While fun, all those barbecues and cookouts of summer can present a challenge when you’re trying to lose weight and stay healthy. However, there’s no need to ditch these fun get-togethers for fear of derailing your healthy lifestyle. Instead, you can employ some simple tricks to help you stay on track.

According to Courtney McCormick, manager of clinical research and nutrition at Nutrisystem, here are several ways to keep winning at weight loss without missing out on the fun.

  • Volunteer to Bring the Appetizers: If you don’t want your only snacking choice to be chips and high-calorie onion dip or a cheese and meat tray, offer to bring a veggie plater along with low-fat dip, or baked chips with salsa or hummus.

“I’m a big fan of making my own chips to bring to barbecues. I’ll make kale chips or apple chips — they’re always a crowd-pleaser,” says Genie Francis, soap opera television star and Nutrisystem ambassador.

  • Take a Small Scoop of Coleslaw: Even if it’s made with high-fat mayonnaise, one serving (around three ounces) is only about 172 calories and has two grams of fiber (thank you cabbage!), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Better yet, make your own and bring it with you — just swap in low-calorie mayo for the regular variety or do a vinegar-based dressing to cut the calories by as much as two-thirds.
  • Enjoy Those Baked Beans (in Moderation): We all love baked beans at a BBQ. Feel free to eat them, just try to stick to half a cup or less, as one cup could have more than 300 calories, depending on the brand. The good news is that this side is also high in hunger-satisfying fiber — half a cup has about five grams.
  • Load Up on Green Salad: Produce is abundant this time of year. Bring a green salad to the party. Don’t forget to add lots of low-calorie veggies and pair it with a bottle of low-calorie dressing. Or, opt for grilled veggie kebabs, which are full of fiber and flavor and light on calories.
  • For Dessert, Think Fresh or Frozen: End your meal with a slice of watermelon, a scoop of fruit salad or fruity sorbet, or a healthful frozen fruit bar. You’ll be able to indulge without all the guilt, and your taste buds will thank you.

For more great tips on how to lose weight and live healthier, visit leaf.nutrisystem.com.

When you’re faced with those tough weight-loss “make-or-break” moments this summer, remember, BBQs have nothing on you. You can make healthier choices and still enjoy the company of family and friends.