8 Unhealthiest Cookout Foods (Slideshow)

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You may not even know that many of the cookout foods that you enjoy can be swapped out for a healthier option
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Check the label on your store-bought barbecue sauce. Many of them are super high in sugar and sodium. Keep the sauce to a minimum or try making your own to ensure healthy ingredients are used. 


Sugary Barbecue Sauce

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Check the label on your store-bought barbecue sauce. Many of them are super high in sugar and sodium. Keep the sauce to a minimum or try making your own to ensure healthy ingredients are used. 


Mayonnaise-based Salads

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Pasta, macaroni, and potato salads are full of heavy and thick mayonnaise-based dressings. Instead, use a nonfat Greek-style yogurt for the base. You can also use a light, citrus dressing with olive oil and fresh herbs.

Ranch Dressing

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For dipping, avoid the sour cream and onion dip along with the ranch dressing. Try guacamole and salsa instead. For salad dressings, use a light vinaigrette and stick to the dark leafy greens for the healthiest salad options. 

Fatty Steak Cuts

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Choose lean cuts of steak without visible, marbled fat like London broil, skirt steak, top sirloin, or filet mignon. Trim the fat before you marinate and grill it to get the healthiest piece. 

Breaded and Fried Chicken

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Ditch the heavy breaded and fried chicken this summer and try a grilled, skinless chicken breast or thigh. Skip the heavy, buttery marinades and use a light olive-oil based one instead.

Hot Dogs

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Skip the jumbo dogs and instead opt for light beef or turkey franks. Also, choose a whole wheat bun. Don’t glob on the chili and cheese, just keep it simple with mustard and relish. Skip the Polish sausage links and Bratwurst and choose a reduced-fat sausage link instead that is part poultry instead of pork. 

Hamburgers

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Hamburgers are a big part of summer cookouts, but they don’t have to be unhealthy. Use beef that is ground sirloin or lean — 94 to 91 percent fat-free. Or, instead of a beef burger, try a turkey burger or even a vegetable patty.  You can also try cutting out the cheese and opting for fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles instead. Skip the mayonnaise and stick to the ketchup and mustard. Choose a whole wheat bun, or even a lettuce wrap.

Pies and Cakes

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Skip the cakes smothered in frosting and the sugary pies. It’s best to stick to fresh berries, which are as sweet as candy since they’re in season in the summer months anyway. And of course, you can never go wrong with slices of fresh watermelon or cantaloupe.