Hey Angels and Alphas,
If you’re someone who is on a weight loss journey and you’re trying to eat healthy, one cookout can feel like a massive challenge with all the temptations that can set you up for an instant cheat day.
So here’s a helpful reminder: Summer cookouts don’t have to reflect your everyday eating patterns and they should be used as times of enjoyment. But even on a summer barbecue, any move to lighten up your plate can be a big win.
Instead of stressing out over your bad food choices, you can just swap a few heavy sides like the mayo-based salads and sugary baked beans for some more flavorful homemade picks. This way, you can fully enjoy yourself and then impress your family and friends with some of your culinary masterpieces.
Here are 8 summer barbecue sides you can make at home that are both healthy and delicious…
CABBAGE SLAW AND KALE WITH MAPLE DIJON VINAIGRETTE
You can’t spell barbecue without zingy slaw. Rich vitamin C which protects your skin and gives you filling fiber, this Cabbage Slaw and Kale with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette will make for a great summer side or a topper for sandwiches. Just whip it together and let it marinate for a few hours.
CHOPPED SUMMER SALADS WITH AVOCADO, CORN, STRAWBERRIES, AND ASPARAGUS
The easiest way to add both flavor and extra nutrients to your cookout spread is to just make a big salad full of your favorite seasonal produces. A beautiful chopped summer Salad will fit the bill with creamy avocado, sweet corn, asparagus, strawberries, fresh basil, some feta cheese, and a simple lemon vinaigrette. For more fresh picks that are full of nutrients, just buy produce from your local market.
FETA MIND SALAD WITH WATERMELON
This feta mind salad with watermelon is filled with hydrating foods that contain healthy vitamins such as vitamin A and C as well as antioxidants like beta carotene and lycopene. This could reduce your risk of chronic disease by helping protect your body from free radicals. It’s a great last-minute go-to side because it’s just so easy to make when you already have some watermelon cut up. Just substitute goat cheese for feta for a much stronger taste or add some thinly sliced red onions for extra spice.
JICAMA CARROT SLAW
Jicama slaw is a great pre-made dish you can mix up very quickly and use for a lot of guest-favorite meals. If you’re somewhat new to it, jicama (which is pronounced like hih-kuh-muh) is a crunchy, sweet veggie that tastes like apple. You can easily find the freshest ones in Asian and Latino supermarkets. Paired with some carrots, you have a vegan and oil-free slaw that’s abundant in healthy antioxidants.
CILANTRO JALAPENO HUMMUS
You can spice things up with a small summary twist on your traditional hummus. Cilantro jalapeno hummus is made from tahini, olive oil, chickpeas, cilantro, and fresh garlic – simple as that. All of these ingredients will contain nutrients and further promote a healthy gut, heart, and immune system.
VEGGIES WITH GREEK YOGURT RANCH DRESSING
Ranch dressing is a staple in many summer cookouts. But most of the salad dressings are high in sodium, sugar, and saturated fat, making them some of the worst store-bought items… which you’re much better off making at home. Here’s where homemade Greek yogurt ranch dressing comes in.
It’s high in protein, low in carbs, and it serves up so much calcium and gut-friendly probiotics so it’s much more nutritious than usual celery dips. Just add half a teaspoon of taco seasoning or chili powder and you’ll give it a southwest-style twist.
EDAMAME AVOCADO & POTATO SALAD
Potato salad is always a crowd-pleaser. But it’s often packed with mayo or bacon which makes it far from the healthiest dish on the table. For a healthier and more delicious alternative, you can try an edamame avocado potato salad that features cucumbers, edamame, potatoes, avocado, and a mix of fresh herbs. It’s loaded with plant-based nutrients and healthy fats, so it beats mayo-based salads in both taste and nutrition.
WALNUT SALAD AND BROCCOLI
Instead of the same-old side salad, try a walnut salad with broccoli. All you need are five ingredients and you can throw together a meal that packs a real nutritional punch. Broccoli and red onion will fill you up with satiating fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C, and the walnuts will provide a filling source of polyunsaturated fats.