The side dish table at barbecues and outdoor fests doesn’t have to be covered in potato chips and brownies. How about gracing that table with healthier treats people will eat? The following ideas for healthy side dishes involve minimum preparation time and no oven use, so you don’t have to bake in the heat of your kitchen before chilling out with you’re your friends.

3 Easy-Going, Healthy Side Dishes for Your Memorial Day BBQ

1) Lemon-Garlic Cabbage Salad

This twist on coleslaw can be served as a side or as a topping for barbecue sandwiches. The salad is rich in Vitamin C, B1, B2, beta-carotene, fiber, folate, manganese, and potassium.


  • ½ a head of cabbage sliced into thin strips
  • 2 carrots, shredded

Garlic/Lemon Dressing:

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup Water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, water, garlic powder, and salt. Pour over cabbage and carrots. Toss until salad is completely covered. The cabbage salad should be saturated. When you serve, use tongs to shake off excess dressing.

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2) Lemon-Garlic Green Beans

Can’t get enough of the Lemon-Garlic Dressing? Make another order of the tangy liquid and bring Lemon-Garlic Green Beans to the BBQ table. Green beans provide omega three fatty acids, iron, calcium, and protein in addition to Vitamins like E, B6, and B1. Couple the beans with Vitamin C-rich Lemon-Garlic Dressing and you will have a simple-to-make, nutrient-packed side.


  • 1-2 pounds green beans
  • healthy side dishesGarlic-Lemon Dressing

Steam green beans until they are bright and tender. Remove from heat. In a large bowl make Garlic-Lemon Dressing as directed in the previous recipe by vigorously whisking together lemon juice, water, olive oil, salt (to taste) and garlic powder. Add green beans and toss to cover with dressing. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled to enhance flavor.

3) Fruit Kabobs

These are easy to assemble and eat! The vibrantly colored kabobs, when piled high on a platter, look appetizing and impressive. Plop these cool babies on the dessert table, and they will be gone in a flash as friends forego higher calorie, sugar-laden desserts for these neat-to-eat treats.

You Need:

  • Kabob Skewers
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapes

*The fruit you use is completely up to you and your preferences, but we suggest picking fruits in varied colors that will stand up to skewers and resist browning.

Assemble as you would shish-kabob. Alternate fruit cubes of different colors. Chill kabobs in a refrigerator before serving.

These ideas for healthy side dishes are sure winners that can withstand the challenge of staying fresh on a picnic table. Go beyond calorie-laden processed cookies and chips and add pizazz to the party when you show up with not one, but three, simple, nutritious sides!

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