10 Ways to Host a Healthy Cookout

Summer is in full swing, and one of the best way to make some memories over the warmer months is inviting friends and family over to break some bread, share some laughs, and enjoy activities in the sun.

Hosting a backyard patio party can be fun, but let’s face it, it can also be hectic. From trying to figure out a menu that will satisfy everyone’s taste buds, to ensuring the house is in order for company; organizing a summer gathering can be a daunting task.

Then, there’s also the need to keep everyone well-fed, while also ensuring there is a wide variety of healthy options at hand. While you and your loved ones are indulging in all that summer has to bring, a BBQ gathering doesn’t have to affect your waistline or your healthy lifestyle.

Below are ten ways to host a healthy cookout.

Break out the grille

It’s a well-known fact that barbequing is a healthier way to cook up your meats, so firing up the grill will not only keep your house a bit cooler by doing the cooking outside, but it is also a healthier alternative when it comes to preparing meals. Still, it’s important to note that BBQing “muscle” meat like fish, pork, chicken and beef over heat can create carcinogens referred to as heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Studies in the past have linked HCAs to bladder, lung, breast, pancreatic, stomach, as well as colorectal cancers. To decrease the exposure to these harmful HCAs, avoid placing meat directly on flames, flip them more frequently, and place meat in a microwave for about two minutes before laying them on the grill; this decreases high heat. Additionally, ensure to remove any blackened or charred areas on the meat before eating or serving them to guests.

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Serve a light appetizer before the main meal

Before you even start grilling, offer up some healthy appetizers to guests so they aren’t ravenous when it comes to the main meal. Being overly hungry will only cause everyone to over-indulge. Lay out some assorted veggies with hummus or fruits with low-fat yogurt for you and your guests to snack on while waiting for dinner. Fruits and veggies taste so much better in the summer, and you can find a wide selection at your local farmer’s market.

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