Don’t you just love summer? I do… especially as I’ve just been enjoying the beautiful sunshine in California on our family vacation.
But, with all the summer barbecue’s, picnics, and parties, it offers multiple opportunities to blow your diet and overindulge a little too often.
If you’re trying to keep your calorie intake down, or lose a few pounds this summer, healthy snacks between meals can really help curb hunger cravings, and therefore keep your weight under control.
Here are some of my favourite healthy summer snacks, which will not only help maintain your energy levels, but also help you stay slim:
1. Fresh fruit
If you have a sweet tooth like me, snacking on fruit can really help satisfy your cravings, while maintaining a lower calorie intake, all at the same time.
Most people get their sweet cravings in the evenings, so it’s a great idea to serve a platter of fruit fruit after your evening meal.
All you need to do is chop up a selection of your favourite summer fruits, and if you want, a drizzle of lemon juice will give a little extra kick.
We like to set it out on the coffee table, and graze on it gradually throughout the evening. Before you know it you’ll have eaten heaps of fruit, and satisfied any sweet cravings.
Another great option for summer is frozen fruit. You could pop some grapes, berries, melon, or whatever fruit you prefer, into your freezer, so that you have them on hand for healthy snacking throughout the day.
2. Ice pops
Rather than purchasing frozen ice pops from your grocery store, try making your own healthier version.
Pour some 100% fruit juice into an ice cub tray, and cover with plastic wrap. Then put a toothpick or popsicle stick into each section, and wait for the ice pops to freeze. When done, remove the plastic wrap and you’ll have a tray of delicious summer snacks ready to go.
You could also add chunks of fruit, or perhaps blend up fresh fruit with the fruit juice instead, before placing in your trays to freeze.
3. Vegetable kebabs
This is a really simple, yet fun and colourful snack.
Just grab a few skewers and put a variety of vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes, green and red bell peppers, mushrooms and cucumbers onto each one.
Then store them in your fridge until needed.
Kids love this one too, as it looks a bit more colourful and interesting.
4. Vegetables with cottage cheese
I’ve recently been taking about cottage cheese, and here’s another idea.
Mix some herbs and cracked black pepper into your cottage cheese, with a tablespoon of reduced fat sour cream. Then serve with a selection of raw vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot sticks.
5. Green smoothie
Smoothies are so easy to make, and a great way to get a chilled beverage, packed with vitamins and minerals, into your whole family on a hot summer day.
Place a cup of frozen berries, a handful of baby spinach leaves, a medium frozen banana, and a cup of calcium fortified soy, almond, or rice milk in a blender and whizz until smooth.
Then pour into tall glasses, and serve.
6. Yoghurt parfait
Layer some natural yoghurt, with fresh raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, and then top with a little granola.
If you can make your own granola that’s a better option, as the store-bought one is usually very high in sugar, and contains added fats also. To make your own, just mix up some rolled oats, bran flakes, dried fruit, and slivered almonds.
Last week, while visiting Santa Barbara, I stumbled upon “Yogurt Land” — I am in LOVE!!! I mean, what more could you possibly ask for… frozen yoghurt, with any combination of fresh fruit, sprinkles, and other delightful toppings… it was delish!
But alas, you can still clock up the calories, despite the “healthy” connotations “yoghurt and fruit” portray.
So, I did a bit of searching, and come up with this recipe for making your own healthier frozen yoghurt… enjoy!
Berry frozen yoghurt
From Eating Well
Servings 6, 1/2 cup each
Prep time 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 35 minutes (including 1 hour chilling time)
3 cups fresh or frozen mixed blackberries, raspberries and blueberries
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup low-fat plain yoghurt
Combine berries, sugar and lemon juice in a food processor; process until smooth. Add yoghurt and pulse until mixed in. If using fresh berries, transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
Transfer the berry mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. (Alternatively, freeze the mixture in a shallow metal pan until solid, about 6 hours. Break into chunks and process in a food processor until smooth and creamy.)
Transfer to a storage container and let harden in the freezer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Per serving: 106 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 2 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 4 g fibre; 22 mg sodium; 192 mg potassium.
Do you tend to snack on healthy or unhealthy foods at this time of year? What are your tips for healthy summer snacks?