5 Tips for Surviving a Summer Cookout (with recipes!)

Classes are ending, the days are getting hotter, and it’s starting to feel more like summer – and that means time for barbecues! As much fun as it is, a cookout is still an event that is centered around foods that aren’t always on target with your health goals. Traditional barbecue favorites like hot dogs, chips and potato salad make it hard to stay on track with your diet, but here are some Summer Cookout Survival Tips:

  1. Choose the healthier options. Go for the chicken breast and salad instead of the burger. But if you’re going to have a burger, watch your condiments such as cheese or mayo, which can pack on unnecessary calories (a slice of cheese is 70-110 calories!) and definitely nix the chips and soda.
  2.  Bring a healthy side. Not only will you seem like the thoughtful guest you are, but you’ll also have at least one good side option, since those are far and few between. 
  3. Practice portion control. As the age old adage goes, everything in moderation. Yeah you love your neighbor’s potato salad, but a couple forkfuls is enough. And don’t hover by the snack table or you’ll eat much more than you mean to.
  4. Hydrate. Houston gets pretty hot this time of year, so you need to drink more water. A lot of people confuse hunger with thirst, which means you’ll end up eating more just because you’re thirsty.
  5.  Limit your alcoholic drinks. Although a lot of people would like to believe their drinks are calorie-free – they’re not. Yes, even your wine spritzer or light beer has on average about 100-120 calories per serving. Alcohol is also dehydrating and increases your appetite, which is why limiting your alcohol will help you stay on track. Check out some of our delicious low calorie drink options below!

 

DRINK. 

1. Skinny White Wine Spritzerfrom wearychef.com

Ingredients:
3-4 fresh strawberries diced
1/4 lime
2 oz. white wine
unsweetened lime-flavored sparkling water (i.e. La Croix)

Instructions:
Fill a tall glass halfway with ice.
Add wine and strawberries, and fill glass nearly full with seltzer. Squeeze in lime juice, and gently stir with a long spoon.
Serve with a skewer for eating the berries if desired.

2. Cucumber Cooler - from MinimalistBaker.com

Ingredients
1.5 oz gin (or 3 Tbsp)
4-6 cucumber slices
1/4 lime, sliced
4 oz diet tonic water
6 mint leaves
1 Tbsp sugar (optional)

Instructions
Add mint, lime, gin, sugar (if using) to shaker and muddle.
Add cucumber slices to shaker and shake vigorously.
Pour mixture over glass filled with ice and top with tonic water.
Stir, let set for a few minutes for the flavors to enhance and enjoy.

3. Skinny Watermelon Mojito - from peanutbutterandpeppers.com

Ingredients
1 cup watermelon, seeded roughly chopped
½ lime, juiced
4 mint leaves
ice
1 fl. oz. Bacardi Rum (use white rum)
sparkling water


Instructions
In a blender, process watermelon until liquefied. Pour into a glass.
In a small bowl, muddle together the lime juice and mint leaves. Pour over the top of the watermelon. Fill the glass with ice and top with rum and sparkling water.
Garnish with mint leaves and watermelon wedge if desired.
Note: If the water melon is not too sweet, add ½ tsp. of fine sugar.