Be a Healthier Host: Cookouts

Use our tips and lightened-up versions of classic cookout fare to throw a backyard bash that your guests will love (and you can feel good about).

Potato Salad in a light green dish on a white washed tabletop with dishes of slice fruite, sandwiches and macaroni salad

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Food Network

Tara Donne, Food Network

Want to host a cookout without busting a gut for bikini season? Use our tips and lightened-up versions of classic alfresco fare to throw a backyard bash that your guests will love and feel good about.

5 Ways To Keep the Calories Under Control
  • Go light on the apps. Pick only two starters so everyone doesn’t fill up -- we like chicken wings and chips & salsa.
  • Drink responsibly. People tend to drink more when cooking out, especially if it’s hot. Have lots of ice–cold (and calorie-free) sparkling water and pitchers of lemon water at the ready.
  • Offer vegetarian options. Try grilled vegetable sandwiches or veggie burgers.
  • Serve fewer sides. Just like the apps, pick two favorite side dishes. This way your guests won’t be tempted to try six different things.
  • Save room for dessert! Serve small desserts like cookies or cupcakes along with a big fruit salad.
Meal Makeovers

Our made-over versions of picnic favorites are so good, no one will know they’re lightened up.

TELL US: How do you host a healthier cookout?

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »

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