Kevin Winter/Getty
People Staff
May 28, 2012 08:30 AM

Memorial Day marks the start of the summer grilling season, and what better way to spend the holiday that with your family and friends – outside.

Celebrity chef Cat Cora – and star Bravo’s Around the World in 80 Plates – says including your children in your meal planning can lead to fun and, most importantly, healthy dining experiences.

In Smart Chefs Stay Slim: Lessons in Eating and Living from America’s Best Chefs, by PEOPLE senior editor Allison Adato, Cora is just one of many celebrity chefs (including Tom Colicchio, Wolfgang Puck, Rick Bayless) with nutritious tips to share.

Cora’s big suggestion? Eat with your kids outside!

The Iron Chef and wife Jennifer are outnumbered by their four young sons. But the grown-ups still eat the healthy dinners they enjoy – and refuse to cave to kiddie food like buttered noodles or chicken fingers. At their home they’ll grill fish, chicken and vegetables, appealing to the boys by making skewered versions.

Anything on a stick, says Cora, “the kids love it. We’ll do a salmon skewer and romesco sauce [nuts, garlic, olive oil and peppers] or lamb with a mint-yogurt sauce and pita bread.”

Looking for more ideas? PEOPLE recently surveyed many more chefs for their best healthy summer eating tips and tricks. Here is some more creative advice:

• “Make coconut water into ice cubes for drinks, or just suck on them like mini popsicles.” – Melissa d’Arabian, host of Food Network’s Ten Dollar Dinners

• “Slice chilled cucumbers, leave the skin on and sprinkle them with sea salt. They’re a great potato chip alternative.” – Geoffrey Zakarian, judge on Food Network’s Chopped

• “Try mango chutney with apple and cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches.” – Padma Lakshmi, host of Top Chef

• “Agave nectar is perfect to add to sweet tea or a cocktail!” – Patrick and Gina Neely, hosts of Food Network’s Down Home with the Neelys (Agave nectar is natural syrup from the agave plant, which is sweeter than sugar.)

For more cooking tips and recipes from your favorite chefs, check out the Great Ideas section of PEOPLE every week

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