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July 20, 2015
How to Eat Healthier At Summer Parties

How to Eat Healthier At Summer Parties

The Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

People say that it’s hard to eat healthy during the holidays, but I think summertime can be even worse for controlling calories and including the nutritious foods you and your kids need. Summer lasts longer than the holiday season, and warmer weather makes it easier to ditch your healthy routine.

Get-togethers with family and friends can be particularly hazardous to your resolve to eat well. In spite of summer’s abundance of fresh produce, party food is usually loaded with fat, salt, and sugar, and lacking in fruits and vegetables. 

Whether you’re the host or a guest at a potluck event, focus on appetizers, side dishes, and desserts that help you to fill up, and not out.  Here are some of my favorite recipes for summer living. 

Start Smart

Fiesta Dip - Lower the calories with Hood Light Sour Cream and serve raw veggies, such as zucchini, celery, and carrot sticks, as dippers instead of fatty chips. 

Cucumber Bites - This finger food is easy to make, pretty to look at, and fun to eat, too.   

Roasted Tomato Crostini - Summer is tomato time! Roast tomatoes to intensify their flavor. This simple yet elegant appetizer is sure to wow the crowd. 

3 Super Delicious Summer Salads

Watermelon Salad - Watermelon packs fluid to keep you hydrated and full.  Protein-rich Hood Cottage Cheese takes the edge off your hunger, too. 

Broccoli Salad - A great way to work in the vegetables everyone needs. The broccoli is cooked, but retains its crunch!

Greek Pasta Salad - This is my go-to party dish. It feeds a crowd, and guests love it because it’s a tasty twist on the traditional version.  

Sweet Endings

Grilled Pineapple - Trim leaves and bud end from a pineapple. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut pineapple into ½-inch slices. Use an apple corer to carve out the center core of each ring.  When the grill's coals have died down and the heat is low, place fruit on the rack that’s been cleaned and coated with cooking spray. Grill each slice for about 2 to 3 minutes on a clean grill. To serve, fill the center of each piece of pineapple with a scoop of Hood Vanilla Fat Free Frozen Yogurt, if desired.  

Berry Bowl - Toss together equal amounts of blueberries, raspberries, and sliced strawberries in a bowl.  Top each serving with a dollop of Hood Instant Whipped Light Cream for a satisfying dessert. 

Fruit Kebabs with Dipping Sauce - Mix 1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt with 1½ tablespoons of honey. Refrigerate until ready to use. Thread a mixture of 4 cups of fresh fruit, such as grapes, pineapple cubes, melon balls, and whole strawberries, alternating fruits, on 12 6-inch wooden skewers. Serve kebabs with sauce in a bowl. 

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is a writer, nutrition consultant, and mother of three. She is the author of several books, including MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy . Ward is also a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers and Men's Fitness magazines.

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