The 5 "Healthy" Foods You Should Probably Avoid at Your Fourth of July Cookout

Updated 04/22/19
is bbq fattening
Simone Neufing/Stockfood

On a surface level, most of the barbecue food at your Fourth of July event might seem relatively healthy. After all, lean protein and salads are a pretty safe option when you're trying to make smart food choices, right? Unfortunately, Delish points out that a few of the dishes that are usually considered "healthy" are actually quite high in fat. 

Key offenders on their list include high-fat cuts of meat (especially those doused in barbecue sauce), high-carbohydrate potato salad, and processed store-bought dips. Even salads got a mention, thanks to the array of creamy dressings they're usually topped with. Trying to be healthy this Fourth of July? Steer clear of the common cookout foods below if you're sticking to a low-cholesterol, low-carb, and low-cal diet, plus some ideas on summer recipes to make instead. 

SLATHERED BBQ RIBS

unhealthiest cookout foods
Half Baked Harvest

Neither spareribs or baby back ribs fall into the USDA's guidelines for lean meat, Delish points out. Instead, opt for skinless chicken recipes or try a light fish dish. On the other hand, it's a special occasion so go ahead and indulge if you feel like it.

CORN ON THE COB, ALL DRESSED UP

healthiest cookout foods
Half Baked Harvest

Corn is a healthy option on its own, but not when it's slathered with butter, salt, and other toppings. Try cutting back on some of the toppings or consider a refreshing watermelon salad as an on-theme side dish instead. 

CREAMY POTATO SALAD

unhealthy cookout foods
Chelsea's Messy Apron

Sure, it might be called a salad, but watch out for this high-carbohydrate option. It's loaded with mayonnaise, which causes the nutritional content to dip. If you want something with a grain base for a filling yet nutritional salad, opt for quinoa or farro with a lighter dressing. 

CERTAIN CUTS OF STEAK

lean cuts of steak
Salt and Wind

Fatty cuts like a T-bone or rib-eye can contain almost 40 grams of fat. 

CHIPS AND DIPS

Healthy Fourth of July Tips
The First Mess

Some dips may seem healthy, especially when the hero ingredient is a vegetable, but oftentimes they are packed with saturated fats and refined sugars. Since we don't always know what's in them, it's best to opt for homemade over the store-bought variety.

Up next, take a look at these healthy-ish summer recipes for some yummy alternatives to make this Fourth of July,

This post was originally published on June 29, 2017, and has since been updated.

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