Thursday, June 28, 2012

Keeping Summer Foods Light

A few weeks ago we talked about how summer fun can lead to overindulgence (ice cream anyone?), and how important it is to take advantage of the nice weather by staying active.  This week, I want to talk about those overindulgences a little more, and see if we can’t make them a little less...indulgent.

I absolutely adore summer.  I look forward to picnics in the park and backyard BBQs almost as much as I look forward to Christmas. From the beginning of my weight loss journey I knew that no diet plan was going to keep me from enjoying a good meal, in the sunshine, among friends.  Since this was a tradition I was not going to give up, I had to figure out ways to make common summer cook-out foods a little more diet friendly.

Here are some of the ideas I have come up with for healthy summer swap-outs:

Instead of beef burgers on the grill...
try: salmon, mahi mahi, or portabella burgers

Instead of BBQ ribs on the grill...
try: grilled tri-tip roast, lemon-pepper chicken breasts or salmon

Instead of potato salad (~400 calories/cup in Reser’s*)...
try: tabbouleh, light broccoli salad, lentil/bean salad, grilled squash or couscous

Instead of coleslaw (~200 calories/cup in Publix*)...
try: asian slaw, cucumber salad, fruit salad or grilled vegetable salad

Instead of baked beans (~240 calories/cup in Bush’s Best*)...
try: bean salad or gazpacho

Instead of adding mayo or sour cream...
try nonfat yogurt

Instead of a hard lemonade (~220 calories/bottle in Mike’s*)...
try a wine spritzer (wine w/sparkling water)

Instead of lemonade (~120 calories/cup in Simply Lemonade*)...
try: unsweetened iced-tea or sparkling water with lemon juice

Instead of a Dairy Queen Blizzard (up to 1,500 calories*)...
try: a fudge bar, Dilly bar, small strawberry sundae or vanilla orange bar

During the coming months I will be posting some recipes I have developed for healthy summer foods.  I hope they will provide you with some new ideas for healthy dishes to bring to your family picnics.  Stay tuned!

*Calories info was obtained from


  1. Great tips! I've recently found salmon burgers, and I think I like them even more than the beef alternative. Is that photo from one of your recipes? Because, whatever it is, it looks wonderful.

    1. Thanks Krissy! If you live in a place that has a Trader Joe's, their Mahi Mahi burgers are pretty good. I bet you would like them. I have also found recipes online for homemade salmon burgers, and they are fun and easy to make. The photo above is a side salad I made with spinach, mandarin oranges, aged balsamic vinegar and sesame seeds.