Healthy Recipes For Your Summer Cookout

Summer is the season for cookouts, but unfortunately the classic barbeque menu doesn't benefit your joints, much less your waistline. Typical cookout foods, like greasy burgers, mayo-heavy side dishes, and sugary, high-calorie desserts, may trigger joint aches and tenderness.

Don't worry, you can still enjoy your cookout, without hurting your joints. There are plenty of food options that are far more nutritious, but just as delicious.

Main Course

  • Salmon: Salmon is rich in B vitamins and omega-3s, the healthy fatty acids that may help inhibit inflammation. The Arthritis Foundation recommends eating a 3- to 6-ounce serving of salmon or other fatty fish two to four times a week. Lightly coat the salmon fillets in olive oil and season with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and minced onion.
  • Portobello Mushrooms: Low in fat and cholesterol and high in fiber, copper, and other vital minerals, Portobello mushrooms are a nutritional powerhouse. Marinate the mushrooms in a mixture of equal parts olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice.
  • Grass-fed Beef: If you're keen on serving red meat at your cookout, then opt for grass-fed organic beef. Grass-fed beef is higher in omega-3s and antioxidants, compared to grain-fed beef, and can serve as a healthier alternative.

Side Dishes

  • Vegetable Kabobs: Kabobs are easy to whip up and can help you get your daily serving of veggies. Use your favorite vegetables, like onion, summer squash, zucchini, and tomato. Marinate them in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, and minced garlic before tossing them on the grill.
  • Greek Pasta Salad: Combine cooked whole wheat pasta with chopped tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, chopped onion, minced garlic, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese. Season with pepper, basil, and oregano, and dress with extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Apple Salsa: Store-bought salsas are often teeming with sodium and preservatives. Create your own summer salsa instead. Combine diced apples with diced onion, diced jalapeno, diced bell pepper, cilantro, lime juice, and honey. Season with ground black pepper to taste, and serve with whole wheat crackers.


  • Grilled Bananas: A rich source of potassium and magnesium, bananas are a superfood you want in your diet. For a light dessert, cut the banana in half length-wise and grill on both sides until golden brown. Serve with blueberries and a dollop of whipped cream.
  • Fresh Fruit With Frozen Yogurt: Frozen yogurt is a good low-fat alternative to ice cream and comes in a variety of flavors. Serve frozen yogurt with fresh fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pineapple, and kiwi.
  • Popsicles: Combine diced fruit, like kiwi, pineapple, melon, and berries with fresh fruit juice. Fill 5-ounce cups and insert craft sticks into each. Let them sit in the freezer for a few hours, until frozen and firm. Run the cups under warm water for a few seconds to remove the popsicles from the cups before serving.

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