While meat is often the star of any cookout, sauces and sides really round out a meal cooked on the grill. Making these items at home is easy. Plus homemade options allow you to boost nutrition while avoiding extra sodium, sugar and saturated fat.
Barbecue sauce is a cookout staple, but most bottled sauces have between 300 to 500 milligrams of sodium per 2 Tablespoon serving! Other sauces often high in sodium include ketchup, sriracha and even mustard. While adding flavor, too much sodium can cause issues with maintaining a healthy blood pressure. If you are using a store-bought sauce, you may be able to decrease the salt used to flavor your meat by using the sauce for flavor instead. Or, make your own barbecue sauce at home. Typically, you can decrease the salt by half in a recipe without noticing much of a difference.
Barbecue sauce and other sauces like it can also contain added sugar. We are supposed to keep added sugar to less than 24-36 teaspoons a day. Buy “no sugar added” sauces when you can at the grocery store, or decrease the sugar in the recipe when making your sauce at home.
Sides are where your fresh produce can really shine! Take potato salad for instance. Though still feared by many, the white potato is actually loaded with nutrition and relatively low in calories. Just one medium potato provides 20 percent of our daily requirement for potassium and 30 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin C. Using fresh herbs to flavor your potato salad or other recipes can add more nutrients and flavor without adding more sodium.
So what about the mayo? While it adds creaminess to your recipes, mayonnaise also adds saturated fat, which we are trying to decrease to support heart health. When you buy mayonnaise at the grocery store, look for lower-fat options or options made with olive oil. When using mayonnaise in your recipes, reduce the amount you use or replace part of the amount with plain Greek yogurt. You can hardly tell the difference.