By Anne Harding

A gorgeous day, great food -- who doesn't love a picnic? You, that's who, if the food is a rogue's gallery of fatty fare likely to clog your arteries or wreck your diet.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Here's a list of the best and worst foods you should pick or skip if you're attending a barbecue, as well as some healthy recipes you can bring or serve at your own fete.

Dig in to these tasty treats for a perfect picnic day. They're a triple win: Simple, tasty and healthy.

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  • Worst: Burgers

    We love burgers. But they can be calorie and saturated fat bombs -- so choose carefully. A plain burger on a bun is about 270 calories and 4 grams of saturated fat (20 percent of the daily value), but make it a large one with toppings and you're up to 512 calories and 52 percent of your daily value for saturated fat (over 10 grams), or <em>more</em>. <br><br> <strong>More from</strong><br> <a href=",,20366899,00.html" target="_hplink">8 Perfect Picnic Recipes</a><br> <a href=",,20397550,00.html" target="_hplink">13 Produce-Packed Summer Side Dishes</a><br> <a href=",,20396502,00.html" target="_hplink">8 Fruity Summer Pies and Cobblers</a> <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">TooFarNorth</a></em>

  • Best: Watermelon

    Fun to eat, and good for you too, a healthy wedge of watermelon has just 86 calories. You also get less than one gram of fat, and a decent amount of vitamin C, beta carotene and lycopene. What's more, watermelon's a great thirst-quencher -- it's 92 percent water. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">Pink Sherbet Photography</a></em>

  • Best: Corn On The Cob

    Grill your corn on the cob, or if you won't have a grill handy, cook it at home until barely done, then wrap the ears in tinfoil, and pack them in a cooler. <br><br> Even if you use a little butter, it's still pretty healthy; one buttered ear has 155 calories, 3 grams of fat and 29 milligrams of sodium. You can also squeeze some lime juice on the cob and sprinkle it with some cayenne pepper and Parmesan cheese, and you'll have a healthier version of elote, a tasty Mexican street food. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">stevendepolo</a></em>

  • Worst: Pulled Pork Sandwich

    This stuff tastes great, but the traditional version of this dish -- pulled pork in barbecue sauce -- delivers 418 calories and 1658 milligrams of sodium per 1-cup serving. And that's without a bun. Yikes! (The Institute of Medicine recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily and no more than 1,500 milligrams if you're African American, over 50, or have high blood pressure, diabetes or other health issues.) <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">stevendepolo</a></em>

  • Best: Grilled Fish Or Seafood

    Fish is relatively low in calories, rich in omega-3 fatty acids and cooks in just a few minutes on the grill. <br><br> What could be easier or healthier? Choose recipes like these: <a href=",,50400000117901,00.html" target="_hplink">Grilled Shrimp and Citrus Skewers</a> (134 calories per skewer); <a href=",,10000000671024,00.html" target="_hplink">Grilled Halibut and Fresh Mango Salsa</a> (295 calories per serving); or <a href=",,10000001084384,00.html" target="_hplink">Grilled Salmon With Minted Cucumber Sauce</a> (322 calories per serving). <br><br> You'll only go wrong if you deep fry, serve with calorie-laden sauces or choose types prone to high levels of mercury, such as swordfish, shark, mackerel king or tilefish. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">wEnDaLicious</a></em>

  • Worst: Fried Chicken

    It may be tasty, but those buckets of fried chicken from KFC and its many imitators are chock-full of calories, fat and sodium. <br><br> An Original Recipe chicken breast has 360 calories, 21 grams of fat and 1,080 milligrams of sodium. Want that chicken breast extra crispy? That will run you 510 calories, 33 grams of fat and 1,010 milligrams of sodium. Spicy crispy? That's 420 calories, 25 grams of fat and a whopping 1,250 milligrams of sodium. <br><br> KFC does offer grilled chicken, which is a much better nutritional choice at 220 calories, 7 grams of fat and 730 milligrams of sodium. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">stevendepolo</a></em>

