It’s summertime and the cooking is easy! This is the time of year when our diets are meant to be light. Mother Nature blesses us with lots of sunshine, greens galore, and an abundance of fruit. So why is it that we bog ourselves down with heavy foods at family barbecues?

Here are five simple ways to make your BBQ a little lighter, healthier, and more in tune with the season. Trust me, your familia will not miss a thing, except maybe a stomachache or heartburn.

Give veggies more real estate when making skewers. Green peppers, yellow squash, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms will add color, nutrients and delicious taste to your skewers. Aim for two veggies for every piece of meat. And, if you use wood skewers, remember to soak them in water first. You want your food grilled, not flambéed!

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Serve whole fruit or fruit salad as a side dish. Slices of watermelon, fresh berries, or grilled peaches are a fresh and tasty substitute for potato salad or mac and cheese.

Add veggie or bean burgers to the menu. If your family is old school and asks, “Where’s the beef?” be prepared to tempt them with lots of yummy toppings: avocado slices, grilled onions, sliced mango (yes, mango!) and cucumbers.

Make your own iced teas and lemonade. Brew your favorite herbal tea (peach, jasmine, raspberry) or squeeze your own lemons and limes for a refreshing summertime beverage. This puts you in control of the amount of sugar you consume. Try using agave as a sweetener, which is low on the glycemic index.

Switch to whole wheat buns and hot dog rolls. This will keep you and your family away from bleached white flours, which rob you of essential nutrients. Or try serving your grilled goodies on corn or whole wheat tortillas.

Happy grilling!