If you're watching your weight, or even hoping to drop a few pounds, there's no better time than summer.
Warm weather inspires us to come out of hibernation, get outside and enjoy lighter meals.
Hartford Hospital. Noon offers these tips on how to prepare healthy meals, side dishes and snacks without sacrificing any flavor:
Barbecuing: "Refocus on the leaner proteins," Noon says, citing chicken, seafood and turkey as lower-fat meats. She suggests seasonings and marinades such as fresh chopped herbs and garlic, citrus juices, wine, V8, flavored vinegars or light vinaigrette.
Her favorite? Greek yogurt. "Let the meat sit for a while and [the yogurt] tenderizes it. ... It's so good," she says.
Fresh fish can be cooked in tinfoil packets with a spritz of olive oil, fresh herbs and thinly-cut vegetables, "to keep the juices in," Noon says. Vegetables like eggplant and zucchini can be roasted on skewers.
Can't live without red meat? Try pork tenderloin on the grill. Or have the burger, Noon says, but look for lean beef (85 percent and higher) and top it with vegetables.
On the side: Salads don't have to be drenched in oil and mayonnaise. For macaroni-based dishes, Noon proposes using smaller amounts of pasta and more vegetables, or skipping it in favor of brown rice, quinoa or tabbouleh. "Fresh fruit or vegetable salsa is also great as a condiment," she says.
For dessert: Fruit can hit the flames, too. Noon suggests grilling fruits like papaya, nectarine, mango, pear and pineapple and dusting them with nutmeg, cinnamon or fresh ginger, for antioxidant-laden flavor.
Need an ice cream fix? "Have a scoop, but add fruit and nuts and other healthy toppings," Noon says. Frozen yogurt can be a healthy choice, she says, but warns that some ingredients like sugar alcohol can cause upset stomachs.
Thirst-quenchers: Jazz up plain water or seltzer with a touch of fresh fruit juice, Noon recommends, or brew unsweetened iced tea. For the 21-plus crowd, Noon advises drinkers to stay away from margaritas or punches ("lots of high-fructose corn syrup") and suggests wine or spritzers.
The best way to stay healthy?
"Plan ahead," Noon says. "You need to take time to grocery shop and put your menus together."
Healthy Summer Eating
Ways you can cut down on fat without sacrificing flavor this summer.
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