What better way to enjoy your meals than by cooking out? But you don’t have to chuck your diet into the grill, too.
Denise Cole and Amy Jamieson-Petonic, registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic, offers tips to make your cookouts healthier, often by making simple substitutions.
Start with your burgers and dogs
Jamieson-Petonic says you can start by swapping out enriched, white hamburger and hot dog buns for whole-grain buns.
“You want to make sure you’re using 100 percent whole grain bun instead of your standard white bun because you’re going to get a lot more vitamins and minerals from that,” Jamieson-Petonic says.
Cole says another quick way to make a cookout healthier is to swap out the beef burgers for fish.
“Salmon burgers are great. Put them on the grill. Put them on buns like you normally would a hamburger, a whole wheat bun would be optimal, some lettuce and tomato and you have a great omega-3 rich food for the holiday,” Cole says.
For a healthier cookout, try these simple swaps:
|Enriched, white hamburger and hot dog buns||Whole grain hamburger and hot dog buns|
|Beef burgers||Salmon, veggie or black bean burgers|
|Regular hot dogs||All beef hot dog, turkey hot dog|
|Potato salad||Whole wheat pasta salad|
|Potato chips||Multigrain corn chips|
|High-fat side dishes||Grilled fruits and vegetables, hummus|
Cole adds that swordfish and tuna also hold up great on the grill. She says an all-white meat turkey burger is also a good option, as is a black bean or veggie burger.
But if you’re talking texture, Cole says a mushroom burger will most resemble a beef burger on your taste buds. And before you buy your hot dogs, Cole suggests checking the label.
“You either want to choose an all-beef hot dog that is low in saturated fat or a turkey dog that is lower in saturated fat. Now, the turkey dogs you have to watch and make sure that they’re not made with a lot of skin or a lot of dark meat because that is going to raise your saturated fat,” Cole says.
Make smarter side dishes
For side dishes, Jamieson-Petonic says to park the potato salad in favor of a whole wheat pasta salad. You can cover it in extra virgin olive oil, fresh vegetables, some lemon juice, and a touch of parmesan.
You can also chuck the potato chips for multi-grain corn chips. She says they offer less saturated fat than chips and more vitamin B.
Jamieson-Petonic adds that homemade hummus is a hit at any holiday party.
“You know, a lot of times people will bring the old standard chip dip or ranch dressing and those are really high in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. A much healthier swap would be to use a hummus or make your own hummus. It’s super easy. Blend some chick peas, blend them up with some extra virgin olive oil and some lemon and it’s fabulous,” Jamieson-Petonic says.
Cole suggests grilling fruits or vegetables for your side dishes. You can try wrapping some veggies in foil and create a grilled vegetable medley. Or you can make grilled fruit kabobs for the kids.
Consider calorie-conserving H2O
As far as beverages go, Jamieson-Petonic says to swap your soft drinks with infused water. She says to add your favorite fruit or vegetable to a pitcher or a glass of water and let it soak in the flavor along with its vitamins and minerals.
This holiday, eat well and with these tips, enjoy fireworks on your taste buds – without the extra calories and fat.