Lisa Johnson blogs at TrueFoodMovement.com, where you can find healthy recipes and fun ideas about food.
Hot dogs, burgers, ice cream…summer parties can wreak havoc with your waistline. We’ve got five summer party themes that let you kick back and enjoy yourself instead of counting calories.
Think more salsa, less queso. Mexican food comes from fresh ingredients and simple preparations. There are a lot of healthy Mexican dishes such as ceviche, a taco salad, and fajitas with whole wheat wraps. There are only 146 calories in a Corona, so you can even enjoy a little beer.
Try this: Roasted Tomatillo and Pineapple Salsa (more…)
I can say that the Fourth of July is my hands-down favorite holiday of the year. It’s smack dab in the middle of summer and everyone is happy. It’s a good-time vibe all day, and usually all weekend when the holiday doesn’t fall on a Wednesday.
Like most Americans, I love the food aspect of these patriotic celebrations. Picnic food has got to be some of the best, but it tends to be some of the worst for us. Just like I had to rethink my go-to beef burgers and swap them for a pretty tasty turkey burger, I had to rethink my sides. Particularly potato salad.
I love potato salad! I used to day dream about that big yellow dollop on my plate. Now I kind of shudder when I see that pail of mayo-mustard mess. I felt like I owed it to myself and my guests to come up with something better, and so I did. (more…)
Father’s Day is just around the corner and we’re getting ready to celebrate our dads the best way we know how – with food; and the healthier it is the better.
While most Americans will be grilling dad a burger or steak or taking him out to eat, we’re opting for a more original, creative and nature-centered meal: a picnic.
Picnics are great for many reasons: they’re low maintenance, casual, portable, leave room for creativity and can be incredibly healthy. Not to mention you get to eat in the great outdoors without a distraction – or cranky waitress – in sight. This scenario sounds kind of perfect to us, which is why we’re planning a healthy picnic for our own dad’s this upcoming Father’s Day weekend. (more…)
My office mates and I recently held a lunch hour sandwich-making party. We had all of the fixings, but not a lot of the standards. Mini croissants, Orowheat sandwich rounds, and whole grain bread was piled high with black bean dip, roasted red pepper hummus, almond butter, avocados, sprouts, and Craisins. What we ended up with was a colorful collection of some of the tastiest, boldest, freshest sandwiches any of us have had in a while.
The Simple Mediterranean Sandwich and the Strawberry and PB Sandwich were two stand-out favorites, and all of the vegetarians loved the Bold Black Bean Sandwich. We’re sure you’ll find at least one favorite in our collection of nine new summer sandwich recipes because they’re all winners. They’re healthy, they’re simple, and many of the ingredients could be found on a well-stocked grocery store salad bar during your lunch hour. (more…)
If you feel like your diet is stuck in a summer rut, don’t wait until after Labor Day to detox. Similar to Memorial Day parties and the Fourth of July cookouts, Labor Day often means an indulgent outdoor gathering featuring rich grilled meats and high-fat side dishes.
This year, to keep things on the lighter side, think beyond the barbecue when you’re planning your menu. Since Labor Day typically marks the unofficial end to summer and the beginning of the school year, it’s a great time to celebrate the season with some of your favorite fresh summer fruits and vegetables.
If you’re tired of turning on the grill to entertain, spend this Labor Day with five delicious healthy recipes for your Labor Day party from food bloggers across the country who plan to get in touch with their patriotic side using plenty of seasonal produce.
When you’re planning a picnic or cookout, creating a perfect menu can be challenging when you have vegetarians coming to dinner.
Though most vegetarians eat a varied, balanced diet, carnivores might have a difficult time coming up with inventive main dish options for guests with dietary restrictions.
Rainbow Sandwich: If cold cuts are on the menu for your next picnic, don’t relegate the vegetarians to cheese sandwiches or peanut butter and jelly. Tomatoes, avocado and pesto make for such a delicious sandwich that even your meat eaters in the group will want one.
Appetizers and finger foods can be the most exciting part of a meal – sometimes they even steal the show from the main dish itself. In the summertime, chips and dips might be convenient but they aren’t always the healthiest pair.
Next time you need a healthier appetizer or hors d’oeuvre, ditch the bag of chips and store-bought salsa and make slimmer versions of your favorite meal starters.
Instead of Ranch or Onion Dip…
Blue Cheese Dip. Most prepackaged dips and mixes have a lot of calories, fat, sodium and even sugar. Making your own, especially one perfect for the Atkins Diet, is a healthier alternative to your store-bought standby.
Summer is in full swing and many of us have the sunburn and mosquito bites to prove it. If you’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors then odds are, you’ve attended a picnic, backyard party or cook out under the sun and are beginning to tire of hamburgers, hot dogs and grilled chicken.
Next time you’re planning the menu, look for inventive new dishes that will kick off your party on the right note. Whether you’re in the mood for light lunch fare like salads or sandwiches, something hot off the grill or a stick-t0-your ribs meal that will stand up to the heat, you don’t need to ditch your diet to have fun this summer.
Salads & Sandwiches:
Arroz con Pollo Salad: Chicken and rice sounds like a heavy meal but not when you put it into a refreshing salad form. If you’re entertaining in your back yard this is a great option for anyone who wants to indulge without the guilt.
On picnics and at barbecues, it isn’t often the main dishes that contribute the most calories to the meal. Side dishes, picnic salads and desserts can all be heavy and high-calorie if you aren’t careful to limit the oil, dairy and other indulgent ingredients.
Make a few simple swaps next time you plan a picnic or outdoor dinner party to shave hundreds off calories off your summer meals.
Carrot Hummus: Baby carrots are often used as a dipping vehicle for this chickpea-packed Middle Eastern spread, but this recipe incorporates carrots within. Serve over whole grain crackers or whole wheat pita bread – or even with raw veggie sticks for even more nutrition.
Herbed Dip for Veggies: If you want to up your veggie intake at your next picnic, ditch the chips and whip up a dip for your favorite vegetables that uses light sour cream and silken tofu.
When you think of picnic salads, you probably think of fattening classics like coleslaw, potato salad and macaroni salad. Not only are these traditional salads laden with saturated fat and empty calories, they’re usually bound with mayonnaise, which makes them susceptible to spoilage.
Instead of looking to the usual suspects next time you’re asked to bring a dish to a potluck picnic, opt for something mayo-free that will keep well at room temperature and help you stick to a healthy diet.
Instead of coleslaw…
Apple Slaw: Full of fresh, crunchy apples and mixed with low-fat yogurt, this slaw has less than a hundred calories per serving and is a great alternative to a fuller-fat version.
If you’ve spent the long winter and rainy spring hibernating in your home, the summer months are the perfect time to plan an outdoor activity.
Before you pack your basket and head to the park with a pretty blanket, a Frisbee – and maybe even a bottle of wine – use these tips to make your outing simple and satisfying.
Tip #1: Plan Ahead. If you’re planning a homemade picnic meal, prepare as much as you can the night before. You can chop, wash and dry fruits and veggies so they’ll be crisp, fresh and ready for salads or snacking. To save even more time the next morning, assemble sandwiches the night before your picnic – just hold the water-based ingredients, such as cucumber or tomato, otherwise you’ll end up with soggy bread. You could also make one of these 8 creative picnic salads.