  • Best: Oven-Fried Chicken

    You can make your own "finger-lickin' good" chicken in the oven, with a crunchy crust just like the real thing, but not quite as much fat and sodium. Try this <a href=",,10000001536720,00.html" target="_hplink">Oven-Fried Chicken</a>, which has 450 calories per serving, 13.8 grams of fat and 803 milligrams of sodium. <br><br> You can also get even healthier and whip up some <a href=",,10000002012975,00.html" target="_hplink">Buttermilk Pecan Chicken</a>, which has 307 calories per serving, 10 grams of fat and 138 milligrams of sodium. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">mccun934</a></em>

  • Worst: Potato Salad

    This one can be a diet disaster. Traditional potato salad with full fat mayo and eggs delivers 358 calories, 20 grams of fat and 170 milligrams of cholesterol (300 milligrams per day is the max limit for healthy people; 200 for those with high cholesterol) per 1-cup serving. <br><br> Try using purple potatoes, which are richer in antioxidants. "That's also a way to make it a little bit healthier, and fun too," says Carolyn Brown, a registered dietitian and nutritionist at FoodTrainers in New York City. "It looks cool." <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">TheCulinaryGeek</a></em>

  • Worst: Hot Dogs

    This one is tricky. What's better at a cookout than a couple of dogs tossed on the grill? Nothing -- if you choose the right hot dog. <br><br> Try to pick one that has less than 150 calories and fewer than 14 grams of fat (with no more than 6 grams saturated). Sodium shouldn't go over 450 milligrams, and you may want to skip those with a filler -- mechanically separated meat -- in the ingredient list. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">sidewalk flying</a></em>

  • Best: Chicken, Fruit And Veggie Skewers

    Anything served on a skewer is fun, easy to eat and often the perfect picnic food. Try these <a href=",,10000001193347,00.html" target="_hplink">Yogurt-and-Spice Grilled Chicken Skewers</a>, which deliver just 210 calories per two skewers. <br><br> <strong>More from</strong><br> <a href=",,20366899,00.html" target="_hplink">8 Perfect Picnic Recipes</a><br> <a href=",,20397550,00.html" target="_hplink">13 Produce-Packed Summer Side Dishes</a><br> <a href=",,20396502,00.html" target="_hplink">8 Fruity Summer Pies and Cobblers</a> <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">Eli Hodapp</a></em>

  • Best: Fruit Salad

    It's hard to go wrong with fruit salad. It's often relatively low in calories and rich in antioxidants and fiber. Just keep in mind that fruit is high in natural sugar. If you have diabetes or prediabetes you may need to watch portion sizes. And any fruit salad with high-calorie toppings (think mayo-soaked Waldorf salad) can be problematic. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">Pink Sherbet Photography</a></em>

  • Best: Cole Slaw

    Traditional coleslaw contains cabbage, carrots and cider vinegar (not mayonnaise!) and is relatively healthy if sometimes dull. <br><br> Coleslaw delivers about 47 calories and 2 grams of fat per 1-cup serving. (Add in mayo and it's closer to 80 calories or more per serving). But the bland color and taste sometimes makes 'slaw the most likely candidate for the "leftovers" category. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">Andrea_Nguyen</a></em>

  • Best: Pasta Salad

    With pasta salad, the devil is in the details. If you're scooping mayo-soaked macaroni onto your plate, expect to consume about 390 calories and 19 grams of fat per serving. And those calories are pretty darn empty. But pasta salad can be so much more, so that's why we think it's the best. <br><br> Start with whole-wheat pasta and add low-cal ingredients, like veggies, and boost the protein with low-fat cheese or lean meat. <br><br> Consider <a href=",,10000001559144,00.html" target="_hplink">Penne With Spinach and Feta</a> (282 calories per 1 1/2-cup serving); <a href=",,10000001733596,00.html" target="_hplink">Tangy Dijon Pasta</a> (204 calories per 1-cup serving); or <a href=",,50400000111435,00.html" target="_hplink">Pappardelle With Lemon Gremolata and Asparagus</a> (179 calories per 1-cup serving). <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">Tavallai</a></em>

