How to Host A Healthy Summer Cookout

Written By Julie Paiva, CHHC


For most Americans, the 4th of July signifies, family, fun, community, patriotism, and FOOD.  With Independence Day falling midweek this year, its safe to assume that many of us will continue our festivities and backyard BBQ’s throughout the weekend.   While these events make for some of the best memories, the typical cookout foods like greasy hamburgers and hotdogs and sugary sweet tea and ice cream often leave us feeling not so well.  The key is to learn how to celebrate in a way that leaves you feeling energized, happy, and healthy.


Be the host.


One easy way to do this is by hosting the party yourself.  This leaves you in total control of the food, drinks and activities.   If you plan to host an event at your home this summer, check out some of these helpful tips.


1. Serve a lighter menu.


When it comes to food, there is simply no reason you can’t have a delicious spread that is also healthy for everyone. Grilling on the BBQ is a typical summer go-to. Do grass-fed burgers and/or white organic turkey meat burgers with lettuce buns. Grilled chicken is also great meat option. For sides, you can have grilled organic corn on the cob, veggie skewers, and a light summer salad. Put out some fresh fruit, veggies, Paleo friendly chips, fresh salsa and guacamole out to snack on throughout your event. Checkout this past post for the perfect cookout menu complete with recipes!


2.  Encourage healthier portions.


Obviously you can’t control how much your guests eat, but you can encourage them to eat light with a few simple tricks.  Using smaller plates and serving ware and prepping the meat into smaller portions, i.e. slider size burgers or split chicken breasts will help everyone put less on their plate and therefore less in their bellies as well.  No one wants to have that heavy feeling in their stomach especially when outside in the heat.


3. Keep water easily accessible.


Make sure you and your guests stay hydrated.  No matter what part of the country you live in, summer months are hot! Be sure to drink plenty of good clean water to keep your body from overheating. And if alcohol is being consumed, drinking water is even more important. As the host, you can even walk around periodically offering your guests a water bottle. Often times we are thirsty but don’t realize it when we are distracted having fun with friends. Not sure which kind to buy? Dr. Brown recommends spring water that is bottled at the source


4. Plan a group activity.


Start an active tradition.  Be it an annual kickball, volleyball, softball or a basketball tournament, a fun group activity is the perfect event to get your guests moving and having fun. You can also bring out the lawn games.  Maybe even ask your party guests to bring their favorite lawn game instead of a dessert. Then you can take turns trying out all the different games throughout your get together. Some favorites you might want to have on hand include croquet, bocce ball, frisbee, corn hole, and ladder ball.  Not only will these activities get everyone’s blood pumping and put them in a good mood, but it will also give you stories to share for years to come.


*Expert Hosting Tip*


Fireworks are a popular activity this time of year. While fireworks are fun and beautiful, it’s important to understand how dangerous they can be. Leaving fireworks to the professionals is best. No reason to ruin your day by a trip to the ER with a firework injury.


Most important is to enjoy the time spent with your loved ones and create some special memories for all!

Julie Paiva
Julie Paiva
Julie is a nutritional counselor with a degree in Holistic Health Coaching from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She also has a Bachelor’s Degree from Central Connecticut State University in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Science from Southern Connecticut State University. She has been giving one-on-one coaching sessions ever since earning her degree in 2013 and is passionate about helping others implement a holistic lifestyle!

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