If this isn't your first summer of clean eating, you're probably already familiar with lean protein options that meet (or meat) your macros. Grilled chicken breasts, grilled lean steaks, grilled shrimp kabobs—all are great choices for any healthy-eating diet plan, excluding vegetarian ones.

But what about the side dishes? If they're packed full of calories, saturated fat, and sugar, you aren't going to be much better off. Check out the following recipes for some delicious side dishes to add to your warm-weather cookouts.

1. Sweet Potato Salad

Loaded with saturated fat and chock-full of calories, regular potato salad is one of the worst side dishes you can choose. Mayonnaise is the main culprit, but there's also a serious dose of insulin-spiking carbs in most standard potato-salad recipes.

Lighten up with this version using sweet potatoes. A refreshing spin on a classic favorite, it's sweet and spicy and works perfectly alongside any main protein offering.

Sweet Potato Salad

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2. Creamy Light Coleslaw

Coleslaw is a common hit among the barbeque crowd because it pairs well with just about any meat you happen to grill up. The classic take on coleslaw tends to be very high in fat and calories—again, thanks to a hefty dose of mayonnaise. But you can prepare a much lighter version with a few smart ingredient swaps.

The following recipe uses a delicious sweet lemon dressing rather than mayonnaise. It also calls for you to add nuts for crunch and flavor. You'll never want to go back to the high-fat version!

Creamy Light Coleslaw

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3. Slow-Cooked Baked Beans

Beans are another traditional favorite. While they're an excellent source of slow-digesting carbohydrates and dietary fiber, the sauces they're swimming in can be pools of added sugar and salt.

Not with this recipe. These baked beans allow you to eat healthy with little prep work. Simply throw everything into the slow cooker the morning before, and it'll be ready when you need it. This recipe also lasts in the fridge for a few days, so it's a great make-ahead option.  

Slow Cooked Baked Beans

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4. Corn on The Cob with A Twist

Few things say summer barbeque like grilled corn on the cob. Eating corn cooked to perfection will make you think you're having a cheat meal. It's the perfect solution to any sweet tooth craving.

Looking to take your corn on the cob one step further? Use this recipe to add an extra element by drizzling on lime juice and adding cilantro.

Corn on the Cob with a Twist

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5. White Chocolate Fluff Fruit Salad

Finally, for dessert, you'll want something sweet and light. This recipe fits the bill. The fruit will give you a good dose of Vitamin C while being just sweet enough to keep cravings at bay. If you've done your workout that day, and aren't on a very-low-carb or other strict diet, this is one dessert you can feel good indulging in.

White Chocolate Fluff Fruit Salad

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About the Author

Shannon Clark

Shannon Clark

Shannon Clark is a freelance health and fitness writer located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

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