Keep the sides as naked as possible
When it comes to side dishes, go for the greens. Make salads from green leafy veggies like spinach, arugula, or watercress, and cook kale or spinach with garlic and serve hot. Also consider adding herbs, like basil or parsley, which contain disease-fighting antioxidants; in fact, all of these can counteract some of the harmful effects of the other foods at a barbecue.
Other tricks: When making dressing for coleslaw or potato salad (or another creamy side salad), replace part or all of the mayonnaise with nonfat plain yogurt. And grill your corn on the cob: Pre-boil it until just tender, to keep it juicy and speed up the cooking time. Then, place it directly on the grill and turn until charred on the outside. Other good options include eggplant, garlic mushrooms, asparagus, and potatoes.
Originally published as The 8 Golden Rules of Having a Healthy Grilling Season on ReadersDigest.com.