  • Worst: Packaged Chips And Dip

    What host or hostess hasn't grabbed a giant bag of chips and a tub of a prepackaged dip in an effort to satisfy hungry guests? <br><br> That's fine, but two tablespoons of ready-made sour cream and onion dip has 60 calories, 5 grams of fat and 250 milligrams of sodium, while a 1-ounce serving of chips has 154 calories, 10 grams of fat and 136 milligrams of sodium. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">Like_the_Grand_Canyon</a></em>

  • Worst: Sweet Iced Tea

    If you're looking to cut calories, sweet beverages are a good place to start. While iced tea can have fewer calories than soda (140 calories per 8-ounce can, depending on soda type), commercial iced tea brands may not be that far off (120 calories per 8-ounce can, although it varies so check the label). If you use a powdered brand, and stick to the recommended 1 1/3 tablespoons of powder for every 8-ounce glass, it delivers 70 calories (again, check the brand's label). If you use more powder though, you'll get more calories. <br><br> Try this recipe for <a href=",,20388773_8,00.html" target="_hplink">Pomegranate and Lime Iced Tea</a>. It delivers only 59 calories per 8-ounce serving and you'll be getting some antioxidants and vitamin C along with those calories. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">TheCulinaryGeek</a></em>

  • Best: Homemade Dip And Chips

    If you're whipping up several different dishes, you may not have time to make your own dip or chips. <br><br> But if you have the time, or you're bringing a dish to share, consider making one that's both healthy and tastes great. <br><br> You can try <a href=",,20366899_2,00.html" target="_hplink">Edamame 'Guacamole' With Chile-Dusted Pita Chips</a>, which has 12 grams of protein and heart-healthy fats; <a href=",,10000002013003,00.html" target="_hplink">Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Chips With Ranch Dip</a>, which is 194 calories per 11-chip serving; or <a href=",,10000002013004,00.html" target="_hplink">Crispy Tamari Kale Chips</a>, which has 84 calories per 1 1/2-cup serving. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">jeffreyw</a></em>

  • Worst: Cold Cuts

    Cold cuts aren't all that healthy. A slice of prepackaged ham can contain 365 milligrams of sodium and 46 calories, which adds up if you stack your sandwiches high. <br><br> A better option is white meat, like turkey, which contains about 139 milligrams of sodium and 15 calories per slice. <br><br> Choose 100 percent whole-grain breads and select healthier condiments like mustard, instead of mayo (lots of fat) or ketchup (lots of sugar). <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">Like_the_Grand_Canyon</a></em>

  • Worst: Deviled Eggs

    Deviled eggs are cute, but their story is mixed in terms of nutrition. Whether you love them or hate them (most people seem to feel one way or the other), the traditional dish can deliver about 60 calories and 120 milligrams cholesterol per 1/2 egg serving. <br><br> Make them healthier by using the barest bit of mayo -- or none at all. You can substitute with cottage cheese, greek yogurt or even avocado! <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">jeffreyw</a></em>

  • Best: Apple Pie

    We're big fans of apple pie. It's as cool as the American flag, your granny and jumping in lakes. <br><br> What we're not fans of are pies that deliver mega-calories or unhealthy fats. A slice of some store-bought pies can deliver 330 calories and 18 grams of fat, and may contain dangerous trans fat. If that's what's available, skip it or practice portion control and have just a sliver. <br><br> If you're up for some baking, try these recipes: <a href=",,20439608_2,00.html" target="_hplink">Classic Apple Pie</a>, which delivers 298 calories and 8 grams of fat per slice or this scrumptious <a href=",,20439608_5,00.html" target="_hplink">Caramel Apple Pie</a>, at just 276 calories and 9 grams of fat per slice. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">David Leggett</a></em>

