When temperatures soar, you can lay off the cooking but still have a satisfying meal (without settling for a big salad night after night). These five low-calorie menu suggestions help you stay cool and satisfied.
1. CHILLED SOUP
Any fruit or vegetable will do, but we love this creamy peach soup. Blend 2 cups fruit chunks, 1 cup orange juice, and 1 cup lowfat plain yogurt. (This serves two.) Drizzle on a little honey and serve with crusty bread.
Prefer savory? Try gazpacho. For a filling, low-calorie twist, thicken it with vegetables, not bread (as many traditional recipes do).
2. DRESSED-UP PASTA
When you want a meal on the table in five minutes, buy a small portion of pasta salad from a deli, then add sliced fresh summer vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, chives, red onion, and radishes. Then flake in some water-packed canned salmon.
3. STUFFED FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Pack in the nutrition by filling fruits and vegetables with protein-rich ingredients. Try loading half a cantaloupe with your favorite yogurt and topping it with slivered almonds and raisins. Or blend lowfat cottage cheese or part-skim ricotta with minced scallions and other vegetables and spoon into a hollowed out bell pepper or tomato.
Try wrapping your ingredients in lettuce: Top round lettuce leaves (like butter lettuce) with a crunchy mix of diced celery, water chestnuts, scallions, baked savory tofu, peas (fresh or frozen), cilantro, and chopped peanuts. Roll up and add a little zing with a splash of rice vinegar.
4. VEGETABLE ANTIPASTO
It's easy to get your five a day with this dish: Layer thin slices of avocado, cooked beets, and ripe summer fruit (try honeydew and/or strawberries) on a bed of arugula. Drizzle with roasted walnut oil and garnish with a light sprinkling of toasted walnuts and minced fresh mint.
5. GRILLED VEGETABLES
Head outside and grill a big batch of vegetables, then store them in the refrigerator (covered) to eat all week long (they taste good cold too!). Zucchini, onions, red peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, and tomatoes all taste great grilled. Serve them as part of an antipasto plate with a good roast turkey from the deli, hummus, and a few slices of fresh mozzarella, or try them on a baguette with a drizzle of olive oil.
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