Summer is just around the corner, and we are all looking forward to outdoor picnics, barbecues and events with friends and family!

Forecast says: Sun-factor- way high, Fun-factor-way high, and often calorie-factor- way high.

With a few simple changes to your menu, you can cool down the calorie-factor and still enjoy every last bit of summer flavor.

3 Tips for making healthy choices at a cookout:

  1. Go lean

    • By choosing to grill up some of your favorite lean meats and add fresh herbs and spices for extra flavor.
  2. Add a healthy side dish

    • Although the staple sides at a cookout include potato salad and chips, try out fresh salsa and guacamole with crunchy raw veggies or fruit kabobs.
  3. Bring your own healthy recipe to share with others!  

    • Use fresh, light, nutrient-dense ingredients.

Check out a few of my favorite guilt-free summer cookout recipes:

Homemade Guacamole








Pair this guacamole with whole wheat pitas or organic all-natural corn chips. Avocado is high in fiber, potassium, and monounsaturated fats.

Yield: 10 large servings

  • Ingredients:

3 ripe avocados

1/2 onion, finely diced

1/3 c fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp chili powder

Juice of  1 lime

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

  • Preparation:

Remove flesh of avocado and add to a bowl. Mash coarsely with a fork. Mix in remaining ingredients. Garnish with pepper and sea salt to taste.

Watermelon & Feta Salad







This refreshing and delicious salad makes the perfect side dish  on a hot summer day. Watermelons are >92% water, but loaded with nutrients like vitamins A, B6 and C, antioxidants (lycopene) and amino acids.

  • Ingredients:

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Juice of 3 limes

1/2 small watermelon, cubed

8oz low fat feta cheese

1 bunch fresh mint, chopped

1 bunch parsley

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

  • Preparation:

Toss onion slices in lime juice to reduce the onion’s bite. Tear parsley leaves from the stems but do not chop. Combine parsley with watermelon, feta and mint. Add onions and lime juice. Drizzle with olive oil and salt, and pepper. Toss ingredients together. Serve chilled.

Grilled Chicken Kabobs








This easy recipe is a perfect protein-packed way to feed a crowd and incorporate vegetables into every bite!  

  • Ingredients:

Juice of 3 lemons

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 tbsp dried dill

2 lbs organic, boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed

3 tbsp olive oil

1 red bell pepper, cut into large pieces

20 baby Portobello mushrooms

1 yellow onion, quartered and cut into large pieces

2 small zucchinis, cut into 1-in rounds

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Wooden or metal skewers

  • Preparation:

Prepare the marinade: combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Set aside. Prepare the kabobs by skewering alternating pieces of chicken and various veggies. Place the skewers in the baking dish with the marinade, and roll to coat. When ready to cook, heat grill to high and place skewers on the grill. Cook about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces and turn occasionally.