(Family Features) As temperatures climb and summer sets in, a slight change in diet can help maintain energy without overfilling on hot days.
Vegan and vegetarian diets are becoming a popular trend, but many people are also opting to be semi-vegetarians, also known as the flexitarian diet. A flexitarian diet means you don’t have to eliminate meat from your diet but can still reap the health benefits associated with plant-based diets.
Plant-based proteins like beans, peas, nuts, seeds, soy and lentils are chock-full of nutritional benefits from disease-fighting phytonutrients to cholesterol-lowering fiber. They’re also an excellent way to add low-sodium and low-cholesterol protein to your diet that can leave you feeling satisfied but not stuffed.
Light finger foods and dips are ideal summer snacks. Hummus, made from chickpeas and tahini (ground sesame seeds), makes for a quick and easy treat by itself or paired with health-conscious options like air-popped chips, whole-grain crackers or veggie sticks. You can also create simple summer snacks using hummus as an ingredient.
These vegan Cucumber Cups are the perfect refreshing pick-me-up on a hot afternoon, and they’re stylish enough to serve to guests at an upscale cookout. For a cool and creamy summer appetizer, try these vegetarian Southwestern Snack Bites made with hummus, guacamole and Greek yogurt.
Find more healthy ideas to help you snack your way through summer at sabra.com.
Southwestern Hummus Bites
Yield: 30 pieces
- 1 package (7 ounces) whole-grain bagel chips
- 1 container (10 ounces) Sabra Hummus
- 2 cups pico de gallo
- 1 cup guacamole
- 1 cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
- 4 green onions, sliced (optional)
- Top each bagel chip with 1 tablespoon hummus, small spoonful of pico de gallo, guacamole and small dollop of yogurt.
- Garnish with slices of green onion, if desired.
Yield: 16 pieces
- 2 English cucumbers
- 1 container (10 ounces) Sabra Hummus
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
- Peel cucumbers and slice lengthwise into 1 1/4-inch pieces. Using melon baller, carve out seeds to create vessel, making sure to leave bottom intact.
- Using piping bag or small spoon, fill each cucumber with hummus (about 1 teaspoon each). Sprinkle with paprika and finely chopped parsley.
(Family Features) Some of the first foods that come to mind when considering dining outdoors are greasy, messy meals. Instead, opt for a nutritious outdoor experience with a turkey wrap, grain bowl or chicken salad for a backyard bite that doesn’t go overboard.
Find more nutritious recipes for outdoor dining at culinary.net.
Lunch On the Go
A healthy combination of plant-based foods and turkey easily turns into a quick lunch. This wrap brings together a variety of textures with crunchiness from the apples and spinach, substance from the turkey and creamy, simple dressing. Find more quick, healthy recipes at aicr.org.
Turkey, Spinach and Apple Wrap
Recipe reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research
- 1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons honey mustard
- 2 whole-wheat lavash wraps or flour tortillas (8 inches each)
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves, loosely packed, washed and dried
- 4 thin slices turkey breast
- 1/4 Granny Smith apple, sliced paper-thin
- Combine mayonnaise and mustard. Lay out both wraps. Spread edges of each with mayonnaise mixture.
- Leaving space on one side of wraps, arrange layer of greens on top of wraps. Top each layer with two slices of turkey. Evenly divide apple slices and lay lengthwise across turkey. Fold over one end of wrap then both sides. Roll wrap as tightly as possible toward opposite side.
- Cover each wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate seam-side down, up to 4 hours, before serving. To serve, remove plastic wrap and cut each wrap in half at an angle.
Substitution: Two large leaves of soft, leafy green lettuce can be used in place of baby spinach leaves.
Greens and Grains
Dedicating more of your plate to fresh-from-the-garden produce as well as rice and grains can lead to a healthier lifestyle, according to Cheryl Forberg, registered dietitian and award-winning chef and nutritionist for “The Biggest Loser.”
To start living healthier and greener lives, Forberg recommends starting a garden. This hands-on approach is a fun way to learn about nutrition and where food comes from. Following produce from seed to plate can compel you to eat more healthfully.
Forberg furthers her personal dedication to the seed- to-plate journey through her involvement with Seeds of Change, which invests in healthier and greener communities by offering both organic seeds and foods, and delivers an annual grant program that benefits school and community gardening as well as farming programs. This year, the grant program will award $310,000 to participants who plan to help their communities and teach people about sustainability and where fresh food comes from.
Learn more about starting a community garden and living a greener, healthier life at seedsofchangegrant.com.
Warm Grain Bowl with Wild Salmon, Almonds and Salsa Verde
Total time: 20-25 minutes
- 8 wild salmon fillets (3 ounces each)
- sea salt, to taste
- fresh pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup shitake mushroom caps, sliced
- 1 package Seeds of Change Quinoa, Brown & Red Rice with Flaxseeds
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
Salsa Verde (optional):
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup packed mint leaves
- 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- In oven-proof pan, season salmon with salt and pepper, and drizzle each fillet with olive oil. Bake 12-15 minutes, until cooked through.
