Cucumber Dill Salad for a Healthy Barbecue

Cucumber dill salad is a healthy and delicious option for your summer barbecues. Barbecues can be calorie bombs and can throw you off of your regular diet. Instead of indulging in a heavy meal, create dishes that will have you feeling good, while not feeling deprived. Plan a healthier menu for your family and friends this summer so you can have a healthy get together and not feel sluggish after your meals. You can even plan activities to keep everyone moving instead of just sitting around. Enjoy your summer barbecues all while sticking to your diet and eating nutrient rich foods.

Planning a healthier barbecue menu is just as easy as including a few salads, like cucumber dill salad, and choosing lighter options. Here’s just a few ideas:

Appetizers

Instead of choosing calorie heavy appetizers, choose something healthy and light. Choose lighter dips made out of yogurt instead of sour cream. Make a cucumber dill salad with yogurt instead of mayo. Make a vegetable tray or a fruit tray so people can nibble without taking in the extra calories. Even consider making salsa with black bean dip, but omit the chips, and have your friends dip vegetables instead!

Main Courses

Barbecues don’t have to be all about the red meat. Red meat is highest in calories and cholesterol. Consider lighter options for your main dish. Grilling is a great cooking method for healthier options, and gives you a ton of flavor without adding extra fat or salt. Consider marinating chicken and making kabobs, or barbecuing salmon or cod. You can also grill shrimp or chicken breast. Portobello mushrooms are a great option for vegetarians or anyone who wants a veggie burger instead of something meat based.

Sides

Sides don’t have to be loaded with butter or oil to taste good. They are also a great way to sneak vegetables into your barbecue fair. Consider grilling potatoes, carrots, or green peppers. Make a salad, like a cucumber dill salad, and serve it along your entrée instead of something heavy like mac n’ cheese. You can also make a healthier version of a potato or pasta salad by replacing full fat condiments with lower-fat options. Use Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise in your potato salad, and use a low-calorie Italian dressing for your pasta salad.

cucumber and dill saladDesserts

After you’ve spent the day eating, dessert doesn’t necessarily have to be something unhealthy and heavy. You’ve already loaded up and munched all day, so consider fruit or sorbet for a cool treat on a hot summer’s day.

Beverages

If you’re serving alcohol at your barbecue, choose a lighter beer or a cocktail that’s full of fruit. You can also make a great no-sugar added iced tea for your guests.

Healthy recipes are easy to put together. You can make refreshing and light dishes using vegetable and herbs, like dill, without much effort. Try making a cucumber dill salad for your guests using the following recipe. It’s sure to be a hit, and your guests will be asking you for the recipe!

Cucumber Dill Salad

*Adapted from Rachel Ray Magazine

Serves 6

Ingredients:

3 cucumbers, sliced thin

¼ cup chopped fresh dill

3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

1 cup Greek yogurt

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt and pepper

Directions:

Prep your ingredients. Slice your cucumbers and chop your fresh dill.

Use a bowl that is begin enough to fit all of your ingredients and one you can serve out of. Combine your ingredients together; put the cucumbers, dill, Greek yogurt, juice from the lemon, and vinegar in a bowl. Toss and combine.

Add pepper and add salt to taste.

Place the salad in the refrigerator for at minimum one hour before eating and serving to your guests. The longer the better because the flavors will come together as it sits.

Serve your cucumber dill salad cold.

How to Buy Cucumbers and Dill

For the best tasting salad you will need the freshest dill and cucumbers to get the most flavor. When at the grocery store, you will be heading to the product section to find both your dill and cucumber. You will want to look for firm cucumbers that have a normal shape and a dark green hue to the skin. The cucumber should feel heavy when you pick them up compared to their overall size. Do not buy cucumbers that are light or soft or that feel light for their overall size. Cucumbers that are oddly shaped can also have a bitter taste – this will ruin your salad.

You will need fresh ingredients for your cucumber dill salad, which means you need to start with the freshest dill possible. Look for dill that have strong leaves and do not show signs of spoilage such as brown leaves, yellowing and wilted leaves. Store your fresh dill in the back of your refrigerator in an air tight storage bag wrapped loosely in a damp paper towel.

Storing Your Cucumber Dill Salad
Unfortunately you cannot freeze nor leave your prepared salad to preserve it. The best storage for your fresh salad is to place it in the refrigerator, toward the back in an air tight container to ensure that it stays fresh. Only remove the salad when you plan on consuming it and eat the salad within four days of preparation before it will begin to spoil.

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