Tips + Tricks To CHAARGify Your Summer Cookout

Summer sunshine gives us the opportunity to spend plenty of time outside soaking up some vitamin D + what better way to celebrate that than sharing some smiles ++ #EEEEEATS with your friends?! While hosting an awesome summer cookout sounds like a lot of fun in theory, actually putting together the event takes some serious time + effort. Not to worry — we’ve got you covered : ). Check out these tips + host your own *healthy* summer cookout [post-CHAARG BOOTYCAMP meetup anyone?!] —

PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME //

 Just like your weekly meal prep, planning for a cookout will take some thought. Cooking for yourself versus cooking for a group is a totally different ball game, so you first need to determine how many of your closest CHAARGies will be in attendance. Instead of making all of the food yourself encourage your guests to bring a *healthy* appetizer//side dish to share. Once you’ve decided who will be bringing what [Google Drive is your friend ; )], head to your local farmer’s market a few days beforehand for fresh + seasonal ingredients. For those of you who live close to a CHAARG chapter, check out our list to find a farmer’s market near you!

GET TO DA GRILL //

Nothing says summer quite like food on the grill *tongue out emoji.* If you don’t have your dad’s commercial-sized grill complete with a smoker + sear station — fear not. You can purchase a portable grill from your local hardware store for less than a pair of lululemon leggings. Depending on the size of your cookout, a larger grill may be more appropriate — in this case, you can actually rent one! From burgers to zucchini you can grill up just about anything — don’t be afraid to get creative ; ) Try our grilled basil watermelon or peaches topped with ice cream for dessert!

CHAARGIFY COOKOUT *STAPLES* //

When we think of cookouts chips + dip, ground beef burgers + coolers filled with cheap beer immediately come to mind. Rather than going the *traditional* route, create healthier versions of your favorite cookout foods. Use Greek yogurt instead of mayo//sour cream in dips + replace the usual chips + crackers with a veggie tray. Instead of a cheese tray [okay, maybe *in addition to* ; )]  having homemade salsa + our personal fav — mango peach guacamole [seriously, this is a guac game-changer] will give your guests tasty, but healthier snacking options. Sip on *healthier* alcoholic beverages or mocktails. ++ don’t forget about the sweets! Try these baking substitutes in your cookies + brownies. The possibilities are endless!

CREATE THE RIGHT VIBES //

Set out some lawn chairs, light up a bonfire + cue up your favorite playlist. Depending on the time of day, have a few bottles of sunscreen or bug spray [++ citronella candles]  out to share + keep your guests comfortable. Don’t have a pool? A volleyball//badminton net, bocce ball set or cornhole boards [you can actually make your own if you’re feeling crafty ; )] will keep everyone entertained in between dishes. It’s time to relax + have fun — because that’s what summer is for, right?!

We strongly recommend connecting with CHAARG girls in your area, especially during CHAARG BOOTYCAMP + hosting a summer cookout is the perfect way to do so! Have any tips we missed? Share them with us in the comments below. ++ We can’t wait to see your summer cookout celebrations on Insta ; )

++ Jackie [@jackie_inchaarg] // VirtCHAARG Cleveland

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