Most people think they know the golden rule of navigating backyard BBQs: Eat the meat and veggies, avoid the dips and spreads. But before you blow by the bowl of bean dip and decide not to rock the guac, know that dips can be an excellent way to add protein to your summertime spread. You just need to prepare them the right way. (See Navigate a Backyard BBQ With Healthy Choices.)
Most dips are loaded with salt and saturated fat, but they don’t need to be. In many cases, you can make smart substitutions that can deliver a powerful nutritional punch with fewer calories.
Greek Yogurt Dips
Plain Greek yogurt is a low-fat, high protein way to get the creamy texture you want for veggie dips. (So long, fatty sour cream and mayo mixes!) The plain yogurt adds no sweetness and can easily be infused with a variety of flavored mixes.
- Spinach Dip: Mix thawed spinach into plain Greek yogurt and season with garlic, salt and pepper.
- Fruit Dip: Add agave or honey to sweeten plain Greek yogurt for a sweet fruit dip.
- Ranch or Onion Dip: Use seasoning packets from the grocery store and mix into plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
- Tzatziki: Make a homemade Greek dip by adding cucumbers, dill, garlic, and olive oil.
- Buffalo Dip: Add hot sauce and pre-cooked shredded chicken breast to Greek yogurt and serve with veggies.
Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, and they’re perfect for blending into a creamy, summer dip.
- Hummus: Blend cooked chickpeas, tahini and olive oil into a simple base, and choose from spices such as red pepper, garlic, and jalapeno to give it a distinctive flavor.
- Black Bean Dip: Pulse cooked black beans with cumin, diced onion, tomatoes, and cilantro for a flavor-packed dip that goes great with rice or wheat crackers.
- White Bean Dip: Blend cooked white beans with lemon juice, olive oil, and rosemary for a refreshing and light veggie spread.
- Lima Bean Dip: This recipe, similar to hummus, give you a way to switch from buttery lima beans to a savory dip that makes a great accouterment for crackers.
Healthy Fat-Based Dips
Healthy fats increase your level of satiety—you feel full and satisfied longer after eating them—so you’ll eat less during the day. These healthy dips combine good fats with protein (and, of course, great taste), making them ideal choices for fit snackers.
- Salmon Dip: Mix canned salmon with capers, olive oil, and lemon juice for a delicious spread that goes great with whole grain crackers.
- Guacamole: Mash ripe avocado with lime juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper for a truly delicious spread. For an extra muscle-building boost, mix in 1/2 cup of cottage cheese to up the protein level and make it creamier.
- Peanut Butter Dip: This classic Asian style recipe paired with chicken or vegetable skewers is a great alternative to sugary BBQ sauces.
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