5 Renovated Summertime Recipes – Healthier, Tasty, and Simple!
Many of us tend to naturally drop a few pounds as summertime comes around. The heat makes you not as hungry, the availability of delicious fruits and veggies make it easier (and yummier) to eat more of them, and the grill takes the place of the frying pan.
Summer is also the time of delicious, and fattening, favorites from our childhood and overdoing those can sabotage our best intentions. I’ve picked my 5 FAVORITE summertime foods and found delicious, healthier ways to prepare them. This way I can still indulge and revel in the nostalgia and feel good about my food choices. It’s a Win/Win!
Baked Beans – This dish from my girlhood was loaded with bacon, onion, brown sugar, molasses, all stirred into pork and beans and then baked until it was gooey and delicious. I wasn’t sure I would find an alternate that could make me want to give up the sticky deliciousness of my tried and true but the good folks at CleanCuisine had my back! Their recipe for Mom’s Easy Healthy Baked Beans is delicious and will definitely be added to my summer BBQ menu!
Southern Potato Salad – Although there are veggies in this tangy Southern dish, their healthfulness is definitely countered by loads of creamy mayo and (yes) sugar that make this one of my favorite things to eat. I absolutely love cold potato salad mixed with warm Baked Beans, I don’t even want to think about the amount of carbs and calories in that decadent mixture!
To make something taste just as flavorful but remove some of the fat a good trick is to load up on the fresh herbs. That is just what the following recipe for Herbed Potato Salad does and it is amazing! They swap out my traditional gobs of mayo for low-fat sour cream and it is truly something mouthwatering. Check out MyRecipes.com for even more great ideas!
Coleslaw – On the surface, you may wonder how a salad made of cabbage and carrots could possibly be unhealthy. Well, I’m from the South and my Coleslaw is slathered in sugar and Mayo! It is delicious and I love it but not only could it definitely be healthier, but hot sun and Mayo are not the best of friends!
I found a great way to cut out tons of fat and still have a delicious slaw at CookieAndKate.com. They upped the ante using two kinds of cabbage and even added yummy seeds! The best part is the dressing which is lemon and herbs and delish! Do not miss this Simple Seedy Slaw!
Strawberry Shortcake – My all time must-have summer dessert is a Strawberry Shortcake. My Grandma’s version has more sugar than should be legal but oh is it wonderful! To be completely honest, I will eat my Grandmother’s version at least once a year as long as I am able because the memories of making it in her kitchen are so very strong. BUT even I have to admit it is too much for summer-long BBQs and picnics.
BUT even I have to admit it is too much for summer-long BBQs and picnics. EatingWell.com has a delicious and simple solution, their Healthy Strawberry Shortcake Recipe. Instead of the pillowy angel-food cake from my childhood, they use a simple (and completely yummy biscuit), lots of strawberries, way less sugar, and some fat-free sour cream and reduced-fat cream cheese for a delicious bite minus the artery clogging.
Southern Sweet Tea – No meal would be complete without Southern-style sweet tea. I loved watching my grandmother measure out the loose-leaf tea in the palm of her hand and add it to the boiling water on the stove. She would let it brew for a few minutes then strain it into a glass (glass carafes give the tea a clear, clean flavor) pitcher still hot.
She would dissolve an obscene amount of white sugar into it and then fill it the rest of the way with cold water. I couldn’t wait to taste it so I would grab a glass and some ice and pour it in, still very warm. The ice would make loud cracking sounds as the glass filled with the warm liquid. It was a lovely amber color and the smell was comforting and delicious but nothing was as great as that first sip!
I save sweet tea for special occasions now and I don’t use loose leaf tea I use 3 family size tea bags. You can choose whatever brand you would like. I let it brew for about 5 minutes. For a healthier version, I add organic cane sugar, about ¾ of a cup to a gallon of tea. You can also use raw honey, maple syrup, or organic stevia powder to taste.
There you have it, my 5 favorite, decadent summer dishes revamped to help support a healthier lifestyle. They are still full of flavor but with decidedly less sugars and fat. Please let us know what recipes are your favorites and if you have re-worked them to be more healthful. Enjoy!