Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Five sides to bring to a cookout


While mayo and cream cheese may be a Labor Day cookout’s most abundant ingredients, fear not! There are healthy side dish options to add to the mix that will keep you feeling healthy and well-nourished this holiday weekend.

  1. Fresh salsa or guacamole with chips: It doesn’t get fresher than a straight-from-the-garden salsa. Get creative with peppers, corn, black beans, and fresh avocado, or check your local grocery store’s produce section for some freshly made options (we won’t tell if you put it in your own bowl and call it home-made).

  2. Colorful pasta salad: Pack your pasta salad with whole-wheat pasta and fresh veggies, then toss with a light, tangy vinaigrette. For a lemon-thyme vinaigrette, try pulsing ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons of chopped garlic, and 2 teaspoons of diced shallots in a blender. Place the blender on low speed and slowly add 1 cup of olive oil until well combined. Finish with 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest, and salt and pepper.

  3. Fresh or grilled veggie trays: Pack a plate with cool, fresh, crunchy vegetables and your favorite dipping sauces, or try grilling zucchini, squash, and mushrooms for a warmer option.

  4. Sliced fresh fruit: Lighten up on the greasy options by including a fresh fruit plate as a side. Watermelon wedges are always a summer party favorite!

  5. Shortcake bar with toppings: Satisfy your sweet tooth with a healthier option of topping shortcake bars with fresh berries, chocolate ships, or a tangy berry compote.

What are your healthy cookout must-haves?

Watch our cooking videos to get more recipe ideas.