It’s that time of year again—summertime—which means it’s time for barbecues, summer get-togethers, and time with your friends and family. If you’re trying to eat healthy, though, summer can be a challenging time because there are so many tempting cold desserts and barbecued food that really isn’t all that good for our bodies. So, if you’re looking for some ideas on what to serve up at your next summer bash (without ignoring your health), here are 15 delicious and easy recipes.
15 Grilled Chicken And Veggie Skewers
Kabobs are the perfect grilled food for summer barbecues. The best thing about them is that you can put almost anything on a skewer and so you have endless possibilities. One great combination to try is the grilled chicken and vegetable skewer. This recipe includes zucchini, mushrooms, and peppers. It’s best to marinate the meat pieces the night before your party to allow the flavors to soak right in. Then, when you’re ready to grill it, add the vegetables and meat pieces onto a skewer, alternating as you go. After 15 minutes on the grill, your healthy and delicious dish will be ready. You can also make your own dip for the skewers. This recipe includes one made of yogurt, Sriracha sauce, lime juice, and a bit of mayo.
14 Apple Pecan Blue Cheese Salad
At every summer party, there should always be one giant bowl of salad on the table (after all, there are so many veggies in season). But, don’t just make a typical salad for your guests. Try an amazing apple, pecan, and blue cheese salad. The recipe calls for salad greens (you can use spinach), pecan halves, apples, dried cherries (or you can try dried cranberries instead) and blue cheese (feta or goat cheese can work as well). This salad already has so many flavors to it that you don’t really need dressing, but if you would like one anyway, it’s best to make your own. Luckily, the recipe includes a healthy dressing made with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon, and maple syrup. So delicious!
13 Grilled Mangos With Jalapeños
Besides the fact that they’re juicy and delicious, mangoes come with a bunch of health benefits. They have antioxidants that help to prevent cancer and they also clear up your skin, improve eye health (since they’re high in Vitamin A), and help lower your cholesterol (thanks to their high levels of fiber and Vitamin C). So, for your summer party, these grilled mangoes with jalapeños will make the perfect, healthy appetizer. Simply season peeled mango slices with black pepper, cayenne, salt, and olive oil and grill them for 2-3 minutes. Once they’re finished grilling, squeeze some lime juice on top, drizzle some sour cream over it, and top it off with jalapeños and cilantro. They’re so quick and easy to make; how can you resist?
12 Grilled Chicken Avacodo Burger
When we think of unhealthy foods, burgers are often at the top of our list. But, burgers don’t have to be unhealthy at all. The first step to building a healthy burger is to consider what type of meat you’re using and how you’re cooking it. Using lean chicken breast is a good start. Also, grilling a burger is healthier than frying it because grilling allows the excess fat from meat to drip away and you don't need all the extra oil and salt on your grilled foods. To make your burger even healthier, you can make a little slit in the chicken breast and add in some avocado (or you can spread avocado on the top and bottom once it’s done cooking like they do in this recipe). Sandwich the meat between two whole grain buns, and you’ve got yourself a winner.
11 Skinny Peach Cobbler
While it may not be the healthiest thing on this list, a skinny peach cobbler has no cholesterol and almost no saturated fat, but has more calcium than a traditional peach cobbler. Peaches are also a good source of fiber and are rich in minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium. One serving of this recipe has 280 calories, which is way less than in that medium Frappuccino you had this morning. For this satisfying summer dessert, you’ll need Bisquick Heart Smart mix, cinnamon, fat-free skim milk, sliced peaches, sugar, lemon juice, and oil. You can also add low-fat vanilla ice cream (or frozen yogurt) to spruce things up a bit. Though the recipe takes some time (an hour and a half), it’s well worth the wait!
10 Frozen Yogurt Fruit Bites
Frozen yogurt fruit bites are one of the easiest summer treats you could make. Simply take some baking cups and fill them with yogurt (Greek or any other light yogurt of your choice will do). Then, add in your fruits (blueberries, raspberries, sliced strawberries, diced mangoes, or diced peaches taste divine with this), pushing the fruits into the yogurt. Place the cups in the freezer for about three hours and once firm, remove the baking cups and they’re ready to serve! It’s a great way to cool down, enjoy the vitamins and nutrients from the fruits, and not feel guilty at all! Both kids and adults will be asking for more (so be sure to make a lot of them). You can read the step-by-step instructions here.
9 Shrimp Cocktail
Seafood and summer just go together. The good thing is that seafood tastes amazing and is also healthy for you (unlike so many things in life). Add some fancy seafood dishes, like shrimp cocktails, to your next summer jam and you’ll be sure to leave an impression on your guests. But, take it a step further and make this mouthwatering Mexican shrimp cocktail. The recipe calls for lots of veggies such as onions, garlic, cilantro, and horseradish in addition to avocado. It’s really simple to make these and you can also dress them up to make them look extra fancy by putting them in shot glasses or martini glasses with garnish. Shrimp is an excellent source of minerals and nutrients such as Vitamin B12 and selenium (important for cognitive functioning and a healthy immune system).
8 Grilled Cinnamon-Covered Pineapple
There are so many benefits of eating pineapples: they aide with digestion and pain relief, have antioxidants, strengthen your bones, and may help to prevent cancer. If you’ve never tried grilled pineapple, you’ve been missing out big time! At your next summer party, since your grill will likely be in use anyway, throw on some pineapple slices coated in a cinnamon and brown sugar mixture (or you can skip the brown sugar) for about 3-5 minutes per side. These make the perfect side for kabobs or meat dishes. Alternatively, you can cut the pineapple into rings (or round slices), glaze it in honey, lime juice, and cinnamon, and add a scoop of low-fat ice cream (or frozen yogurt) on top for a delicious dessert (see recipe here).