  • Worst: Brownies

    A brownie bought from a grocery store or fast-food outlet can deliver 227 calories, 9 grams of fat and 144 milligrams of sodium (or more). But there are other ways. <br><br> Believe it or not, it's possible to make a healthier brownie that tastes great. <br><br> These <a href=",,10000001989968,00.html" target="_hplink">Triple Chocolate Surprise Brownies</a> use -- surprise! -- black beans, spinach and applesauce. Each brownie has 153 calories, 8 grams of fat and 92 milligrams of sodium. <br><br> <strong>More from</strong><br> <a href=",,20366899,00.html" target="_hplink">8 Perfect Picnic Recipes</a><br> <a href=",,20397550,00.html" target="_hplink">13 Produce-Packed Summer Side Dishes</a><br> <a href=",,20396502,00.html" target="_hplink">8 Fruity Summer Pies and Cobblers</a> <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">lejoe</a></em>

  • Worst: Lemonade

    Like iced tea, sweet lemonade can over-deliver calories. An 8-ounce serving made with mix has about 70 calories, while bottled, sugar-sweetened lemonade can have 140 calories per 12-ounce serving (depending on the brand). <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">bsabarnowl</a></em>

  • Best: S'mores

    This isn't the healthiest pick, but they're so darn tasty and fun, it's hard to say no. Portion control should be your mantra with these treats. <br><br> If you're eating the classic version -- one toasted marshmallow and 3 squares of Hershey's chocolate bar mushed between two graham crackers, you'll be consuming about 142 calories. <br><br> Feel free to tinker with tradition, though. Try dark chocolate and swapping the marshmallow for a grilled banana. Genius! <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">terren in Virginia</a></em>

  • Best: Cherry Or Grape Tomatoes

    They're the perfect size for popping in your mouth, they're delicious and they're great for you. A cup of cherry tomatoes has just 27 calories and lots of nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A and antioxidants. <br><br> Brown suggests getting cherry tomatoes -- and any other fruits and veggies that you can -- at a farmer's market during picnic season. "Talk to the farmers about what's good," she says. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">Annie Mole</a></em>

  • Best: Fruit And Cheese Platter

    Keep it simple by bringing along some fruit and cheese. Keep in mind that hard cheeses tend to stand up better under picnic conditions. (Long hours of hot sun plus Brie equals soggy mess.) <br><br> A few tasty combinations: cheddar or Gruyere and apples (sprinkle with lemon or lime juice to avoid browning); watermelon and feta; ripe figs and blue cheese; tomatoes and mozzarella; or ricotta and grapes. <br><br> Pack fruit and cheese separately to keep the flavors fresh. <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">torbakhopper</a></em>

  • Worst: Buffalo Chicken Dip

    This dip is addicting! The taste of Buffalo chicken wings served up as a dip (it contains chicken, hot sauce, blue cheese and cream cheese), just one serving -- 5 to 6 tablespoons -- delivers 284 calories and 23 grams of fat, including 9 grams of saturated fat. And it's hard to eat just one serving! <br><br> To make it healthier, use reduced-fat cream cheese; replace cheddar with the reduced-fat cheese of your choice; and substitute no-fat Ranch dressing for the full-fat kind. That will cut it down to 110 calories and 6 grams of fat per 1/4 cup serving. Then it's up to you to practice portion control. <br><br> Hint: Use celery or carrots instead of tortilla chips when you dip. <br><br> <strong>More from</strong><br> <a href=",,20366899,00.html" target="_hplink">8 Perfect Picnic Recipes</a><br> <a href=",,20397550,00.html" target="_hplink">13 Produce-Packed Summer Side Dishes</a><br> <a href=",,20396502,00.html" target="_hplink">8 Fruity Summer Pies and Cobblers</a> <br><br> <em>Flickr photo by <a href="" target="_hplink">@joefoodie</a></em>

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