10 Summer Favorites Made Lighter


We all have favorite dishes that we associate with summer. Yours might be strawberry shortcake (when the berry season is in full swing), or maybe it’s peach pie a la mode (toward the end of summer).

There are regional favorites too. On my end of the country, deep-fried artichoke hearts symbolize summer fun at the carnival or beach boardwalk. In the New England area, I’m betting anything with blueberries is big in summer. Peach pie, fried green tomatoes, and fried okra are seasonal treats in the Southern states. I’m guessing barbecued hot dogs, ribs, and chicken are big just about everywhere.

The people I surveyed mentioned these 10 foods as their summer favorites:

  • macaroni salad
  • pasta salad
  • barbecued ribs
  • breasts and thighs. And I’ve found if you marinate or sauce your skinless chicken, it tends to do well on the grill. It will stay moist on the inside.

    It doesn’t make sense to me to take such care to flavor the chocolate spread + 1 portion fresh fruit
    OR 1 portion medium dessert

    You’ve basically got two ingredients to work with here: and strawberries. The only way to lighten this is to use a little less chocolate per strawberry, and use a little canola oil (higher in preferable monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids) instead of shortening. I like to use semisweet chocolate because its strong flavor means you can get by with less chocolate.

    About 40 fresh strawberries with leaves (dry, not wet), about 2 pounds
    1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (about 9 ounces)
    2 teaspoons canola oil

    • Add chocolate chips and canola oil to a 4-cup glass measure and heat on HIGH in microwave for about 1 minute. Stir, and microwave another 30 seconds or so, if needed, until mixture is smooth.
    • Holding strawberries by the green tops, dip them halfway into the chocolate mixture. Place them on a plate or pan lined with wax or parchment paper. Put in the refrigerator or a cool part of your kitchen to help chocolate cool. Serve.

Yield: 10 servings (about 4 strawberries each)

Per serving (about 4 strawberries): 164 calories, 2 g protein, 24 g carbohydrate, 8.5 g fat, 4.5 g , 3 g monounsaturated fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3.2 g fiber, 4 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 44%.

Belgian Waffles with Fruit and Whipped Cream

Journal as: 2 pieces of “waffle/pancake/French toast”

To lighten waffles, use less fat in the batter, and turn to a flavorful substitute (like low-fat buttermilk). Use a nonstick waffle iron, so you can get away with just a little canola cooking spray. You can make these with reduced-fat Bisquick and substitute low-fat buttermilk for the milk called for in the package directions (you may have to add a bit more because buttermilk is thicker than regular milk). Or make your batter from scratch, as here.

I like to serve waffles with fruit (fresh, or unsweetened frozen), a quick dusting of powdered sugar, and a small dollop of Lite Cool Whip or light whipping cream. The Lite Cool Whip will only cost you about 40 calories and 2 grams of fat, and it adds a fun touch.

2 large egg whites
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons egg substitute
5 tablespoons granulated sugar (or use 3 tablespoons sugar plus 2 tablespoons Splenda)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream (or use light sour cream)
1 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cup self-rising flour (or 2 2/3 cup regular flour plus 4 teaspoons baking powder)
2 1/8 cups low-fat buttermilk

  • In mixing bowl, beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. Spoon into a small bowl and set aside.
  • In same mixing bowl, beat together egg yolk, egg substitute, and sugar. Then beat in the vanilla extract, canola oil, sour cream, and salt until smooth. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk, in small batches, until both are incorporated into the batter.
  • Fold the egg whites into the batter in mixing bowl. Let the batter stand for about 40 minutes or cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Coat preheated nonstick waffle iron with canola cooking spray. Pour batter onto the waffle iron in amounts suggested by the waffle iron manufacturer (around 1/3 to 1/2 cup, depending on your waffle iron). Cook until waffles are golden brown on the outside.

Yield: 6 servings (about 2 square Belgian Waffles each)

Per serving: 350 calories, 12 g protein, 58 g carbohydrate, 7.8 g fat, 1.3 g saturated fat, 4 g monounsaturated fat, 2.2 g polyunsaturated fat, 38 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 810 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 20%. (NOTE: You can use 1 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour + 1 1/3 cup white flour to give each serving 4 grams of fiber.)