To many Americans, summer means backyard barbecues and picnics. Often, living with diabetes turns what once was a care-free culinary outing into something to worry about.

If you are a guest, then you end up worrying about whether or not there will be anything that you can eat without jeopardizing your meal plan. If you are the host (and food preparer) for a summer get-together, then you worry about what your guests will think when faced with healthier, diabetic-friendly dishes.

Well have no fear, because help is here. The recipes featured below are enough to satisfy even the most hardened summer barbecue crowd, while at the same time it offers people living with diabetes (and some on other special diets) the opportunity to more closely adhere to their meal plan.

If you're going to an outdoor party, pick a few of the recipes featured below and bring them along (either prepared, half-prepared or ready to be cooked). I can't imagine a host objecting to sharing a little room on the grill or picnic table with you. Actually, most hosts will be relieved that you brought something "safe" to eat because it lets them off the hook!

If you are hosting a party, then you'll be well served by preparing some of the many recipes featured below. While they are generally lower in fat, calories, and carbohydrates than the burgers and mayonnaise-riddled salads usually dished in the yard, they don't scrimp on taste. Whether it's the cool, refreshing Tomato and Red Onion Salad or the mouth-watering Jamaican Rubbed Chops, you'll be on the receiving end of nothing but compliments.

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But be forewarned, these recipes do not provide you with a "free pass" to an all-you-can-eat "plates piled high" day. Pay careful attention to the serving sizes given, and the nutritional information provided for each dish, and make sure you make choices that fit into your meal plan. It's all too easy to take advantage of the "diabetic-friendly" designation given to a recipe, using it, instead, to justify over-indulgence by disregarding serving sizes. Don't fall into this trap - eat responsibly!

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We hope you enjoy these terrific recipes and your outdoor dining.

Soups, Salads and Sides

Main Dishes

Desserts