The mouthwatering taste of grilled foods, the indulgence of rich desserts and the joy of entertaining with family and friends — a cookout is always a crowd-pleaser, no matter the time of year. The food and fun make for a memorable time, but sometimes all those savoury sauces, scrumptious salads and succulent sweets can be a little heavy. Fortunately, you can cut calories and lighten up your menu without sacrificing taste.
Try these five ideas at your next cookout for lighter foods bursting with flavour.
Go lean: Hamburger and red meat can be high in fat content and calories. When grilling meat, opt for leaner varieties, such as chicken breasts, turkey burgers or fish. Guests will love the variety. If you just can’t forgo the classic American hamburger, look for leaner meat such as a 90-10 ground mix.
Skip the barbecue sauce: A cookout without barbecue sauce? It can be done. Try marinating or rubbing spices on meats and sides instead. For example, citrus juice, olive oil, and chopped fresh herbs are a healthier marinade for chicken or fish that brings out natural flavours.
Cut sugar in desserts: Bake with, a zero-calorie sweetener. Try replacing about half the sugar in any of your favourite baking recipes with a zero-calorie sweetener to cut calories and reduce sugar, while still achieving the proper browning, rising and caramelising desired.
Think outside the bun: Iceberg and butter lettuce are smart alternatives for buns for those who want to cut calories or have gluten sensitivities. If you do want to include buns in your menu, opt for whole grain rather than plain old white ones.
Drink up: Soda, punch, blended frozen drinks, and adult cocktails are packed with calories. Swap or add in flavoured water to the menu for a light and refreshing alternative. Fill pitchers with water, ice, and add in flavour enhancements, such as sliced lemons, cucumbers, strawberries and raspberries.