I Love summer Cookouts!

One of the best parts of summertime is gathering outside with your friends and family is to enjoy delicious and (hopefully), healthy summer cookouts and conversation.The fireflies, the warm, dewy air and longer days are the perfect equation for getting together and enjoying the summer.Cookouts-picnics-barbecues are all summertime staples, but if you’re trying to eat healthy or are gluten sensitive, you may be left munching on the veggie tray as everyone else fills their plate with bratwurst and potato salad!

You don’t have to be stuck with just the veggie tray!

There are numerous healthy options to choose from during the summer cookout months, so you there’s no need to be left out of the fun or go home hungry.

Here are a few of my favorite summer cookout staples…

1- Shish KabobsShish kabobs taste great during the summer. Adding sweet peppers, zucchini, squash, red onion and mushrooms make this a deliciously healthy and easy to hold meal. If you don’t want red meat in your shish kabobs, try tossing some organic chicken or wild caught shrimp in between your veggie layers. Drizzle with a tangy lemon juice and you’ve got yourself a delicious and healthy meal.

2. Cauliflower Mashed PotatoesWe all love mashed potatoes, but many don’t like the calories or nutrient profiles of potatoes. You can now get the texture and love of this summertime favorite, for far fewer calories with some mashed cauliflower. Just add some garlic and olive oil for a delicious flavor profile that mimics the real deal. I like to add a dollop or two of goat cheese during the mash to cream it up a bit.

3. Sweet Potato The perfect side dish! Skip the russet and lean towards the healthier option — how about a baked sweet potato? It has a higher nutrient profile and fewer calories. I like them without toppings; they are naturally sweet and satisfy the appetite nicely .

4- Fruit Tray or SaladThere is nothing more refreshing and satisfying then chilled fruit salad when you are outside on a hot day! I start with watermelon and add all the colors of the rainbow: peaches, cherries, strawberries, kiwi, blueberries and whatever else catches my eye. The supermarket is filled with a variety of tasty, healthy choices.

5- Tangy Cole SlawWho says cole slaw has to have mayo? I use apple cider vinegar, a bit of maple syrup, olive oil and mustard. It is perfectly tangy and delicious for a healthy and satisfying side for any meal!So give these a try at your next BBQ, you will not be the only one who enjoys these dishes.Eating healthy through the summer months does not have to be hard. With just a few minor adjustments, you can turn pretty much any dish into a delicious and healthy meal without skimping out on the flavor at all!What is your favorite healthy BBQ dish? Tell us in the comments!