Healthy Main Dishes for Picnics and Parties

Summer is in full swing and many of us have the sunburn and mosquito bites to prove it. If you’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors then odds are, you’ve attended a picnic, backyard party or cook out under the sun and are beginning to tire of hamburgers, hot dogs and grilled chicken.

Next time you’re planning the menu, look for inventive new dishes that will kick off your party on the right note. Whether you’re in the mood for light lunch fare like salads or sandwiches, something hot off the grill or a stick-t0-your ribs meal that will stand up to the heat, you don’t need to ditch your diet to have fun this summer.

Salads & Sandwiches:

Arroz con Pollo Salad: Chicken and rice sounds like a heavy meal but not when you put it into a refreshing salad form. If you’re entertaining in your back yard this is a great option for anyone who wants to indulge without the guilt.

Pasta Salad with Chick Peas and Arugula: This light and refreshing meal is perfect for summer – and perfect for anyone wants to balance their pasta and carb intake with a healthy serving of beans and vegetables.

Bountiful Veggie Wrap: The best way to take in more nutrition is to eat a variety of colors – usually in the form of fruits and vegetables. Wrap them up in a whole wheat tortilla and serve slices as a snack or let party guests make their own wraps for a fun activity.

From the Grill:

Easy Grilled Fish Tacos: Nothing says summertime like a fresh fish taco topped with a fruit-packed chutney or salsa. Next time you fire up the grill, think beyond burgers and hot dogs to a delicious and guilt-free meal you can prepare in minutes.

Herb Crusted Grilled Turkey Breast: If you were planning on waiting until November to serve turkey, think again. Turkey breast is almost as lean, if not leaner, than grilled chicken breasts and it’s just as delicious as a whole roasted bird on Thanksgiving Day.

Grilled Steak: If you want to indulge your red meat cravings without piling on extra pounds, choose a lean cut of meat and prepare it simply on the grill – without added butter or fat.

Heartier Fare

Mexican Lasagna: While a hearty lasagna is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of effortless summer party fare, a Mexican twist can make this traditional dish lighter – and healthier. Marry Italian flavors with Mexican-style tortillas for a quick dish that you can serve for lunch or dinner – or both.

Baked Salmon with Cucumber Dill Sauce: Don’t be afraid to turn on your oven this summer if you’re using light, refreshing flavors like cucumber and dill as an accompaniment to your favorite seafood dish.

Homemade Chorizo: If you’ve sworn off sausage ever since you started following a healthier diet, you can rethink your favorite ethnic dishes. You’ll never believe how delicious your favorite Mexican dishes can be without the fat and calories – and neither will your party guests.

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