10 Unhealthy Cookout Foods (Slideshow)

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If you want to eat healthy this summer, watch out for these diet-bombing cookout foods
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10 Unhealthy Cookout Foods

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If you want to eat healthy this summer, avoid these 10 unhealthy cookout foods.

Barbecue Sauce

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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

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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 Islands). Serve your greens with a squeeze of fresh citrus juice, a sprinkle of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil instead.

Fatty Cuts of Steak

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Choose lean cuts of steak without visible, marbled fat and then marinate them in a simple, healthy, homemade marinade for lots of delicious flavor. As an added bonus, the marinade can help break down the muscle fibers, making your steak more tender.

Fried Chicken

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Ditch the heavy breading this summer and try a grilled skinless chicken breast or thigh. 

Hamburgers

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Hamburgers are a big part of summer cookouts, but they don’t have to be unhealthy. Use lean beef — 91 to 94 percent fat-free — or try a turkey burger or homemade vegetable patty.  You can also skip the cheese and load your burger with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles instead. 

Hot Dogs

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Skip the jumbo dogs, Polish sausage links, and bratwurst; opt for light beef or turkey franks instead. Then, keep the toppings simple: chopped onions, mustard, and relish all make great, healthy choices.

Ice Cream

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If you’re trying to eat healthier, skip ice cream and ice cream bars and opt for healthy one-ingredient sorbet instead — just freeze berries or bananas and then purée in the food processor until smooth.

Mayonnaise-Based Salads

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Coleslaw and other mayonnaise-dressed salads (like pasta, macaroni, or potato salad) can add lots of fat and calories to your cookout. If you want the same creamy consistency, try using nonfat Greek-style yogurt instead. Better yet, opt for vinegar-dressed coleslaws and salads. 

Pies and Cakes

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Skip the sugary cakes, cupcakes, and pies. Summer is the perfect time to serve fresh fruit for dessert. There are few things as refreshing as a crisp, cold wedge of watermelon after a barbecue!

Potato Chips

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We all know that potato chips are loaded with salt and fat, so why add serve them alongside other potentially diet-bombing foods like hamburgers or hot dogs? Instead, try crunchy whole-wheat pita chips with hummus or whole-grain tortilla chips with homemade salsa or guacamole.