Nothing says “summer” like a meal cooked on the grill and enjoyed outdoors. With the 4th of July holiday coming up and summer heat in full swing, we wanted to take you through how we shop for cookout staples, and some of our favorite brands.

Meat

Some might argue this is the most important part of a cookout. Whether you’re grilling burgers, chicken, hotdogs -- or all of the above -- here are some things to keep in mind when you’re shopping for your protein:
Beef: choose organic, and 100% grass-fed if possible. Trader Joe’s, Costco, and Whole Foods all have these options.
Chicken: should be organic, and ideally pasture-raised. Thrive Market is a great source for this.
Hot dogs: 100% grass-fed organic beef options are becoming more widely available like these from Whole Foods or these from Teton Waters Ranch, available at Costco.
If you’re looking for vegetarian or vegan options, Yeah Dawg vegan hot dogs, and Amy’s Organic California Veggie Burgers are both made with real-food ingredients

Buns

There are lots of sneaky ingredients hiding in packaged bread products. Look out for soybean oil, canola oil, preservatives such as calcium propionate, and sugar. We love:

Chips

The main ingredient in your chips should be potatoes, or corn if you’re going for a tortilla chip. Look for a small ingredients list - ideally just the potatoes/corn plus salt and oil. Avoid chips made with these oils if possible: canola, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, corn, hydrogenated oil and refined palm oil.
Some of our favorite chips are Late July Restaurant Style Tortilla chips, Kettle Brand Organic Sea Salt potato chips, or Siete potato chips or tortilla chip options.

BBQ Sauce

Condiments is another one of those foods where unhealthy ingredients often sneak in. Be on the lookout for lots of sugar (often in the form of high-fructose corn syrup), natural flavors, and sodium. Ideally, a serving of sauce would have less than eight grams of sugar and less than 10 percent of the daily value of sodium (230 milligrams). We really like the Noble Made sauces, and Tessemae's Matty's Organic BBQ Sauce
Looking for something sweet to finish things off? Check out our favorite Ice Cream Picks!
Cookouts are one of the best parts of summer, so get out there and celebrate the beautiful weather with some of your favorite foods on the grill. Throw these items in your cart when you shop to take the guesswork out of it, or bring the Trash Panda App with you to fact check your options. Visit us on Instagram to show us your #TrashPandaApproved finds!
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