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    Posted on May 24, 2014

    23 Easy Tricks For A Healthier Barbecue

    Eating grilled shrimp isn't exactly a sacrifice, you know?

    1. Lighten up your dip by using greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

    Jessica Merchant / howsweeteats.com

    Healthier dip just means you can eat more chips, right?

    (Wrong. For the record, that is wrong. It doesn't work like that.)

    Recipe: Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip

    2. Make guacamole lower-fat by cutting the avocado with another vegetable.

    Trish Cowper / infinebalance.com

    Adding frozen peas keeps the guacamole green and adds a subtle sweetness.

    Recipe: Lighter Guacamole

    3. Or, serve a fun, fruity salsa instead.

    Chung-Ah Ree / damndelicious.net

    Just don't go crazy with the chips.

    Recipe: Strawberry Mango Salsa

    4. If you're brave, replace chips and dip with crudités so beautiful that guests forget they're eating raw vegetables.

    foodandwine.com

    Seasoning your vegetables with lime, salt, and chili powder is a nice touch.

    Recipe Crudités à la Mexicaine

    Pre-portioning will keep everyone from double (or, ahem, triple) dipping.

    5. Make a really kick-ass salad that people will actually want to eat.

    Marla Meridith / familyfreshcooking.com

    Use seasonal produce to make your salads colorful and more appetizing.

    Recipe: Strawberry Avocado Asiago Spring Salad

    Lettuce-free salads don't wilt as quickly, so they're great for long barbecues.

    And, just a little bit of cheese goes a long way.

    6. Position the aforementioned salad at the front of the buffet line.

    Ryan McVay / thinkstockphotos.com

    Putting salad on your plate first means less room for other, less healthy things.

    7. Always make your own vinaigrette instead of buying bottled salad dressing.

    Danny Kim / bonappetit.com ?mbid=synd_buzzfeed

    Homemade vinaigrette — one part vinegar or citrus juice, two parts oil, plus whatever flavorings you'd like — is not only super easy to make, it's also healthier than the bottled kind, since there are no preservatives, colorings, or added sugars.

    Recipe: Simone's Shallot Vinaigrette

    8. Serve a delicious, no-mayo potato salad.

    Laura Sant / saveur.com

    Warm potato salad with a super vinegar-y dressing is tangy and totally refreshing.

    Recipe: Warm Red Potato Salad

    Using lots of herbs adds flavor without adding any fat or sugar.

    Helen Rosner / saveur.com

    This recipe is packed with parsley, but dill tastes amazing in potato salad, too.

    Recipe: Moroccan Potato Salad

    9. Take the mayo out of your coleslaw, too.

    Marc Matsumoto / pbs.org

    You won't miss it, and it'll taste much fresher.

    Recipe: No-Mayo Coleslaw

    10. Better yet, make a veggie-packed sweet potato salad instead.

    11. Instead of burgers, grill a lean cut of steak.

    Randy Harris / bonappetit.com

    Burgers inevitably come with all kinds of not-so-healthy extras: cheese, sugary condiments, bacon, white bread, more cheese, etc. These add up quickly, so you're better off eating a super-flavorful piece of steak, with salsa verde or just a little bit of steak sauce.

    Recipe: Grilled Skirt Steak with Herb Salsa Verde

    Skirt steak, hanger steak, flank steak, and sirloin are all good, lean cuts that grill well.

    12. Ban hot dogs. Pork skewers are more fun and don't have scary filler ingredients.

    Henry Fong / nomnompaleo.com

    Also, no need to serve kebabs on refined buns, slathered in ketchup and barbecue sauce.

    Recipe: Peachy Pork-A-Bobs

    13. Grill chicken that will upstage any red meat by marinating it beforehand.

    Victoria Berman / avocadopesto.com

    Simply marinating your chicken in a mixture of lemon juice and soy sauce for at least an hour before grilling it will make it delicious. More importantly, it'll keep it from drying out on the grill.

    Recipe: Grilled Chicken Thighs

    Using skinless chicken breasts means lots of protein with very little fat.

    14. Shake things up by grilling healthy shrimp kebabs.

    closetcooking.com

    Shrimp is healthy, filling, and super quick to cook on the grill.

    Recipe: Chipotle Lime Shrimp

    Scallops are another great, grill-able shellfish option.

    marthastewart.com

    Citrus-y grilled scallops are sweet, juice and perfect.

    Recipe: Grilled Scallop and Orange Skewers

    15. Serve grilled portobello mushrooms as a vegetarian main dish.

    foodnetwork.com

    Most veggie burgers have not-so-great ingredient lists. Plus, they often fall apart on the grill.

    Recipe: Grilled Balsamic Portobello Mushrooms

    16. If you can't live without burgers, check out these 25 healthier burger options.

    Hirsheimer Hamilton / bonappetit.com

    17. When it comes to condiments, mustard is your best friend.

    Ketchup and barbecue sauce are loaded with sugar, and mayonnaise is essentially all fat. Mustard adds a ton of flavor and a little bit of spice, so set out a variety of different kinds for guests to pair with their meat.

    18. Remember that vegetables love the grill, too.

    Ryan Liebe / marthastewart.com

    Veggie kebabs are easy to grill and easy to eat.

    Recipe: Grilled Eggplant with Tomatoes, Basil, and Feta

    Layer a bunch on skewers for easier handling.

    19. DItch pre-made mixers and make your own low-sugar coktails.

    tashka2000 / thinkstockphotos.com

    A classic mojito has just one teaspoon of sugar per drink. The majority of the flavor comes from lime and mint.

    Recipe: Sloppy Joe's Mojito

    Using freshly squeezed citrus juice is key here.

    Cameron Whitman / thinkstockphotos.com

    A real margarita is just tequila, triple-sec, lots of fresh lime, and the tiniest bit of agave. Pre-mix a whole pitcher for guests to enjoy throughout the party.

    Recipe: Healthy Margarita

    20. Consider the wine spritzer.

    Charles Masters / bonappetit.com

    One part white wine + One part club soda makes for a low-calorie drink that's perfect for summer. Also, diluting the wine with water means the booze won't go to your head and convince you that eating three cheeseburgers is a good idea.

    Recipe: Wine Spritzer

    21. Serve iced tea instead of punch or lemonade.

    Michael Depasquale / bonappetit.com

    Your best bet is unsweetened. Cold-brew ice tea is flavorful enough that you can drink it without any sugar.

    Recipe: Cold-Brew Ice Tea

    If you can't drink it unsweetened, add a little fruit juice.

    22. Serve sweet, caramelized grilled fruit for dessert.

    ohsweetbasil.com

    Much more bikini-friendly than pie.

    Recipe: Brown Sugar Grilled Pineapple

    23. Popsicles are another good dessert option.

    Kimberly Hasselbrink / theyearinfood.com

    Fruit-based and super refreshing.

    Recipe: Summer Berry Mint Ice Pops

    If you want, sneak in a little booze (hey, you've earned it).