Jaclyn Rymer, NBC-HWC
National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach

Labor Day weekend is almost here!! It’s the last long weekend of the summer, the perfect end of the summer party spent with family and friends!  Do you plan to cookout? Spend the day at the beach and picnic? Have a lake day and BBQ?  Whatever fun activities your day brings you, hopefully it’s spent soaking up some sunshine and cooking out the true Florida way!

To help you prepare for your weekend, here is a list of some favorite healthy cookout recipes!

Fruit + Veggie Trays

Every cookout calls for fruit and veggie platters.  For the fruit tray, keep it simple and refreshing! It’s something to graze on while those burgers and skewers are on the grill and when you’re in between swims.  Pick a variety of your favorite vibrant fruits and berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, watermelon and kiwi!

For the veggies, again, pick your favorites! This one has julienned bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes. But maybe you like sugar snap peas? Or broccoli? Or celery? Do what sounds good to you!

Now that we’ve covered that, let’s talk about what to dip these veggies in, starting with hummus! It’s great because it’s packed with plant protein and fiber, creating the perfect balance to the complex carbs found in the vegetables. As delicious as hummus is, not everyone feels the same about it.  For the non-hummus lovers, how about a Greek Yogurt Dill Veggie Dip! It’s really quite simple: mix together Greek Yogurt, garlic powder, onion powder, dill, salt and pepper. And while we’re at it, a third option is guacamole!! My secret ingredient is to add honeydew to it, shhhh. That touch of sweet completes the flavor profile, making the perfect guac!

Hummus:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1.5 cups cooked
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cumin, plus additional for garnish
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Cayenne pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Add the chickpeas, tahini, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt and cumin to a food processor. Start pureeing, adding about 1/4 cup of water as it spins, with more water if necessary to get the consistency you like. Press down the sides as needed.
  2. Scoop the finished hummus into a serving bowl and sprinkle with cayenne pepper, cumin, and fresh pepper
  3. If you’d like to get a little fancy, roast some of your chickpeas: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss a few dry chick peas in olive oil and salt and roast for 20-30 minutes. When finished, sprinkle the roasted chickpeas with a pinch of paprika, then place them on top of the hummus for some added texture!

Greek Yogurt Dill Dip:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Dill, dried or 1 tbsp fresh
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 Lemon, Juice of
 1/2 tsp Onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Sea salt
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, plain fat free

Guacamole:

Ingredients:

  • 2 avocados, mashed
  • 4 ripe avocado
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/3c honeydew, diced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • Pinch of salt

Frozen Watermelon Lemonade

Every cookout calls for a cool beverage, and what’s a cookout without watermelon?! These frozen watermelon lemonades are the perfect healthy thirst quencher to cool you off in this Florida heat.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lemons
  • 1/4c honey
  • 2c cold water
  • 4c frozen watermelon
  • Ice for texture

Instructions:

  1. Juice lemons (I usually throw about one whole lemon in for the added nutrients in the peel!)
  2. Combine lemon juice and honey in a blender until smooth
  3. Cut watermelon into cubes
  4. Pour in water and frozen watermelon cubes and blend
  5. Add ice for desired texture and enjoy!

Avocado Corn Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad is one of those sides that just belongs at a cookout and it’s always a crowd pleaser!  This pasta salad is loaded with crisp vegetables and drizzled with a light and refreshing dressing that won’t weigh you down the way a mayo based dressing would!  See for yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 1c tomatoes, diced
  • 3c corn or 2 roasted corn on the cob
  • 3 avocados, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4c cilantro
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 c raw broccoli florets
  • 1 box (16oz) penne pasta (whole wheat, brown rice, or chickpea pasta)

Dressing:

  • 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • (Quick tip: use 1 c Italian salad dressing instead)

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, corn, avocado, red onion, cilantro, bell pepper and cooked pasta.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the dressing ingredients. Drizzle over the top and toss.

Black Bean Brownie Bites

These are the perfect amount of gooey and chocolatey!! Not only are they delectable, but they’re so easy to make and are loaded with nutrients! Instead of fussing with the mess of cutting brownies, pop the batter into mini muffin tins and bake them: easy to grab and go outside!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 c black beans (drained and rinsed) (250g after draining)
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder (10g)
  • 1/2 c organic oats 40g
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2c pure maple syrup (75g)
  • 1/4 c coconut oil 40g
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips (115-140g)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Combine all ingredients, except for the chocolate chips in a food processor, and blend until completely smooth.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips, then pour into a greased mini muffin pan (or 8×8 pan).
  4. Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes
  5. Enjoy!!!

Healthy Condiment Swaps

Now that you have some yummy healthy cookout recipes you can feel confident about, here are a few healthy condiment swaps you can slowly add in to further support your holiday healthy eating goals!  Consider this a list to work towards. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing or overwhelming. Just make one simple healthy swap at a time!

Mayo: Choose a “mayo” without high fructose corn syrup

Ketchup: Look for organic, no high fructose corn syrup

Mustard: Choose one with no artificial dyes

Pickles: Again, find one without artificial dyes

Ranch: Choose organic if you can!

Chips: Choose no artificial dyes, no msg, no GMOs, (organic is best!)

You’re all set! You’ve got heathy labor day recipes and some guidelines on choosing the necessary cookout condiments!  Consider this your guide to a healthy Labor Day cookout! Now go have a sun-filled, laughter-ridden holiday!

A little planning goes a long way! Taking the time to plan and prep lunches as a family provides peace of mind, knowing that your child is eating a healthy lunch while engaging children in long-term healthy eating behaviors.

Share with us!  Share your inventive ideas and popular foods that your child likes in their lunch.  HWO will help you eat right, stay fit, and enjoy life!

About the Author

Jaclyn Rymer is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, NBC-HWC. She has two Bachelor of Science Degrees: Hospitality Management and Restaurant and Foodservice Management, has a background in the culinary industry and was an elite athlete and coach. She is a resident of Winter Garden and now shares her passion for natural foods and healthy living with her health coaching clients.

She believes that a healthy lifestyle is about balance, and is passionate about helping her clients achieve sustainable wellness. Jaclyn works with clients virtually to create small changes that have a big impact on health, weight and energy.

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