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Simple Summer Recipes for Weight Loss

Author: Cara Walsh

May 31, 2017

Simple Summer Recipes for Weight Loss

Author: Cara Walsh

May 31, 2017

Most people can agree that cooking during the hot summer months can be not only annoying but also uncomfortable and undesirable. Due to the hot weather, people will often look for ways to nourish themselves without having to do much cooking. For some, this means an endless supply of barbecued foods like cheeseburgers, hotdogs, and ribs. Others will end up eating fast food and other take-out meals on a more regular basis. Too much take-out and barbecue can quickly undo all of the progress that is made during the winter months on achieving that perfect beach body.

It doesn’t have to be that way though! Summertime is a great time of year for healthy eating for several reasons. First, there is an abundance of fresh and delicious produce available. It’s so easy to incorporate extra fruits and vegetables into each and every meal. Throw fresh spinach and tomatoes into scrambled eggs for a tasty omelet, make a gigantic salad for lunch or dinner, or grill some fruit for an easy summer dessert. Check out your local Farmer’s market for some inspiration and the freshest and most delicious local produce available. Here are four other strategies for managing the some of the temptations you may face this summer:

  • Stick with water. Is there anything more refreshing than an ice cold lemonade or sweet tea in the summer? Unfortunately, those two drinks are jam packed with sugar, which can quickly derail a healthy diet. Instead, try ice water with lemon or other fruit (berries and lime are especially delicious), seltzer water or unsweetened iced tea for low to no calorie alternatives.
  • Avoid alcohol. An ice cold beer or cocktail are the perfect accompaniment for summer barbeques, baseball games or days at the pool. Alcohol is pretty high in sugar as well, so those extra beers can add up. Try a spirit on the rocks or with seltzer or club soda to minimize the calories and sugars. A margarita fan? Try tequila with lime instead!
  • Ice cream. Ice cream is a great summer treat. But with high calories and a lot of fat and sugar per serving, it’s not the best option. There are some alternatives though. Try making a healthy smoothie (your favorite recipe will do), add it to a popscicle mold and freeze. Or blend together some low fat milk, frozen bananas, peanut butter and cocoa powder for a fantastic chocolate peanut butter banana ice cream.
  • Barbecues. While hot dogs and hamburgers tend to shine at the summer barbecue, there are plenty of options to make them more weight friendly. Grill some chicken that has been marinated in low fat Italian dressing, or some veggie skewers instead.

To combat the annual “Great Summer Weight Gain“, here are two simple, tasty, healthy, and quick recipes for you to incorporate into your menu during the sweltering summer months. Each recipe ensures that you’ll consume foods that deliver key nutrients that you need for your health and weight loss goals, but also those that help to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Try some of our other healthy lean and green recipes to help keep you on track with your weight loss journey.

Tropical Quinoa Salad

The great thing about Tropical Quinoa Salad is that it can be a cool, refreshing break from traditional meat-based dishes on a hot summer day. This recipe takes only 30 minutes to prep and cook. However, it needs at least 2 hours in a freezer or 4 hours in your fridge before eating in order for it to be cool and refreshing. Many find that preparing it early in the morning before the day gets too hot is the perfect time to assemble this dish. Additionally, at only 240 calories per serving, it is great for your diet and weight loss goals.

Ingredients: (makes 8 servings)

  •  4 cups of chicken stock (or water)
  •  2 cups of quinoa (you can mix white and red quinoa for color)
  •  1 large red onion, chopped
  •  1 red bell pepper, chopped
  •  1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  •  1 tsp of salt
  •  Black pepper to taste
  •  ¼ cup of olive oil
  •  The juice of 2 limes
  •  2 tbsp. of chopped fresh cilantro

Note: if you want to make this recipe extra simple you can purchase a pre-cut bell pepper and onion mix from your local supermarket. You can find them in either the frozen vegetable section or the vegetable section near the salads.

Step 1: Bring chicken stock (or water) to a boil in a pot; add the quinoa. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Set quinoa aside to cool.

Step 2: Combine the red onions, bell peppers (yellow and red), sea salt, and black pepper together in a bowl. Stir in the quinoa.

Step 3: Whisk together olive oil and lime juice in a separate bowl; pour over the quinoa mixture. Sprinkle the cilantro and then stir it all together. Cover the salad and refrigerate for best flavor – at least 4 hours.

Cabo Rojo Chicken

For a companion dish to the quinoa salad or with other side dishes, Cabo Rojo Chicken is a great addition to your meal. Named after the coastal town of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, this chicken dish has just the right spices to give you the tropical flavors that you’ll crave on a hot summer day. Pair this with an ice-cold margarita or lemonade and take your taste buds on a Puerto Rican vacation. At approximately 150 calories per serving, this is one of the healthiest chicken recipes for your diet.

Ingredients: (makes 4 servings)

  •  4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (approximately 4 oz. each)
  •  1 packet of Taco Seasoning Mix
  •  1 to 2 cups of Mango Salsa (or whatever brand you can find, preferably chunky style)
  •  1 packet of Sazon con culantro y achiote

Note: If you want to add flavor you can add shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream to taste before serving.

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Step 2: Place chicken breast halves into a plastic bag or bowl and coat them with taco seasoning and Sazon.

Step 3: Place chicken breast halves in lightly greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Pour salsa over the chicken.

Step 4: Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 to 25 minutes or until chicken is tender and juicy and the juices run clear.

If you’re looking for more ideas, check out these tips for avoiding sugar this summer and some more healthy recipes. To learn more about how Medifast can help you finally lose the weight this summer, give us a call!

About the Author:

Cara Walsh
Counselor at The Carmel Mountain Ranch Medifast Weight Control Center
Cara Walsh is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Weight Control Counselor. Cara received her bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science from San Diego State University and completed her dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian through the Utah State University. Cara is currently completing her Masters in Dietetic Administration through Utah State University. Cara has always had a passion for healthy eating and cooking. She loves to focus on how food can heal and provide nutrition-while tasting delicious. Cara thrives on helping others reach their full potential nutritionally. In her spare time she enjoys reading, going to Pilates and running the boardwalk on the Pacific Ocean with her son and husband.

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