Prepare healthy summer meals

Grilling is one of the most gratifying parts of summer.  It is a time for family and friends to gather and enjoy good food and company.  It is also a great time to encourage outdoor activities in the place of couch-sitting and TV-watching.  Grilling also presents the opportunity to prepare healthier, mouth-watering meal options.  That’s right – you can still have those big summer cookouts and maintain your diet.

Grilling can help you prepare healthier meals than other types of cooking because you don’t have to use fattening oils.  You should take full advantage of any opportunity to prepare healthy, grilled meals.  Consider the following so that you can make better decisions about what dishes to prepare for your summer cookout.

Prepare leaner main dishes
When most people think of grilling or a cookout, they imagine burgers, hotdogs, ribs and things of the like.  For a healthier grilling experience, try turkey burgers and garden burgers in the place of beef.  For other main selections, consider skinless chicken breasts and fish instead of hotdogs, ribs and steaks.

Select healthier sides
This summer, avoid heavy sides, such as potato salad, cole slaw and macaroni salad, that pack on calories.  Instead, prepare lighter, healthier sides such as a medley of grilled veggies such as zucchini, peppers and tomatoes.  You can even get creative and prepare vegetable skewers.   A fresh, classic house salad is always a great side for any meal. Grilled corn on the cob and pineapple skewers can be big crowd-pleasers as well.

Choose healthy extras and condiments
Be conscious of even the extra items that you use to make your grilled meal complete.  For instance, use whole wheat buns instead of white buns, and choose fat-free dressings and light vinaigrettes and oils to top your salads.  The healthiest beverage to accompany any meal is a nice glass of ice water.  However, should you enjoy other beverages, try to choose those that are lower in sugar and calories.

Grilling out can be the perfect way to spend your summer evenings.  Just be sure to keep your weight loss and weight maintenance goals in mind when selecting dishes to prepare.