- In blender or food processor, combine all Salsa Verde ingredients and pulse until fully incorporated but still rustic and chunky. Set aside.
- In medium saute pan over medium-high heat, heat remaining olive oil. Add mushrooms and asparagus and saute vigorously 3-5 minutes. Add grains and slivered almonds, and continue to saute until heated through, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Divide grains among eight plates, place a piece of salmon on each plate then finish with dollop of Salsa Verde, if desired, and serve.
Substitution: Shitake mushroom caps may be substituted with button mushrooms or other wild mushrooms.
Even when you plan to take dining outdoors, a tasty salad still makes for an ideally nutritious meal. This salad brings together an assortment of veggies for a Tomato-Cucumber Salsa to top succulent baked chicken and greens. Find more recipes perfect for dining al fresco at chickenroost.com.
Baked Greek Chicken Salad
Recipe courtesy of the National Chicken Council
- 2 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 green pepper, julienned
- 1/4 purple onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon basil
- 1/8 teaspoon oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon Greek seasoning
- 1/8 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
- 1 package mixed Italian salad greens
- 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- black olives
- pepperoncini peppers
- To make Tomato-Cucumber Salsa: In medium bowl, mix together tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, purple onion, red wine vinegar, olive oil, vegetable oil, pepper, salt, basil, oregano, Greek seasoning, sugar and dry mustard. Chill until ready to serve.
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Place chicken in baking dish. In medium bowl, mix together butter, lemon juice, pepper, garlic powder, oregano and Greek seasoning; pour over chicken. Bake about 50 minutes, uncovered, basting occasionally.
- Place salad greens in large serving bowl. Top with Tomato-Cucumber Salsa. Slice chicken in thin strips and arrange on top of salad. Sprinkle with feta cheese and garnish with olives and pepper.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images
(Family Features) If you’re trying to boost the nutrition of your meals and snacks, look no further than your refrigerator. Dairy products provide a powerful nutrition package that can help you meet your nutrient needs and achieve better health.
The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans affirm dairy’s important place in the diet with a recommendation that people ages 9 and older consume three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods every day. With nine essential nutrients, milk, cheese and yogurt deliver a unique nutrition package superior to milk alternatives, such as almond or rice beverages, which are often fortified or fall short on these important nutrients.
During the hot summer months, when you don’t feel like spending much time in the kitchen, dairy products offer ease and convenience, as many are ready to use in recipes or round out a meal or snack. For a quick, easy and healthy snack this summer, put a fresh take on traditional pizza with this recipe that uses crescent rolls topped with cheeses and fresh seasonal veggies. Or turn up the heat on a classic beef burrito by adding warm pepper jack cheese and black beans.
Visit MidwestDairy.com to pledge Dairy 3 for Me, find additional recipes and learn more about how to unleash the power of dairy nutrition.
Summer Pizza Snack
Recipe courtesy of Cindy Heins, Heins Family Farms
Total time: 22 minutes
- 1 tube (8 ounces) crescent rolls
- 1 tub (8 ounces) low-fat cream cheese
- 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 3/4 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
- Heat oven to 375° F. In 9-by-13-inch baking pan, spread out crescent roll dough. Seal seams together to form one large rectangle across bottom of pan. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on rack.
- In small bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise and garlic powder. Spread evenly over entire cooled crust. Top with mozzarella, tomatoes, olives, broccoli and cucumber. Cut into 12 squares and serve.
Beef Burrito with Pepper Jack Cheese and Black Beans
Total time: 9 minutes
- 1/2 pound ground beef sirloin
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 cup chunky salsa, divided
- 2 cups cooked brown or white rice
- 6 whole-wheat tortillas (9 inches each)
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can (11 ounces) corn kernels, drained
- 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
- sliced green onion, including green tops
- In medium, nonstick skillet, brown ground beef and garlic over medium heat (break beef mixture up into smaller chunks with spatula). Drain fat and stir in 1/2 cup salsa; set aside.
- Spread 1/3 cup rice on center of tortilla, leaving 1/2-inch border. Scatter about 2 tablespoons beans and 1 1/2 tablespoons corn over rice. Spread 1/3 cup beef mixture and 1/4 cup cheese over corn. Top with 2 teaspoons salsa and a few slices green onion. Fold in two opposite edges of tortilla 1 inch each and roll up. Place seam-side down on microwave-safe dish.
- Repeat with remaining tortillas. Place burritos in microwave oven and heat 1 minute, or until heated through. Serve with remaining salsa.
Source: Midwest Dairy Association
(Family Features) More than nine in 10 millennial moms think it's important for their kids to learn about where their food comes from, and more than three-quarters of those moms actively do things with their kids to help learn just that, according to recent findings.
Building healthy habits is the top reason moms cite for encouraging more learning when it comes to food, according to research conducted by IPSOS on behalf of Cuties – the sweet little clementines. Even when the weather is colder outside, these tips make it fun for families to learn about where their food comes from and help encourage kids to eat healthy for a lifetime.