7 Feta Cheese-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
The cool thing about tomatoes is that you can stuff them. Like feta cheese? Stuff your tomatoes with it. This recipe provides the detailed instructions. It’s a smart choice since it’s low in fat but high in Vitamin A. How about hummus? Go right ahead! Hummus is high in protein, lowers cholesterol, and even prevents cancer. You’re a guacamole lover? Well, you’re in luck. Guacamole contains Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and healthy fats. All of these things taste delicious with tomatoes. If you’d like, try stuffing cherry tomatoes to serve as an appetizer. If tomatoes are not your thing, you can also stuff bell peppers and Portobello mushrooms. It’s a great way to put a twist on your veggies and give them some extra flavour.
6 Grilled Salmon Tacos With Avocado Mango Salsa
What’s summer without some fresh fish? Salmon is one of the most popular seafood in North America and with good reason; it has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids (which is helpful for preventing arthritis, Alzheimer’s Disease, etc), and Vitamin D. It can also be cooked in a variety of ways (most of which result in it not having the “fishy” taste that many people dislike). That’s why we recommend making these incredible grilled salmon tacos and sprucing things up by adding in some avocado manga salsa. How does that sound? The recipe takes less than an hour, but if you have some more time, you can make it even healthier by making your own corn tortillas. Also, it’s recommended that you choose wild rather than farmed salmon as they’re more nutritious.
5 Rainbow Veggie Pinwheels
For a colorful, healthy, and tasty option on the food table at your next summer party, try the rainbow veggie pinwheels (because veggie sticks have been overdone). Take advantage of the farmer’s markets and all the wonderful veggies in season and be as creative as you’d like. Or, you can follow this recipe, which calls for spinach tortillas, ranch spread (preferably homemade since it’s healthier), spinach, purple cabbage, shredded carrots, and shredded sweet peppers to make these. You can also add in (shredded) chicken if you’d like. It goes without saying that this appetizer is packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. And if you have any leftover veggies, you can toss them together and add some quinoa to create this unique sesame lime quinoa salad.
4 Shrimp And Goat Cheese Tart
For an appetizer that looks like it came right from a master chef (but is actually super easy to make), serve some shrimp and goat cheese tarts. They’re made from Pillsbury puff pastry, herb and garlic goat cheese, shrimps, cherry tomatoes, thyme, and green onion. These delicious pastries only take 20 minutes to make! So what are the health benefits? Well, goat cheese is actually a healthier option than cow’s cheese as it contains more vitamins and nutrients and less fat. It also has a unique structure, making it easier to digest than regular cow’s cheese. And cherry tomatoes are high in Vitamin C (which boosts the immune system), Vitamin A (good for eye health) and Lycopene (a compound that may help to prevent prostate cancer).
3 Shrimp Boil Foil Packets
Shrimp boil foil packets make easy dinners and great options for an outdoor party because you can prepare them before your guests arrive and just throw them on the grill for 12-15 minutes when your guests are ready to eat. They contain shrimp, corn, potatoes, and sausage (though you can skip the sausage if you’re really keen on being healthy) grilled and garnished with parsley leaves. These packets are full of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, iron, and potassium. It’s also a great way to add some corn into your meal since corn is loaded with antioxidants (which actually increase when corn is cooked), fiber, and nutrients that promote healthy vision. The best part, besides eating it, is that there’s nothing to clean up afterwards!
2 Grilled Teriyaki Turkey Burgers
Turkey isn’t only for Thanksgiving or Christmas! If you’d like to include turkey into your summer party, a good way to do so is by making grilled turkey burgers with pineapple and onion. There are so many benefits of turkey that you can enjoy it without feeling guilty. Turkey is rich in protein, selenium, and iron, but low in fat (when skinless).
This recipe includes combining green onions, ground turkey, garlic, and Sriracha then grilling it all for 20 minutes. Once it’s grilled, top the burger off with grilled pineapple (which is a piece of tropical paradise, by the way) and some whole wheat buns (or lettuce wraps, as the recipe suggests as an alternative). You can even add tomatoes, avocado, or whatever else you’d like. If you’re a fan of teriyaki, try this teriyaki grilled turkey burger topped with pineapple and red onions.
1 Lobster Rolls
Nothing says summer like seafood and the king of seafood is lobster. For a fancy, but easy to make, summer party food, try lobster rolls. A healthy lobster roll recipe differs from the typical ones by substituting most of the mayonnaise with non-fat yogurt, using whole-wheat hot dog buns instead of white buns and using olive oil to cook. The recipe also includes veggies such as celery and scallions. These yummy lobster rolls are packed with vitamins, nutrients, and minerals such as protein, vitamin B12 (which boosts mood, memory and the immune system), Copper (which increases energy production and helps prevent early aging), Magnesium, and Phosphorous (both of which are great for your bones). The recipe only takes about half an hour and is guaranteed to impress your guests.
Sources: medicalnewstoday.com, foodnetwork.com, webmd.com, reciperunner.com, bostonmagazine.com, bodyandsoul.com, damndelicious.net, livestrong.com, thecookierookie.com, dinneratthezoo.com, mastercook.com, huffingtonpost.com, canadianliving.com, tablespoon.com, bettycrocker.com, food.com, cookinglsl.com