WEB DESK: Summers are the time when you plan for the outings and beaches. Picnics are being arranged and get together are planned.
In summers, we crave for something chilly and sweet more. While you’re out enjoying the weather this summer, make sure that you’re enjoying some healthy treats to keep you going.
To help you make sure you’re not giving up good taste in favor of being healthy, we have some nutritious twists on yummy treats that are sure to please and let you enjoy all of the tastes of summer.
1. The Treat: Ice Cream
The Healthy Twist: Frozen Yogurt with Fresh Fruit
Sometimes the summer weather calls for a cold ice cream cone at the beach, but for the times when you’re looking for something lighter, opt for frozen yogurt with granola.
The active cultures in the yogurt are good for your digestive system, so make sure you pick a kind that contains them. If you find a type of frozen yogurt that suits your fancy, you might even prefer it to ice cream!
You can skip the granola and choose chopped nuts instead. Adding a few handfuls of fresh fruit to your treat will boost it up with vitamins and antioxidants.
We recommend adding fresh berries or kiwi slices to give your treat a true summertime feeling.
2. The Treat: Beef Kabobs
The Healthy Twist: Fish Kabobs
While you’re cooking out on the grill, make sure that you have some healthy kabobs to complete the rest of your meal. Kabobs are fun to eat and put you in the summertime spirit.
Even though traditional kabobs contain red meat, try mixing it up and incorporate a lean protein such as fish instead for a healthy twist.
This recipe will help you make kabobs that are yummy and nutritious.
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 1 ¼ pounds raw firm fish, cut into chunks
- 4 cups fresh pineapple, cut into large chunks
- 1 large red onion, cut into wedges
- In a small saucepan, dissolve the cornstarch in the pineapple juice.
- Add the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and ginger.
- Simmer until slightly thickened, about 7 minutes. Let cool.
- Add the fish and pineapple to sauce, then marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Thread the fish, pineapple and onion onto skewers. Place them onto a hot grill or under a broiler until the fish is cooked as much as you’d like.
- Serve with rice, and heat the marinate to use as a sauce for the skewers and the rice.
3. The Treat: Snow Cones
The Healthy Twist: Ice Pops
Once again, making your own treats allows you to know what is going into your food and gives you more control. With ice pops, you can easily make your own satisfying frozen treat that’s still healthy.
Ice pops usually only require a few ingredients, such as fruit, water and sugar. To make kiwi ice pops, follow this recipe:
- 1 ¾ cups of water
- 1 cup of sugar
- 4 kiwis
- ½ cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
- Combine 1 cup of water and the sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil to make the syrup. Set aside to cool.
- To begin making the pops, cut the kiwi into quarters, peel and remove the white core and seeds from each piece.
- Place the sliced kiwi pieces in a bowl and purée for about one minute.
- Combine the puréed kiwi, ¾ cup syrup, lime juice and remaining water into a large bowl.
- Pour the mixture into molds and freeze until solid for about six hours, then remove and enjoy!
Instead of classic ice pops that you can eat like popsicles, you can also try making frozen fruit ice cubes. They’re even easier to make than ice pops and require fewer ingredients.
We recommend using watermelon as your fruit since it’s a classic summer staple with a sweet taste. It’s the only ingredient you’ll need to make this treat besides maybe a little bit of water.
- Cut up watermelon into large chunks and place them in a blender.
- Liquefy the watermelon in the blender.
- Place the liquid into an ice cube tray. Try to find an ice cube tray with a cool design, like stars or hearts.
- Put the tray in a freezer and wait a few hours until frozen solid.
4. The Treat: Mayo-Based Pasta Salad
The Healthy Twist: Whole-Wheat Pasta Salad with Grilled Veggies and Greek Yogurt
A classic cookout food during the summer is pasta salad. Even though it tastes like heaven, it’s often made with a calorie-heavy mayonnaise base and creamy dressings.
For a healthier twist, try this pasta salad recipe:
Ingredients for the Salad
- 1 pound of whole-wheat pasta; cooked, drained and cooled
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
- 1 large cucumber; peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 pound grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup finely diced red onion
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh mint, chopped
- ½ pound feta cheese, cut into bite-sized cubes
- ¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Ingredients for the Dressing
- ½ cup Greek yogurt, drained
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Once blended, cover and refrigerate for later use.
- Cook the pasta as directed.
- Chop the vegetables and herbs while the pasta is cooking.
- Combine all of the salad ingredients except for the feta and the pasta into a large bowl.
- Toss lightly and season with the salt and pepper.
- Once the pasta is done cooking, drain it well and rinse under cool water.
- Add the pasta to the salad ingredients and mix in the dressing.
- Lightly toss the pasta to distribute all of the ingredients before serving, adding the feta cubes last.
5. The Treat: Potato Chips
The Healthy Twist: Kale Chips
When you’re at a cookout and the only snack food is potato chips, it can be super tempting to dive in and crunch away. It might feel good in the moment, but chips are super greasy and contain 10 grams of fat per one-ounce serving, which can leave you feeling unsatisfied.
Instead, try munching on some crunchy kale chips. Kale contains vitamins A and C for a healthy immune system, vitamin K for cancer prevention, calcium for your teeth and bones and iron for overall health benefits and blood cell regulation. It’s also a great detox food because it keeps your liver healthy.
This recipe shows you just how simple it is to enjoy kale chips.
- 1 bunch kale, rinsed and torn into large pieces
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- Optional seasonings: cayenne pepper and garlic powder
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
- Lay your washed kale onto a baking sheet, drizzle with the oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then flip, then bake for another 10 minutes until the chips are crispy.
- Allow to cool before transferring into a bowl.
6. The Treat: Classic S’mores
The Healthy Twist: Raspberry Dark Chocolate S’mores
Hanging out by a bonfire over the summer usually means digging into a gooey s’more. For a treat that’s equally satisfying with a fruit boost, try a raspberry dark chocolate s’more.
After you roast your marshmallows over the fire, slide them on to a whole-wheat graham cracker. Then, add a few raspberries for a tart twist before adding chocolate.
If you’re a gluten-free gal, another healthy option is to skip the graham cracker and slide a square of dark chocolate into the marshmallow before roasting it over the fire. After it gets warm and toasty, remove it from the flame and add either raspberries or strawberries onto your skewer like you would enjoy a kabob.
Instead of using milk chocolate, use dark chocolate. It will provide an additional antioxidant boost, which helps to free your body from free radicals, which cause damage to your cells. Dark chocolate can lower your blood pressure as well.
Eat healthy, stay healthy! While you’re out enjoying the summer sunshine, choose one of these tasty summer treats to satisfy your sweet tooth and calm your cravings!