Inspiration for healthy summer snacks and meals
As the weather heats up for spring and summer, it brings the opportunity to have some perfect snacks that are low in energy, nutritious and delicious! It is much easier to move away from the cravings for stodgy food that winter encourages and to enjoy lighter foods.
The following list provides some inspiration for excellent snacks that can easily be incorporated in to your diet if weight loss is an aim. They are also healthy options for those desiring weight maintenance and just a nutritious snack or meal.
This is one of my favourites as it is a fantastic substitute for ice blocks or ice cream. It cools you down and it takes slightly longer to eat than ice cream so it is more satisfying. It also works well as an after dinner treat if you get cravings for sweet foods. Some fruits that taste great frozen include mango, grapes and orange.
Keep in mind that it still counts towards your 2 serves of fruit per day.
Homemade frozen yoghurt
Many store bought frozen yoghurts can have a higher than desired sugar content – so why not make your own? This way you can choose what yoghurt you use and what you put in it. Select fat free yoghurt and freeze it by itself or add some chopped up fruit.
Yoghurt dipped frozen fruit
This one combines the first 2 snack options and is a great way to work towards your dairy and fruit intake. Simply dip your fruit of choice in a fat free yoghurt and then freeze.
Alternatively, fruit and fat free yoghurt unfrozen is also a great snack that is low GI, low fat, low energy and a good source of calcium and other nutrients.
This is a popular one. Just add fat reduced milk and yoghurt (optional) and fruits of your choice, then blend them all together! This is a better option than juice because you don’t lose the fibre and nutrients in the skin of the fruit that gets lost to juicing.
Seeing as normally don’t feel as much like heavier, hot foods during summer, it is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of salads! This one may seem obvious as a healthy snack, meal or side dish but it’s important to be conscious of what you put in your salad.
Remember, many salad dressing have very high energy contents as well as fat and sugar. Additionally, overdoing it with meat (especially bacon) and fried croutons can also add up calorie wise.Add as much colour as possible through the vegetables you put in!
- Tips to ensure your salad isn’t hiding extra calories, fat, sodium and sugar:
- Try using natural ingredients as a dressing like lemon or lime juice. Alternatively, choose fat free dressings
- Go light on the olive oil if you use this as a dressing
- Don’t go overboard with cheese and use fat reduced varieties where possible
- Use only a very small amount of spray oil or bottle oil when cooking meats such as chicken
- If adding a protein component; aim for no more than 65g of red meat, 80g of chicken, 100g of fish, 1 cup of cooked legumes, 170g of tofu or 2 large eggs. This is equivalent to 1 serve of protein. Cut any visible fat off meat and choose lean varieties.
A note on fruit salad:
Yes, fruit salad is a perfect summer dish and very nutritious. However, it is very easy to lose track of how much fruit has gone in to that salad! Remember that you want to try and stick to the 2 pieces per day, particularly if you are watching your weight. Whilst it is extremely healthy, it does contain fructose – a natural sugar so you don’t want to exceed the 2 servings by too much.
Fruit spring rolls
This one may sound a little strange but is actually a great idea for those times you are craving something sweet. They are a much better option than turning to the chocolate block or a big bowl of ice cream. Simply buy raw spring roll pastry and add your choice of chopped fruits e.g. berries or mango. If you want to make it a little bit sweeter, mix the fruit with a very small sprinkle of sugar or sweetener or a teaspoon on honey. Then place it in the oven and bake until it looks crisp. Edges can be sealed using a small amount of honey.
Rice paper rolls
These can make a good snack or a light meal that will still fill you up! Plus they will meet you craving for something cool and fresh in the warmer weather. All they involve are rice paper sheets and your choice of vegetables and protein; they therefore end up being a very low energy option. They also help to meet your intake of vegies which most Australian’s don’t meet. If you wish, a small amount of sweet chilli sauce or soy sauce can be used to dip them in.
As a lunch time meal, 2 rice paper rolls are probably adequate to satisfy you. You may feel you need 3 if you opt for the vegetarian option or are more active. It also depends on how much you put in them.
Chicken lettuce cups
All you need for this is some minced chicken breast and flavourings of your choice e.g. shallots, garlic, onion, chilli, lime juice, soy sauce and coriander. Cook and mince the chicken and them mix all the ingredients together. Then throw them in an ice berg lettuce leaf. This is a low energy dish that is also quite refreshing and light! Recipes can be easily found online, just go light on any oil or sauces.
This is also a great way to get your vegetables in and it acts like a pasta dish but is much lighter and fresher for summer. Plus it has a far lower energy content for the equivalent serving size of pasta.
Make ribbons with your zucchinis using a vegetable peeler or mandolin. Then lay them out on a baking tray and very lightly spray with oil and bake until tender. Alternatively, boil the ribbons until tender, sauté them or have them raw. All you need to do next is add your favourite tomato based sauce, vegetables and meat if desired.
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice. This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist.
If you have diet related questions or if you want healthy eating advice, Contact us today!