Healthy Outdoor Eating Article -
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Healthy Outdoor Eating

With the wonderful aromas of smoky foods wafting in the air, summer is the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors!

A look at the nutritional profile of some of the old standbys, however, may be all the convincing you need to cook differently this summer:

  • A grilled cheeseburger (4 ounces) weighs in at a hefty 14 grams of fat for 300 calories with a whopping 610 mg count of sodium. 
  • A hot dog (3.5 ounce) clocks in at 15 grams of fat, 240 calories and 480 grams of sodium. 
  • Sides of coleslaw (1/2 cup) have 11 grams of fat and 114 calories.
  • Potato chips have 12 grams of fat per 1 ounce.

Abandoning the ubiquitous greasy fare in favor of lighter, healthier foods will do your body good. Try including smoke-touched vegetables and salads, delectably moist chicken, exquisite seafood and more. Making outdoor food that is not only healthy but tastes great is easier than you may think. Here are a few suggestions to get your food tasting delicious: 

  • Marinate, marinate, marinate. The easiest and healthiest way to make your food shine is to infuse flavor through a tasty marinade. Instead of slathering too sweet barbeque sauce on everything, use citrus juices, wines, broths, small amounts of good quality oils, vinegars, low sodium soy sauces, herbs and spices to marinate poultry, meat and seafood. By letting foods marinate first rather than just adding a sauce at the end of the cooking time the food gets the opportunity to absorb lots of flavor. Meats and poultry should marinate for at least 1 to 2 hours while fish and veggies need only 1 hour. 
  • Cook with lower fat cuts of beef, poultry and seafood. Swap that steak for salmon! Make a burger from lean ground beef mixed with some ground turkey to lower the fat content.
    Grill lots of vegetables. Almost every vegetable can be grilled! All that you'll need is a light marinade or a light brush of oil as you grill. 
  • Prepare more fresh salads than mayonnaise drenched slaws and potato salads. Lighten creamy salads with lower fat mayonnaise and by substituting vinegars for the mayonnaise. 
  • Serve a healthy bean dip like hummus with a pile of pita bread for an appetizer. You would be amazed at how much fat and calories are in "those few" chips you munched before the main dish arrived! 
  • No time to marinate? Tie together long branches of fresh rosemary and use them as basting brushes. Dip the brush-ends into a little olive oil and brush the oil on your foods as it grills. The robust flavor of fresh rosemary adds a zing to your dishes.

Creative outdoor cooking is a gift to your taste buds and will (perhaps) keep you on task with your commitment to stay fit and healthy!

Apr. 10, 2010 8:29 pm
Jul. 5, 2010 6:22 pm
Thanks sooo much for adding the 'Diabetic Friendly' page! It will be very useful.
Apr. 12, 2012 12:04 am
I am new to the "healthy" way of eating, but loving all the new ways I can eat that have new flavors and ideas. I don't have to feel guilty anymore when feeding my family and it is all yummy too. I found that "coconut palm sugar" is comepletely healthy even for diabetics & can be used for regular cooking too. I found that I can make dairy free whipping cream from coconut milk & 1/4 cup maple syrup per can or with coconut palm sugar. There is so much yummy healthy stuff that I wonder why it took getting ill to find it all out. :D Happy healthy eating.
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