Healthy Living

Healthy Options for Barbeques/Cookouts in the Summer (ideas and recipes)

Ah summertime, and the living’s easy – right? I don’t know about you, but the season of summer completely changes my mindset and I usually feel more at ease. The sun is out, vacations are planned, tans are happening, and there are more barbeques/cookouts than ever. Cookouts are wonderful for spending time with others and being outdoors, but when you are attempting to be frugal and healthy, they can be challenging. Don’t get me wrong, the food is delicious. The main concern is how you can make healthy choices when there are limited options…and not spend an arm and a leg for your side dish. Below are some healthy and wallet friendly options for the summer:

  • Fruit/Fruit Salad – Fruit can be a wonderful option to bring to a cookout. It can be both budget-friendly and healthy! If you are looking to do this, I would keep an eye out for when fruits are in-season vs. out-of-season, and what stores may have sales for their items.
  • Veggies and Hummus – Vegetables can be relatively inexpensive to bring along, especially when you accompany them with hummus. Rather than purchasing a pre-made vegetable tray from the grocery store, plan a little time to purchase and prepare your own vegetable tray.
    • Homemade Hummus vs. Store-bought hummus: I will say that I have always been someone who purchases hummus from the store..until this month. This past month I was looking at how to make hummus from scratch, and figured out it is simple and cheaper than purchasing in the grocery store! The batch I made was more than enough for me for an entire week, and I froze the remainder to use in the future. Between all of the items purchased, it cost me less than $8 to make about 3 weeks worth of hummus. When I have purchased hummus in the store, I usually go through about two large containers a week (costing about $8-$10), so this has saved me money on groceries! I would consider looking into this if you are a veggies and hummus lover like myself!
  • Cucumber Salad – Cucumber salad contains cucumbers (surpise!), tomatoes, onions, and olive oil accompanied by some seasonings (S&P and oregano, or whatever you think would taste best). This is truly an easy option to bring that will allow others to enjoy their vegetables as a side!
  • In general, salad – Salad can be made according to the chef, but generally contains an assortment of greens (lettuce, spinach, etc.), and then adding other vegetables, fruits, nuts, or cheese! Some may choose to pre-purchase the prepackaged salads from the grocery store, or you may consider doing it all yourself.

Always make sure to consider if there are individuals with allergies or dietary restrictions. What are some of your favorite things to bring to a cookout that are healthy too?

Tell us in the comments, and as always, if you have any questions, email us at

– CL

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