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Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

Better-For-You Summer Parties Made Easy

Jul 29, 2019 12:26AM ● By Marla Camins

Looking for ways to make summer cookouts a little healthier? Struggling to find an easy, bring-along dish that’s nutritious and delicious? Here are some tips, tricks and healthy hacks to help all enjoy the season with a side of healthy.

• When grilling, make sure to have plenty of better-for-you options on hand. Hot dogs and hamburgers are great staples, but consider offering guests grilled chicken, black bean burgers and portabella mushrooms.

• Kabobs are the secret weapon of dietitians everywhere. Dessert kabobs that are red, white and blue are easily made using blueberries, strawberries or any fruit. Add in cubed pieces of pound or angel food cake. For extra holiday spirit, cut up the fruits using star-shaped cookie cutters.

• Veggie or fruit kabobs are another great option. Watermelon, feta and mint kabobs are always a hit. It’s also fun to set up a buffet station and let the kids make their own kabobs. They might even eat more vegetables this way.

• Fresh guacamole is always a hit at a party. To keep it from oxidizing, put sliced limes over the top while in transport.

• Experiment with salads using farro, quinoa or whole wheat couscous. These grains have a sweet, nutty texture and they don’t need to be refrigerated, so they are a great choice for a summer party buffet.

• Pasta salads are a breeze to make. A fresh pasta primavera is easy to put together with all kinds of fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes and zucchini. Serve with a good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For a little healthier version, use whole wheat pasta.

• Mocktails are super fun and delicious, and can be served in a variety of ways. Lighten them up with unsweetened fruit juices and flavored seltzers. Jazz them up by adding frozen grapes. These are a terrific addition to mocktails and they can be used as ice cubes too.

• Serve desserts in small portions or shooter-style cups. That way everyone feels like they’ve had something sweet to eat but no one goes overboard.

• For a simple dessert everyone will love, bring a bowl of fresh berries and a few cans of light whipped cream. It’s so easy, and people will have fun serving themselves.


For more summer cooking tips, visit the office of a local ShopRite dietitian. Office locations are conveniently listed at




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