For me, chicken can feel like an uninspired fallback at a summer party, depending on the seasonings (or lack thereof) and the method of preparation. Perhaps I’ve been put off by one too many cookouts where the main event consisted of dried-out white meat and the only logical choice was to double up on pasta salad and dessert. But truth be told, chicken — when done right — is a remarkably juicy canvas for conveying endless flavor combinations. With a little imagination (and a tasty rub or glaze), you can capture the attention of everyone at your summer party, starting with these healthy takes on the common bird. I, for one, am ready to give chicken a second look.
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Smoothies are quintessential summer drinks. With the right ingredients, they can be healthy, portable and convenient — drinks you can feel good about slurping. While you may enjoy them for their refreshing, delicious flavors, some days you just might crave more texture and crunch. Enter the smoothie bowl, which swaps out the straw and cup for a spoon and bowl. Read more
This vegan, whole-grain and refined-sugar-free cobbler will change your mind about healthy desserts for good. When served warm from the oven, the succulent peaches and the sweet cinnamon-kissed top will leave your guests clamoring for more. Read more
Right up there with the burgers and hot dogs, pasta salad is one of those can’t-pass-up dishes that we can’t wait to serve up every summer, when we finally dust off the grill and throw a backyard cookout. Though the pasta and macaroni salads you’re used to may have been drenched in mayo, these better-for-you recipes prove that, with a few easy modifications, you can still take a scoop of this classic side without derailing your healthy lifestyle.
Just because you’re lightening up your pasta salad, it doesn’t mean you have to go without the creamy texture you grew up on. Instead of leaving the mayo out altogether, simply ease up on it for a lighter American Macaroni Salad. Food Network Kitchen’s quintessential recipe also loads up on veggies, so you get their crunch and nutrients.
If there’s one thing I’m a sucker for in the summertime, it’s a piping-hot fruit dessert cloaked in buttery, sugary dough or a crackly crumble. While downing freshly picked peaches or bushels of berries is a veritable seasonal rite, those fruits are rendered even sweeter when warmed in a casserole dish or cast-iron pan, their juices melding irresistibly with the caramelized sugar of the topping. But there are two things that don’t mix well in the summertime: sugar and bathing suits.
In reality, the natural sugars in fruits lend baked and grilled treats plenty of sweetness, so you can get away with less sugar, less butter, and better-for-you flours and oats without sacrificing the flavor of these oh-so-craveable desserts. So enjoy your summer fruit treats — and pool time — with these five better-for-you recipes.
Mixed Berry Cobbler
Ellie Krieger coats her baking dish with cooking spray — not butter — before tossing berries with whole-wheat flour, sugar and zest to thicken and brighten the fruit mixture. Her cobbler topping incorporates both whole-wheat and all-purpose flours to lighten the dish while keeping some of that original biscuit flavor. Read more
The season of alfresco dining is upon us, which means it’s time to dust off your red-and-white-checkered blanket and head to the park for a summer feast. But before you reach for lackluster salads and slaws prepared at the supermarket, check out these five tips for packing your picnic basket with healthy homemade treats that showcase seasonal ingredients. If you’re worried about food spoiling in the sun, rest assured: You can still bypass prepackaged, preservative-laced options in favor of homemade recipes. Read more
Wheat berries might sound exotic, but you’ve had them before, most likely in their ground form — aka whole-wheat flour. A wheat berry is the entire wheat kernel before it’s been processed into bread, cereal or pasta. Since wheat berries are unprocessed (they contain the bran, germ and endosperm of the wheat kernel), they’re loaded with nutrients, including fiber, protein and B vitamins. Chewy and nutty, they make a great addition to salads, side dishes and more. Try them in these delicious dishes. Read more
A couple of years ago, I started training for triathlons. I’m far from a natural superathlete — the initial motivation was to balance out my love of food! — but I’ve always been a regular exerciser and wanted a new challenge. I’ve now caught the racing bug, and along with it comes a whole new world of nutrition. Every veteran triathlete or marathon runner has his or her regimen, and it’s hard to sort through all of the energy bars, gels and powders on the market. Here are five homemade power snacks that won’t leave you puzzling over unpronounceable ingredients on the back of the package. Read more
Chia seeds may be tiny, but they pack a big nutritional punch: They’re loaded with fiber, protein, calcium and omega-3s (aka “healthy” fats). They expand in water, which is why they’re perfect for making pudding. Simply add them to your favorite milk (soy, almond, coconut — you name it!) and watch the seeds expand to create a satisfying, tapioca-like texture. Whether you’re looking for a healthy snack or a delicious dessert, try one of these mouthwatering chia pudding recipes. Read more
While I pride myself on my willingness to eat pretty much anything, I’ll admit it: I hate mayonnaise. I inherited the mayo-averse gene from my father, who literally cannot stand the sight of this condiment. I’m more forgiving, but I still opt for mustard on my sandwiches, vinaigrette-style dressings, and mayo-free versions of picnic staples like coleslaw and potato salad.
Even if you love mayo, there are some risks to leaving dishes made with it out in the sun for too long. So try these healthy, mayo-free summer sides that’ll please the mayo haters, lighten things up a bit, and keep your picnic spread safe sans refrigeration. Read more