Come spring and summer, we all want to nosh on something a little bit lighter. Maybe it's because we're trying to squeeze into last season's bikini, or the extra sunshine in our day brings out our inner health nut, but either way, it is scientifically proven that we eat lighter in the warmer months.
If you like to fire up the grill and entertain in the beautiful summer months, here are seven healthy summer recipes to try!
Make your own chicken burgers by combining ground chicken meat, finely chopped onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno (for a little spice!) and a variety of other flavors by following this cheddar-jalapeno chicken burger recipe. It even comes with guac!
For an even healthier meal, try going bun-less and serve with a freshly mixed side salad. If you're like us and like to wash your burger down with a beverage (and not the virgin kind), try pairing this with a light beer or a skinny-girl cocktail.
Have fun with this meal! Are you a parent that has to feed some particularly picky kids? Turn this meal into a make-your-own style dinner for friends, family or kids.
Boil thin, Asian noodles, whip up a quick and easy peanut sauce in the blender, sauté chicken in a pan with peanut oil and sesame seeds, shred some carrots (or buy pre-shredded) and buy some butter lettuce to use as wraps. This low-cal, low-carb meal is a fun and healthy way to enjoy summer eating in the great outdoors!
Since the prep work for this meal is a little more cumbersome, try making this one on a Friday or Saturday when you're in the mood to entertain. And try pairing it with a light and delicious cocktail.
Chilled Soup & Summer Salad
Try this light and healthy meal one Meatless Monday!
For the salad: Wash, rinse and roughly chop one head of butter lettuce (or more, depending on how many people you're feeding). Place desired amount neatly on plate. Add chopped or sliced avocado (whichever you prefer) on top and some grapefruit slices (peel the fruit like an orange so that you can break out neat little sections for your salad).
To dress the salad, crack a little fresh pepper over your greens and mix a pinch of salt, olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Drizzle lightly over the lettuce so as not to over-dress.
For a fun and different style dressing, check out this poppy seed dressing recipe, too!
For the soup: try this delicious chilled cucumber soup and cool down with your summer slim-down meal!
Next time you're grilling some shrimp (or burgers or veggie burgers) on the barbie, try this awesome trick:
Grill some fresh fruit like pineapple, plums or watermelon to accompany your meal. This sweet and delicious side dish is a fantastic complement to any savory meal. Use a chipotle rub on your fish or meat of choice for the best flavor combination.
Don't have a grill? Not a problem! Try broiling grapefruit in the oven instead.
Summer Sandwiches & Grilled Corn Salad
Try making a light summer sandwich on a panini press, or if you do not have a panini press you can use a George Foreman Grill or even the ol' pan and plate method (use the back of the plate to apply pressure onto the sandwich and trap the heat underneath for an optimal "grilling" effect).
Use delicious ingredients like prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, arugula and thinly sliced tomatoes for a light and tasty summer treat! Try whole grain or even sprouted grain bread – not white!
For the salad: Chop grape tomatoes, avocado and cilantro to the desired amount, place in bowl and set aside. Use a can of unsalted corn and sauté on the stovetop until it gets that "grilled" look. If you have a grill, throw fresh cobs on (with the husk). Once cooked, use a sharp knife to slice off the corn.
Mix the corn with the cilantro mixture and with one teaspoon minced garlic, the juice of a lime, and salt and pepper to taste. Throw in a little cayenne pepper if you want your salad to have a little kick.
Slice your sandwich in half, plate your meal with a generous serving of the salad on the side, and indulge guilt-free!
Stuffed Portobellos with a Side Salad
Breakfast for dinner? We say yes! Wash some large portobello mushrooms (we recommend two per person), pat dry with a clean paper towel, rub the inside with a little bit of olive oil using your index and pointer finger and season with your favorite spices.
Then crack approximately one egg per mushroom and bake at 350 for roughly 10 to 12 minutes, or until the egg whites set.
Serve with a side of a mixed green salad dressed in oil and vinegar and enjoy!
Lemon Chicken with a Healthy Potato Salad
For nights when you're starving and need a hearty meal, try this delicious combo.
For the chicken: Squeeze juice from one lemon on the bottom of a lightly oiled baking dish, then pat dry the raw chicken in the dish. Sprinkle a little bit of salt and pepper onto the chicken, cover the chicken in a thin layer of feta cheese and squirt the juice from another whole lemon over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.
Make a healthy potato salad by using fingerling potatoes, softened after boiling for roughly 15 to 20 minutes. Substitute half an avocado (or a full one for a bigger batch) for mayonnaise and stir in the juice of one lime, a teaspoon salt, chopped red onion and cucumber to taste. Garnish with roughly chopped scallions.
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- Chandra, Isa. "Creamy Avocado Potato Salad." Web log post. Http://www.theppk.com/. Post Punk Kitchen, 24 May 2011. Web. 1 May 2013.
- "Cheddar Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole." Web log post. Http://whatsgabycooking.com/. What's Gaby Cooking?, 1 Mar. 2013. Web. 1 May 2013.
- "Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe." Web log post. Http://www.tasteofhome.com/. Light & Tasty, n.d. Web. 1 May 2013.
- "Lemon Feta Chicken." Web log post. Http://twograypumpkins.blogspot.com/. Two Gray Pumpkins, 14 July 2011. Web. 1 May 2013.
- Mayfield, Anji. "Grilled Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad with Honey Lime Dressing." Web log post. Http://www.tastebook.com/. Tastebook, n.d. Web. 1 May 2013.