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summer recipes

How to Pack a Low-Calorie Picnic: 4 Healthy Recipes

Written on August 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm , by

Did you know that August is National Picnic Month? As if we needed an excuse to eat al fresco in this gorgeous weather…

Too bad so many picnic favorites pack way more calories than we’d like to eat–especially considering this holiday falls right in the middle of bikini season! Luckily, some simple swaps can slim down your spread and FITNESS has plenty of recipes with all the flavors you love (but a fraction of the fat and calories).

Four we can’t wait to try this weekend:

  • Cool Skewers (150 calories): This no-cook app couldn’t be easier. Just slice, stack and serve!
  • Healthy Potato Salad (131 calories, 2 g fat): Low-fat mayo lightens up this cookout classic, plus, diced veggies amp up the nutrition.
  • Greek Salad Pita Pocket (286 calories, 6 g fat): Think of this as a portable version of your favorite Mediterranean salad! Everything’s betta with feta, right?
  • Double-Chocolate Brownies (111 calories, 4 g fat): Surprise! Cocoa powder can be a diet do when you opt for the unsweetened version. Try using white whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat pastry flour for even more fiber.

More from FITNESS:

Low-Calorie Cocktails to Make Summer Last

Written on August 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm , by

We’re still in denial that summer is almost at an end. To make the most of the last few weeks of warm weather, beach trips and barbecues, we’re sipping on these fruity cocktails made with Voli Light Mango Coconut vodka–each with under 100 calories. Cheers!

Miami Mojito (Photo courtesy of Voli Light Vodka)

Miami Mojito


  • 1 1/2 oz Voli Mango Coconut vodka
  • 3 lime wedges
  • Mango chunks
  • 1 pack Stevia sweetener
  • 6 mint leaves
  • Soda water

Pour ingredients into a highball glass over ice and garnish with mint leaves and mango chunks.

Approximately 85 calories.


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Cool Off With 4 DIY Desserts For Hot Summer Days

Written on June 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm , by

What a fun way to get your antioxidants! (Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market)

When the weather warms up, our tastes naturally veer toward lighter, oven-free fare. Whole Foods Market’s Health Starts Here program has dozens of low-calorie, refreshing ideas to help you fit in your fruit and vegetable servings all summer long. Here are four of our favorites, all of which will please a crowd!

Double Grape Slushies

Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup concord grape juice
  • 1 cup seedless red or green grapes
  • 1 cup honeydew melon chunks
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  1. Pour juice into a blender. Drop in fruit and ice.
  2. Put the lid on and blend until smooth.

Nutrition information per serving: 60 calories, 0 g fat

It takes just minutes to whip up healthy, protein-packed ice cream. (Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market)

Banana Nice Cream

  • 2 bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 1 cup unsweetened soymilk
  • 2 tablespoons smooth almond butter or peanut butter
  1. Put bananas, soymilk and nut butter into a blender.
  2. Puree, turning off the motor and stirring the mixture two or three times, until smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour into two bowls and serve.

Nutrition information per serving: 280 calories, 13 g fat

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Build a Bistro-Worthy Burger At Home

Written on July 26, 2011 at 2:15 pm , by

The East Village Turkey Burger would pair wonderfully with a seasonal salad. (Photo courtesy of Jennie-O Turkey Store)

Written by Lauren Cardarelli, editorial intern

New York City’s “streetside mobile restaurant,” The Bistro Truck, has teamed up with Jennie-O Turkey to deliver (literally!) this week’s Turkey Burger Takeover. Today through Saturday, The Bistro Truck’s Yassir Z. Raouli will be demonstrating how lean can be delicious by distributing complimentary turkey burgers at five different locations.

With signature recipes inspired by Manhattan neighborhoods, the partnership aims to prove to tasters that turkey patties are a nutritious and tasty alternative to beef.

