With summer just around the corner, you’ll soon be invited to tons of cookouts, bonfires, and other outdoor get-togethers with your friends. The sun will be shining, and you’ll be all excited to go catch up and relax. You’ll look forward to unwinding, tossing back a few drinks, and hitting up that food table. Then it hits you: the food table. It’s sure to be filled with processed junk like cupcakes, potato chips, cookies, and chip dips.
You might be scared you’ll never find something that fits your clean-eating lifestyle, but don’t worry! There are more options of clean foods at cookouts than you think!
For starters, remember that for special occasions, it’s ok to stray away from your clean eating. Just eat those sugary, processed foods in moderation. A little cupcake won’t hurt, and a few chips and dip won’t ruin your figure.
Now you’re ready to tackle that cookout head-on! Here are some tips to survive a summer cookout:
Plan ahead. If you know for sure you won’t be able to find something to eat at the cookout, eat before you go. You won’t even have to go near the food table if you’re already full when you arrive. If you don’t want to eat beforehand, bring a few things with you to eat. Bring a little lunch box with an apple, some carrot sticks, a handful of nuts, or any other clean foods you think you’ll want to eat.
Bring a healthy dish to share. Usually at cookouts, everyone is asked to bring a food to share, so why not make yours a clean dish you can enjoy too? Bring a fruit salad, veggie tray, corn on the cob, or a clean dessert.
Bring your own water. At most cookouts, there is usually pop and beer to drink, but not always water. Just in case there isn’t any water, it’s a good idea to bring your own.
Eat the meat. Beef patties are probably more clean than hotdogs, and turkey burgers and chicken breast are even better for you.
Avoid the white buns. If the only type of bun for your sandwich is white, don’t eat it. You don’t need all the extra refined carbs, and your burger will taste just fine without it.
Go easy on the condiments. Of course, it’s better not to eat any, but I know that can be hard to do (I love me some ketchup). Go ahead and load up your burger with mustard, tomato, lettuce, onion, and pickles, but lighten up with the cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup, and barbecue sauce.
Steer clear of mayonnaise-based salads. Macaroni salad and potato salad are common mayonnaise-based salads. Mayo is basically just fat, and mixing fat with refined carbs isn’t such a good idea for a clean eater.
Be on the lookout for clean foods. Fill your plate with fruit salad, raw veggies, corn on the cob, pickles, grilled peppers and onions, salsa, guacamole, beans, garden salad, and anything else that looks reasonably clean.
Choose dessert wisely. If you choose a cupcake, scrape half the frosting off to cut down the sugar. Strawberry shortcake? Say no thanks to the whipped cream. Eating an ice cream sundae? Add fruit and nuts as toppings instead of hot fudge.
Enjoy yourself! Don’t worry too much about eating a few not-so-clean foods while at the cookout. Have fun with your friends, and enjoy the nice weather.