Easy ways to incorporate more fruits and veggies at your next cookout or tailgate

(BPT) – After months of social distancing, many people are eagerly gathering with friends and family again. Whether it’s for a barbecue, cookout or tailgating party, start planning a get-together with people you love and celebrate with some good food that’s nutritious too.

The pandemic has changed the way many Americans perceive their health. As a result, some people might be looking to add more fruits and veggies while keeping meat on the table. Luckily, adding cleaner options while keeping the sweet and savory flavors of cookouts isn’t hard to do.

A more nourishing way to celebrate

You can switch things up at your next cookout/tailgate by:

Offering more “flexible” meat options

Burgers, hot dogs and sausages are American classics, and Applegate offers 100% natural* and organic versions to provide crave-able classics, made with clean ingredients, for any cookout, tailgate or barbecue. Plus, for flexitarians (those who eat a mostly plant-based diet, but still eat meat) looking to consume more vegetables, explore APPLEGATE® WELL CARVED blended burgers, available in organic 100% grass-fed beef and organic turkey varieties that provide up to 1/3 cup of wholesome veggies per serving.**

These blended burgers also create 51% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a conventional beef burger, which is important for many consumers. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Applegate found that two-thirds of Americans are looking to make more environmentally responsible purchases and choices in their daily lives.

“There’s a continuing demand for organic, natural and humanely raised meat, as well as options that fit into certain lifestyles,” says Nicole Glenn, vice president of Brand Strategy and Innovation at Applegate. “Many of us have heard of a variety of ‘tarians’ including vegetarian and flexitarian. We’ve introduced another type, the Applegetarian – A person who consciously chooses clean, craveable meat for ethical*, environmentally responsible** and delicious reasons.”

Adding fruits and herbs to water

Alcohol, soda, sweet teas and lemonade are the beverage mainstays of summer get-togethers. However, many of these beverages can dehydrate you if you don’t balance out what you drink. To ensure people stay cool and hydrated while enjoying their food, consider batching pitchers of water infused with fresh fruits and herbs to jazz it up. Fruits such as lemon, strawberries, cucumbers, grapefruit, pineapple and watermelon pair nicely with herbs such as rosemary, mint, basil, coriander and fennel. For an infused water that carries a stronger bite, use your favorite club soda or seltzer as a base to mix with your preferred fresh fruit and herb.

Using veggies as condiments and toppings

According to the USDA’s dietary guidelines, adults should eat five to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, regardless of age, gender, physical activity and overall health. Instead of processed condiments, which can be loaded with artificial ingredients, top your burgers and hot dogs with store-bought or homemade condiments made from fresh fruit and veggies, such as guacamole, pico de gallo, chimichurri sauce, diced dill pickles and hummus. According to the same survey, 60% of Americans think fruits and vegetables are acceptable toppings on burgers and hot dogs. In addition to adding nutrients to your plate, they also pack delicious flavor.

Looking for a nutritious side to serve up at your next cookout or tailgate? Try making this hot dog corn salad recipe:


4 ears fresh corn, steamed

1/2 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

1/2 –1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

4 scallions, chopped

1 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 (TK-ounce) APPLEGATE ORGANICS® hot dogs

6 hot dog buns, toasted


Cut the kernels from the steamed ears of corn.

Place in a bowl.

Add the chopped bell pepper, jalapeño and scallions.

Add the vinegar and oil and toss well to combine.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grill the hot dogs according to package instructions.

Place into the toasted buns and top with some of the corn salad.

Serve at once.

* Animals raised with no antibiotics ever or growth promotants, on vegetarian feed with no animal by products (beef is 100% grass-fed) and with space to engage in natural behaviors and promote natural growth.

** Applegate requires all animals be raised without antibiotics. Applegate is committed to advancing agriculture and processing systems like organic, non-GMO and regenerative farming.