Yesterday, we got a sneak preview of the week’s “Make the Switch” initiative. But since the Bistro Truck can only travel so far, we snagged our favorite recipe so you can try it at home! The East Village Turkey Burger puts a fresh, new spin on a barbecue favorite, with crunchy veggies alongside the well-seasoned burger and melted Brie.

East Village Turkey Burger

Makes 4 servings
Prep time: About 15 minutes
Total time: Less than 30 minutes


  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 package Jennie-O Lean Turkey Burger Patties
  • Vegetable oil or non-stick spray for cooking
  • 4 burger buns, split and toasted
  • 8 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 8 slices
  • ½ cucumber, thinly sliced
  • Bean sprouts for serving


  1. Combine breadcrumbs and parsley in a shallow dish. Gently press patties into crumb mixture until coated all over.
  2. Coat a large frying pan with non-stick spray or a thin layer of vegetable oil, and place on medium heat. Cook patties until golden brown and as specified on the package. (Always cook to well-done, 165 degrees, as measured by a meat thermometer.)
  3. Top bottom half of buns with patties, Brie, cucumber, bean sprouts and top half of buns.

For more turkey recipes, check out Jennie-O’s website. If you’re in the NYC area, be sure to follow The Bistro Truck on Twitter (@bistrotruck) to track their whereabouts this week!

More from FITNESS: What’s the deal with dark meat turkey?

5 (Almost) No-Cook Summer Recipes

Written on July 25, 2011 at 11:37 am , by

Photo Courtesy of SparkPeople

Photo courtesy of SparkPeople

Too hot out to cook? We’re with you! That’s why we got the scoop on five of SparkPeople’s favorite summertime recipes. Just click on the name of each to get the full recipe. Enjoy!


Mango-Avocado Salad with Lime-Cilantro Dressing

(PICTURED) This salad combines many favorite foods: avocado, almonds, beets, mango, onions, and carrots. Topped with a lime-cilantro dressing, it’s irresistible! This is great for company. Serve it alongside grilled fish or chicken, omitting the tofu.

  • Calories: 383.8
  • Total Fat: 23.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 112.3 mg
  • Total Carbs: 43.6 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 11.7 g
  • Protein: 20.7 g

Crunchy, Creamy Broccoli-Raisin Salad

Broccoli salad is a summertime party staple. This version is healthier–no bacon, no mayo but plenty of flavor from almonds and raisins!

  • Calories: 363.9
  • Total Fat: 9.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 281.2 mg
  • Total Carbs: 58.9 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 16.3 g
  • Protein: 18.7 g

Lemon-Tahini Slaw with Dill

This slaw has all the creaminess you crave, with a boost of protein and a tangy flavor from the tahini, which pairs well with the fresh herbs.

  • Calories: 136.4
  • Total Fat: 8.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 189.9 mg
  • Total Carbs: 13.8 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 5.1 g
  • Protein: 4.8 g

Zucchini “Pasta” with Tomatoes and Basil “Cream”

This “pasta” dish is so light and yet rich–you’ll never guess the “cream” is made from sunflower seeds. The white beans add buttery flavor and protein. Make this when the garden overflows with tomatoes, basil and zucchini.

  • Calories: 211.4
  • Total Fat: 5.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 56.0 mg
  • Total Carbs: 34.6 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 13.3 g
  • Protein: 12.5 g

Cauliflower Sushi “Rice” Salad

Cauliflower “rice” is light yet filling–perfect for summer. Think of it as deconstructed sushi and consider topping it with kimchi and pickled ginger and garlic.

  • Calories: 412.3
  • Total Fat: 22.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 261.1 mg
  • Total Carbs: 46.3 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 15.4 g
  • Protein: 13.4 g

Continued: (Almost) No-Cook Summer Recipes

More from SparkPeople:

Bread Salad: A No-Cook, 10-Minute Meal

12 Refreshing Popsicle Recipes

The Proven Weight-Loss Program That Isn’t a Diet

What is your favorite no-cook summer meal? Will you try any of these?