Everything you need to know about throwing a perfect—and healthy—cookout

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Photo: Unsplash/Stephanie McCabe
Throwing an epic backyard barbecue—or even just inviting a few friends over on a summer Saturday to grill on your mini-patio—is virtually a mandated summer activity.

But eating clean and showing your friends a good time aren’t mutually exclusive. And no, you don’t have to stick to green salad and watermelon. All the barbecue classics lend themselves to a healthy makeover—you just have to know a few tricks.

From good-for-you cocktails, deliciously charred greens, and decadent (yet nutritious!) desserts, here’s what you need to craft the perfect menu.

Scroll down for tips on throwing the ultimate—and, yes, healthy—cookout.
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avocado cocktail
Photo: Countryman Press


Make your margaritas with avocado for a green juice-inspired variation on the classic cocktail. And if you’re looking for the perfect boozy bottle to bring to a barbecue, try orange wine—it’s taking over rosé’s spot on the trendy list this summer.

Photo: Minimalist Baker
Photo: Minimalist Baker


Yes, you can avoid both flavorless frozen veggie patties and processed meats. In fact, there are plenty of optionsKale burgers and yam burgers are delicious, but if it’s an unexpected flavor combo you’re after, opt for black bean cocoa burgers (pictured above!).

Photo: Breanna’s Recipe Box


No barbecue is complete without coleslaw, right? This vegan broccoli slaw will have everyone asking for your recipe. And don’t turn the grill off just yet—you can throw your veggies on there, too. Grilling greens is a trendy and delicious way to get more vegetables at your cookout. And if you really want to go above and beyond, throw this summer vegetable quinoa salad together for good measure.

Photo: Katherine Martinelli


No one will even notice when the ice cream truck comes singing by—they’ll be too busy drooling over your nice cream. Another foolproof way to conquer sweet tooth cravings is using frozen bananas to make delicious desserts; they can be incorporated into everything from ice cream sandwiches to frozen bonbons. Or, you can go the ketogenic route and go all-out with fat bombs, which are high-fat and low-sugar—yes, it’s healthy!

If you’ll be spending all afternoon outdoors grilling, you’ll want to make sure you lather on the SPF. And though those avocado cocktails are delicious, it doesn’t really count as staying hydrated. This spa water is a delicious compromise if you don’t want to give up flavor.

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