10 Unhealthy Cookout Foods
If there's one thing you’d like to avoid during the summer, it's gaining weight. Whether you’re out to look great in your bathing suit while you’re lounging on the beach or hoping to have plenty of energy for outdoor adventures and day trips, you don’t want to feel weighed down during the sunny summer months. Though some summer eating habits are good for us (like eating more fruits and vegetables via salads, juices, and smoothies), other habits aren't quite as nutritious. One of the most common ways we bomb our summer diets? Having a cookout.
There are lots of healthy foods you can serve at your barbecue, but some of our favorite recipes are loaded with unhealthy fats, excess calories, and added sugar. Oftentimes, we make cookout foods even unhealthier by serving them with loads of sugary condiments (like ketchup or barbecue sauce) or by brushing grilled foods with calorie-laden sauces and marinades.
As a general rule, try to avoid foods whose ingredient lists are unnecessarily long (why does American cheese need 15 ingredients? Cheese-making only requires a handful of ingredients) or that contain ingredients that are difficult to pronounce (what is tert-Butylhydroquinone, anyway?). By eating foods that are less processed and closer to their natural states, you'll avoid lots of added salt, fat, and sugar — and a number of the least healthy cookout options.
If you’re looking for more guidance, don’t worry. We've got a list of 10 unhealthy cookout foods. Keep this list handy so that the next time you’re at a barbecue you can eat these foods in moderation (or avoid them altogether) and stay healthy and fit this summer.
Check the label on your store-bought barbecue sauce; many brands are high in sugar and sodium. Keep the sauce to a minimum or try making your own so that you can control the amount of salt and sugar.
Creamy Salad Dressings
If you’re serving salad at your cookout, don’t make it unhealthy by topping it with loads of creamy salad dressing (like ranch, Caesar, or Thousand Island). Serve your greens with a squeeze of fresh citrus juice, a sprinkle of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil instead.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.