Everyone seems to be concerned with healthy eating these days. And for a good reason! With so many hidden ingredients in our foods, it’s hard to ever really know for sure what we are putting into our bodies.

Thankfully, the warmer seasons offer us an abundance of produce options that require no nutritional label or added ingredients. Pure as pulled from the ground or from the bush – with of course, the necessary washing – produce is fresh and ready to eat!

5 Deliciously Healthy Summer Recipes to Bring to Your Next BBQ

And as the summer season quickly approaches we can expect the BBQ and pool party invitations to start arriving any day now. So why not take advantage of the fresh food options and jazz up your seasonal menu with these easy and healthy summer sides that are guaranteed to impress your guests!

Zesty Kale Salad

Zesty Kale and Lemon Poppy Seed Salad is a great alternative to the typical side salad! Both low in calories and high in fiber, this healthy dish will be sure to impress your guests.

Ingredients:

1 bunch fresh kale

1 cup of shredded carrots

1 cup lemon juice

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup canola oil

½ cup tahini

Note: If tahini isn’t handy, hummus is a great substitute! Just mix in a bit of water to create a dressing texture.

1 tablespoon poppy seed

1 tablespoon agave or honey

1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Wash and chop kale into bite size pieces. In large mixing bowl add kale and shredded carrots. Toss and mix the remainder of ingredients until well blended. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours and serve!

Deliciously Dill Potato Salad

This delicious dish goes great at a BBQ but also has health benefits. Dill is a natural anti-inflammatory and apple cider vinegar lowers blood pressure!

Ingredients:

10 red bliss or white potatoes cut into small chunks

water to boil potatoes

¼ bunch dill

1 red onion chopped or 2 scallions

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Directions:

First, wash and chop potatoes into chunks. Boil potatoes until soft, drain water and leave to cool in large mixing bowl.

Once room temperature, add the dill, chopped red onion or scallions and apple cider vinegar and mix until well blended. Keep in refrigerator for two hours to chill and then serve. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Fiesta Black Bean Salad

This is a fun and colorful dish that can be served as a dip with tortilla chips or as a festive side dish.

Ingredients:

1 16 ounce can cooked black beans

¼ bunch chopped cilantro

1-2 corn cobs

2 diced tomatoes

1 diced red bell pepper

1 diced red onion

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup lime juice

1 teaspoon salt

1 diced avocado

Note: This dish can be spiced up with some jalapeno.

Directions:

Cook the corn in boiling water for 5-10 minutes and then let cool. Cut kernels off the cob and add to mixing bowl.

Rinse and drain black beans. Combine the black beans and all the veggies except the avocado into a large mixing bowl. Toss with the lemon, lime juices and salt.

Add the avocado at the end, mix and serve.

Summer Slaw

A sweet and light play on traditional coleslaw, this will complement anything off the grill.

Salad Ingredients:

1 head of cabbage

2 cups shredded carrots

2 cored and chopped apples

2 peeled and chopped pears

Dressing Ingredients:

¾ cup red wine vinegar

5 tablespoons veganaise or mayonnaise

1 tablespoon celery seed

1 tablespoon garlic powder

4 tablespoons agave or honey

a sprinkle of pepper

Directions:

First, make the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mixing until well blended. Let cool in refrigerator for one hour.

Next, wash all the fruits. Then, chop cabbage, apples, and pears into bite sized pieces and toss in mixing bowl.

Add shredded carrots. Add dressing. Mix until all ingredients are covered in dressing. Place in refrigerator to cool for two hours.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

This salad is just as healthy as it is appealing! Kalamata olives are a great source of fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamins.

Salad Ingredients:

1-2 cups canned or cooked chickpeas

1 cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives

1 diced red bell pepper

1 diced tomato

1 diced red onion

½ bunch parsley

Dressing Ingredients:

¾ cup olive oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon agave or honey

½ tablespoon oregano

½ tablespoon basil dried

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

½ tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

For the dressing, combine ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mix until well blended. Let cool in refrigerator for one hour.

For the salad, add canned or cooked chickpeas to a large mixing bowl. Dice the red onion and red bell pepper and add to bowl. Pit and chop olives and add to bowl. Cut tomato into bite-size chunks and add. Add parsley and dressing to bowl and toss with salad.

Enjoy Every Moment of Your Summer

These five recipes show just how easy it is to eat deliciously healthy! There’s no need to scour over labels, plus these meals can be made in just about 15 minutes active cooking time, giving you plenty of time to get outside, enjoy the beautiful weather and create wonderful summer memories with friends and family.

What are your summer recipes or dishes? Do you have a go-to dish that is always popular with family and friends? Which of these recipes are looking forward to trying? Please share your thoughts – and recipes – in the comments!

Molly WisniewskiMolly Wisniewski has cared for older adults living with dementia for over ten years. She is a recent graduate of the Erickson School, UMBC where she received her M.A. in the Management of Aging Services. Her blog Upside to Aging is dedicated to sharing an alternative and more positive side to aging.

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