Now that summer is finally here with festive beach outings and bonfires to look forward to, it’s the perfect time to experiment with some healthy, guilt-free snack ideas. I absolutely love summertime……the long days, beautiful weather and gathering with friends. I have a handful of “go to” appetizer to share with you that will make socializing over food and drinks much easier to stay on track with your healthy eating and fitness goals.

While the good ol’ standbys like chips-and-dip or macaroni salad, may be quick, easy…..and tasty too, they are quite possibly sabotaging your quest for that stealth summer bod. Instead of the same ol’ same ol’, why not surprise your crew with something fresh, healthy and delicious!

Here are a few of my easy, “Lisa approved” appetizers:

Cowboy Caviar


1 can organic corn

1 can organic black beans

1 handful cilantro, chopped

3 medium tomatoes, chopped

1-2 avocados, sliced

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Tabasco, to taste

sea salt, to taste

ground pepper, to taste


Slice tomatoes, and avocado and chop cilantro and add to mixing bowl. Open canned corn and beans, drain, and add to the mixing bowl. Add olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and Tabasco to taste.

Serve with sliced vegetables like cucumber, celery, carrots, jicama and bell pepper

Veggie Kebabs


1 red bell pepper, cut into squares

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into squares

1 orange bell pepper, cut into squares

1 large white onion, cut into squares

1 carton of mushrooms, de-stemmed


Skewer veggies on wooden grilling sticks. Coat vegetables with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Grill for approximately 10 minutes.

Homemade Avocado Hummus & Vegetables


For the hummus:

1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled

1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons tahini

½ teaspoon teaspoon kosher or sea salt

2-3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the sliced Veggies:

2 carrots, slices

2 stalks of celery, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced

1 cucumber, sliced


Add all ingredients for the hummus mixture into a blender or food processor.

Puree on high until smooth.

Place humus into a serving bowl and sliced vegetables onto a serving dish and enjoy!

Grass-Fed Beef Sirloin Kebabs


½ cup plain Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill

1 Tbsp. grated lemon rind

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. sea salt, divided

1 lb. grass-fed top sirloin steak, trimmed

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. black pepper

8 (8-inch(skewers)

Chopped green onions


Preheat grill/barbecue to 450-550 degrees F.

Combine yogurt, dill, lemon rind, lemon juice and ¼ tsp. salt in a small bowl and stir well.

Cut steak into 16, 4×1 inch strips and toss with oil. Sprinkle with coriander, pepper and remaining salt.

Thread 2 pieces of meat onto wooden skewer.

Coat barbecue grill with oils and place skewers onto barbecue. Grill uncovered for 90 seconds on each side or until slightly charred.

Sprinkle meat skewers with green onion.

Serve with yogurt dipping sauce and enjoy.

I hope you give these recipes a try. Don’t be afraid to get into the kitchen and try something new this summer! Home cooking is the best way to enjoy your summer eats and stay on track with your health goals.



Lisa Dawes, registered dietitian/nutritionist, certified diabetes educator and integrative nutrition practitioner has over 15 years of experience in the field of nutrition. She is located in San Luis Obispo County, and specializes in the prevention and management of diabetes, pre diabetes and high cholesterol, sustainable weight loss, treatment and management of candida, leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and food allergies. Her office is based in Arroyo Grande, CA.

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