Dazzle your guests with this season’s tastiest and healthiest soiree.

Planning a barbecue is always tons of fun. Guests are super chill and prep work is pretty low maintenance. There’s no slaving away in the kitchen while guests are having a great time without you. With some advance preparation and research, and swapping out calorie-laden foods for healthy summer foods to grill, you’re good to go for the party of the summer.

Marinades and Rubs

If you’re serving chicken and fish, get creative with rubs and marinades. Store-bought barbecue sauces can be loaded with salt, so opt for your own herbs and spices to flavor meat instead. Approximately three hours before grill time, prep your meat and let rest. The result: a tender entrée that’s full of healthy flavor.

Easy on the Carbs

Instead of heavy Kaiser buns, use whole wheat sandwich flats for burgers, or pitas instead of hot dog buns. In lieu of traditional potato and pasta salads, try lighter fare with couscous, quinoa or bulger.

Sugar-Free Bevvies

Brew your own unsweetened iced tea with a sprig of mint. Trade sugary lemonade for refreshing seltzer with lemon and lime wedges. If you really want to get creative, combine the two for a delicious Arnold Palmer.

Dips and Don’ts

What can be better on a hot summer day than seasonal veggies? Enjoy them best with a light splash of oil and balsamic vinegar. Think about it – a creamy dressing in the hot sun? Yuck!

Grill Everything

Besides the obvious – burgers, hot dogs and chicken – add shrimp and portobello mushrooms to the menu. Skewers are always a crowd-pleaser and can also be done with fruit combos for dessert. And throw peaches and pineapples on the grill too. The natural sugars caramelize creating an experience for the taste buds.

Let the Games Begin

Keep everyone active with a selection of backyard games. The crowd will have a blast participating in lawn bowling, croquet and badminton. If your friends have a competitive streak, make it a tournament with prizes.

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