School bells are ringing, but summer isn’t over just yet. The weekend air will still fill up with the scent of barbeques and many tables will be set with traditional summer fare at least through the upcoming Labor Day weekend. Yes, bikini season is coming closer to an end but there’s no reason to let all that hard work go to waste as you dine in these last few weeks of summer.
If you haven’t already tackled our Summer Food Bucket List, considering taking advantage of a few healthy food swaps that will allow you to enjoy the best flavors of this season before they’re long gone! These great switch-ups will help you cut the calories, bulk up on nutrition, all while keeping great summertime food on the table.
Try swapping traditional guacamole and tortilla chips for edamame guacamole with lentil chips, a great idea we found at HuffPo. Instead of using avocado for a traditional guac, use edamame (soy) beans to give the added bonus of protein and still a great flavor. Lentil chips are much higher in fiber than a corn chip and will fill you up faster, so you’ll need less to be satisfied.
Most potato chips are very calorie dense and very nutritionally void. If you ditch them for the crunch and savory flavor of a kale chip, you’ll be dropping major calories and increasing the nutrition tremendously. Kale is a very deep green veggie rich in vitamin A and even iron. With this Kale Chips recipe you can easily make your own.
Need a sweet fix? Instead of high fat ice cream go for some banana soft serve that you can make at home. In its simplest form, the dish is just frozen bananas pureed in a food processor. Then, for more flavor, add vanilla, strawberries, peaches, cocoa, or any other add-ins that you like. The treat is tremendously low in calories compared to ice cream and full of the great nutrients of the fresh fruit such as potassium and vitamin C. Use our One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream recipe to get started, and maybe take a tip from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and sweeten the dessert with clementines.
Easy ways to reduce calories while still enjoying the main course at cookouts is to use lettuce for wraps instead of buns or bread. Sturdy greens like romaine, collard greens, cabbage, or Bibb lettuce are great options. With these green veggies you’re bulking up the fiber and adding nutrition. Most cookouts offer a white bun with little to no whole grain, using greens will make the meal fresh and light.
Swap the standard refined flour pizza crust for a portabella mushroom cap, a great idea from Organic Gardening. Simply dress the cap like a normal pizza with a homemade Cabernet Basil Pizza Sauce for a rich taste and a leaner meal. Mushrooms are high in immune building components as well as much lower in calories than flour.
You never know, with this Indian Summer you might need that bikini a little longer than usual. Make a few simple and tasty food swaps and you should be set well in to fall.