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Pick a healthier picnic
Backyard meals dont have to be bad for you, if you make different choices
A not-so-sinful take on deviled eggs uses cottage cheese to replace the yolk and some of the mayonnaise, cutting the fat. - photo by Matthew Mead

Summertime is officially here and that's the prime season for backyard barbecues.

Despite the oppressive heat, many folks look forward to warmer weather because it means picnic tables will be overflowing with goodies like potato salad, juicy burgers and sweet treats.

But though they're delicious, they may not always be the healthiest food choices.

No need to fret though — with a few simple tweaks you can give some of your summertime favorites a healthier twist.

Take deviled eggs for instance. The creamy filling is usually a combination of mayonnaise and egg yolks. Although the yolks have lots of nutritional value, they are also full of fat and cholesterol.

For a more health-conscious version of the classic deviled eggs, try replacing half of the yolks and some of the mayonnaise with cottage cheese.

The cottage cheese may sound a little off-putting, but it's a great trick for when you need thick, creamy and low-fat. With a relatively neutral flavor, it can be combined with other ingredients, such as fresh herbs, to be used instead of mayonnaise - even as a sandwich spread.

And instead of the typical, backyard burger, why not consider replacing the beef with a poultry alternative? Chicken sliders can be infused with all of the typical burger flavors, but since they are created from ground chicken instead of beef, they have less total and saturated fat.

Because sliders are small, they set the stage for the kind of portion control that allows you to include all of the indulgent ingredients that make burgers great. For Southwestern-style chicken sliders, each of the patties is sprinkled with reduced-fat cheddar cheese and real bacon bits.

To build on the smokiness and add some heat, adobo sauce is blended with reduced-fat mayonnaise and smeared on each of the sliders' buns.

For a healthy dessert, consider forgoing the rich cakes and opting instead for a bowl of summer berries topped with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

The Associate Press contributed to this article.