Is the hot weather bringing you down? Perk up with cool salads, or even a refreshing soup. They're a great way to cool off and pack in lots of nutrients without the weighted down feeling of overeating.
Try these ideas or the recipe that follows!
- Mix up basic greens by adding fruit- pears, strawberries--your choice!
- Make a light favorite side salad a complete meal by adding protein. Try nuts, egg whites, or your grilled specialty- chicken, shrimp, or seared tuna to name a few.
- A light, fresh dressing is best for summer - think oil and vinegar or vinaigrette. Lemon or lime juice can also add lots of tangy flavor guilt-free!
- In the mood for chicken salad? Bulk up this classic by using whole wheat pasta and adding chopped celery, onions, and red grapes.
- Adding basil, mint, parsley, dill, and even cilantro can have a cooling effect. While you're at it, lay off hot spices for the summer months. Pepper, chili powder, Tabasco sauce, etc. can turn up your temperature from the inside out.
- For a summer soup, puree your favorite veggies and mix with low fat plain yogurt and/or low sodium chicken stock to reach your desired consistency. Red pepper with tomato is a great flavor combo while cucumber and squash are great stand alones. Season to taste with the cool summer herbs listed above. Serve cooled for a refreshing twist on the traditional winter favorite.
1 cup quinoa (can substitute whole grain pasta or couscous)
1 cucumber, diced
3-4 tomatoes, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1-2 lemons, juiced
4 ounces Feta cheese
Fresh parsley or mint
Make the quinoa as directed, fluff with a fork. You can also substitute whole wheat pasta or even wheat couscous as desired. Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to moisten the grain. Once cool, add diced cucumber, tomatoes and onion, along with remaining olive oil (1-2 tablespoons) and lemon juice. Then, crumble feta cheese and add fresh herbs. Toss to distribute ingredients, chill, and serve!
Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of www.Skinnyandthecity.com. She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto www.FFactorDiet.com.