- Grocery shop together or go to a farmers market. Many cities now have year-round indoor markets, where together you can select fruits and veggies to try. Often the farmers are there, so you can learn about produce and get ideas for how to prepare unfamiliar items at home.
- Cook with your kids. Find fun recipes that let them explore fresh foods where they can be creative. Find age-appropriate ways to involve them, like stirring or measuring, and encourage them to get hands-on with recipes, such as this fun Flower Salad recipe from registered dietitian Ellie Krieger.
- Explore the story of where some of their favorite foods come from. Kids learn and remember information when it comes in the form of a story. Cuties is giving families the chance to uncover those stories by encouraging them to submit questions using #AskAGrower on Facebook. Actual growers will answer with stories about how this sweet, seedless and easy-to-peel fruit is grown with care by their family of growers. A video series at cutiescitrus.com/our-story also helps bring the stories to life.
“Making learning about food fun is good for the whole family,” Krieger said. “It encourages kids – and parents – to explore new foods and be more connected to where their food comes from. It’s truly a ‘healthy’ conversation to have together.”
Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger
- 1 Cuties clementine
- 9-10 thinly sliced strips red bell pepper, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 grape tomato
- 1 celery stick, cut to 3 inches
- 2 small leaves romaine lettuce
- 1 piece English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and cut to 1 1/2 inches then thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Peel clementine and separate sections almost all the way, leaving attached at the base. Place on plate with base down. Place piece of red bell pepper between each citrus section, and half tomato in center to form flower.
- Place celery and lettuce leaves underneath as stem and leaves. Arrange cucumber slices below to represent grass.
- In small bowl, stir together yogurt, honey and lemon juice.
- Serve dip in dish alongside flower, or in a mound underneath cucumber slices.
Nutritional information per serving: 76 calories; 0.5 g total fat; (0.3 g saturated fat, 0.2 g poly fat); 4 g protein; 15 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 2 mg cholesterol; 21 mg sodium.
(Family Features) - There's nothing better than a sizzling steak hot off the grill. If you're the grill master, you may be looking to brush up on the right techniques to make sure you have a great beef meal every time.
The Featured Cut
"Boneless top sirloin steak is perfect for the grill. It's versatile, tender and flavorful," says Chef Dave Zino, executive director of the Culinary Center for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. "Top sirloin partners well with rubs, marinades and sauces that add complimentary accents - and it's perfect for cutting into pieces for kabobs, a great way to stretch your grilling budget. Although it seems so decadently delicious, top sirloin is one of the 29 cuts of beef that meet the government guidelines for lean, providing 156 calories and 4.6 grams of fat - as well as 10 essential nutrients - per 3-ounce cooked serving."
Three Easy Steps
Prepare gas or charcoal grill according to manufacturer's directions for medium heat.
Remove beef from refrigerator and season with a spice blend or marinade as desired. Place on preheated cooking grid.
Cook boneless top sirloin steak (1 inch thick) 17 to 21 minutes uncovered (charcoal grill) or 13 to 16 minutes covered (gas grill), turning occasionally. To determine doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally from the side, penetrating the thickest part or center of the steak. Allow 10 to 15 seconds for the thermometer to register the internal temperature. Steaks should be cooked to 145°F (medium rare) or 160°F (medium). After cooking, season with salt, as desired.
BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com is the one-stop resource for tips and recipes that will help you make the most of your time at the grill.
Hoisin Beef Kabobs with Pineapple Salsa
- 1-1/4 pounds boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1 inch thick
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup diced fresh pineapple
- 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup diced cucumber
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- Combine Pineapple Salsa ingredients in small bowl; set aside. Combine ketchup and hoisin sauce in another small bowl; set aside.
- Cut beef steak into 1 inch pieces. Thread beef pieces evenly onto four 10 to 12 inch metal skewers. Season kabobs evenly with pepper.
- Place kabobs on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Brush beef generously with some of reserved sauce mixture. Grill kabobs, covered, 6 to 8 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, 7 to 9 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally and brushing with remaining sauce mixture. Season beef with salt, as desired. Serve kabobs topped with Pineapple Salsa.
25 to 30 minutes
SOURCE: The Beef Checkoff
Sun-Dried Tomato Salad Dressing
- 3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained or rehydrate if dry
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons Kikkoman Rice Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Kikkoman Thai Style Chili Sauce
- 4 cups rotini pasta, cooked
- 1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and seeded
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup green bell pepper strips
- 1 4-ounce package feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 3.8-ounce can black olives, sliced and drained
- 3/4 cup chopped green onions
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped dill weed
- For dressing, whisk together sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, basil, capers, garlic and rice vinegar. Set aside.
- For salad, whisk together 1 cup salad dressing and chili sauce, set aside. In large bowl, combine pasta and remaining ingredients, tossing to combine. Serve with salad dressing.