Plus, tips for eating healthy while you’re gathering around the grill.
Getting friends and family together for a day of grilling is what summer is all about. And if you’re trying to stay on track nutritionally, here’s the best part: Grilled food can be delicious and good for you.
Take, for example, this recipe for citrus-marinated chicken with grilled broccolini and tomatoes, which packs a protein and bright flavor punch. Or this recipe for grilled stone fruit salad, which brings the rich sweetness of summer fruit to the forefront. Also,
Get these recipes and more below, along with a few tips for healthy cookout eating from Tonal Coach Tim Landicho, who is also a certified nutrition coach.
Tips for a Healthier Cookout
Eat mindfully. Don’t be so worried about what to eat and what to avoid that you end up not having a good time, Landicho says. Instead, take more time eating whatever you choose to eat. “If you’re normally scarfing food down, can you take pauses between bites? Can you take time to really savor what’s happening? A barbecue is a good opportunity to think about the three Ts: taste, texture, and temperature,” he says.
Build your meal around lean protein. Focusing on protein may help keep you from constantly grazing and eating more than you need to feel full. This should be easy enough to do at a cookout and can help keep your nutrition on track.
“Building your meal around lean protein ensures that your appetite stays regulated and that you feel satisfied,” Landicho explains. “A good target to aim for is one to two palm-sized portions of lean protein, such as chicken or turkey, 90-percent lean ground beef, strip steak, or loin chops,, and really prioritizing that over more processed proteins such as hot dogs or higher-fat burgers.”
Load up on vegetable and fruit sides. The best thing about a cookout (aside from the great company, of course) is the variety of sides that you can offer if you’re hosting, or bring with you if you’re a guest. While options such as mac and cheese or pasta salad may make your mouth water, save the most room on your plate for vegetable- and fruit-forward dishes.
“Think of it as an opportunity to up your fruit and veggie intake,” Landicho says. “Try grilled veggies, fresh salad options, fruit salad or grilled pineapple, watermelon–all of these delicious, summery foods.” Not only will you get a good dose of fiber to keep you full, but you’ll also get added hydration–which you need during the hot and humid months (or if you’re drinking alcohol.)