within them. Groups to include are: appetizers/snacks, main dishes and sides, desserts and drinks. Adjust the groups to your needs and keep in mind that this list may change overtime.
Healthy Foods and Drinks to Serve at Your Next Cookout
- Fruits: Serve fruits that are simple to prep like watermelon, berries, cantaloupe and clementines.
- Veggies: Grab a veggie platter or make your own. Cut celery, zucchini, broccoli and/or cauliflower, and serve with a yogurt-based dip.
- Chips and dips: Grab a giant bag of organic chips at a big box store and stock up on healthier dips like hummus, tzatziki, guacamole or tomato salsa.
- Popcorn: Buy large bags of organic popcorn.
- Nuts: Get a variety of nuts, and opt for no-salt or lightly salted varieties.
- Baked goods: Check your local store for freshly made baked goods like bars, muffins, cakes, or other small treats that are tasty and don’t use artificial ingredients.
Keep your main meal simple and healthy! Aim to serve protein, vegetables, and a carb. This will fill up even your hungriest guests. Serve foods that can be grilled or baked so you don’t find yourself spending most of your time in the kitchen—it's a cookout, after all!
- Main Dish - Protein: Choose easy to grill or bake options like drumsticks, chicken breasts, sausages, wild salmon and steak.
- Salad: Make a big simple mix like this spinach strawberry salad.
- Vegetables: Grill or bake well-seasoned vegetables that don’t require much cooking supervision, like corn, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini squash or Brussel sprouts. If you’re hosting a lot of people, offer several veggie options.
- Carb: Serve carbs that are simple to prepare and will appeal to children too, like rice, baked mac and cheese or mashed potatoes.
Fruit-flavored water is big hit at every party and easy to make! Add 1-2 cups of sliced fruit to a big jug of water. Let it sit for about 30-60 minutes before serving. Try using orange slices or one of these combinations: watermelon and mint, strawberry and mint, cucumber and watermelon or cucumber and lemon slices.
Keep it simple—fruit makes for an easy, tasty dessert that's also healthy. You can even throw some fruits—like peaches—on the grill for something extra special.