06/20/2012 08:12 am ET Updated Aug 20, 2012

Summertime Success Secrets

Summer has arrived, and it's time to make plans for all the outdoor fun. With that fun often comes food. The typical summertime menu consists of hotdogs, hamburgers, chips, potato salads, and snacks. YIKES! That's enough to derail anyone.

So what's the solution? Easy: Make a plan and stick to it. Instead of filling up on carbs and empty calories you can enjoy what the season really has to offer. Here are a few suggestions to tantalize your taste buds without jeopardizing your health.

Veggies: Almost everything is in season right now. Veggie-kabobs are awesome! Skewer asparagus, mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli, then toss it on the grill. YUM! Spice it up with some fat-free balsamic vinaigrette and you're good to go.

Protein: Skip the bun and condiments. Enjoy a burger, chicken breast, steak, or fish hot off the grill. Add some flavor with fresh herbs, salsa, or some sauteed onions and mushrooms.

Snacks and Sides: Keep it simple for success. Cottage cheese, nuts, olives, avocado slices, and of course veggies are quick and easy to fill in the gaps.

Beverages: Water is always No. 1. Add sliced lemon, cucumber, or your favorite fresh fruit for some added fun.

Here's a great low-carb healthy summer side dish recipe to show off at your next barbecue:

Chicken Salad

Serves 4


3 cups cooked chicken breast, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
6 green olives, pitted and minced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 to a whole apple, cored and chopped
1/3 head of iceberg lettuce, sliced and chopped

5 tablespoons low fat/ fat free mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sweetener such as Stevia or Xylitol
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped chives or green onion
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine prepared salad ingredients in a large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl mix together dressing ingredients.
3. Mix the dressing in with the salad ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

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