In addition to lightening up the way you look, it’s a great time of year to to lighten up the way that you eat.
1. If you’re an ice cream addict, you may be consuming your entire day’s calorie or fat intake in a single scoop! Though it might seem complicated, making ice cream at home is pretty easy. The key is using as few ingredients as possible. And another secret with the T-Fal 1-quart ice cream maker is to freeze the bowl between uses. In that way, you’re shortening the process. I made incredible chocolate chip mint ice cream using four basic ingredients. ($25.99, Amazon.com)
2. Instead of heavy sauces or mayo, consider joining the sriracha generation. This spicy condiment is usually made with chiles, but Jojo’s Sriracha created a limited edition Zinfandel variation made in partnership with Ravenswood wineries, who provided old-vine grapes. ($14, Ravenswoodwinery.com)
3. Remember those 100-calorie packs of cookies and snacks that were available everywhere? With all your summer adventures, consider creating your own trail mix and snack bars and sealing them up before your next road trip. The FoodSaver V4865 vacuum sealing kits allow you to store fresh prepared food so that you can freeze or pack before hitting the road. A great option because you don’t have to slave over a hot stove and can simply heat up and serve your pre-cooked food. ($199, FoodSaver.com)
4. If you’ve always been intrigued by the Mediterranean diet but didn’t know where to begin, Denise Hazime has written the definitive Idiot’s Guide: The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook. There’s a breakdown not only of the Mediterranean diet food pyramid, but also suggestions about which foods to use for which meal and mouthwatering recipes including Sweet and Savory Couscous. ($12.63, Amazon.com)
5. I know that everyone raves about their favorite pots or pans, but if I had to choose one kitchen gadget, it would have to be the T-Fal Actifry which allows you to cook using the most minimal amount of oil. Cut your farmer’s market haul into cubes. Add a tiny drop of oil and some spices (I love the way that blackened seasoning works with the Actifry) and set the timer. That’s it. The kitchen won’t get heated up, your stove won’t be messy and you will have incredible low-fat delicious side dishes (or mains) in about a half hour. (About $199, check tfalactifry.com for availability near you)
6. I’m not much of a carnivore at the best of times, but come summer it’s all veggies all the time (with some ice cream thrown in for good measure). Luckily for me, in the past few years there’s been a veritable boom in plant protein foods that taste delicious and are easy to prepare. Beyond Meat is available nationwide and comes in yummy variations including grilled strips (think grilled chicken breast without the chicken) or Feisty Crumbles which are a great replacement for ground beef in all your recipes. And in case you’re looking for recipe inspiration, here is what is quite possibly the most delicious chickenless chicken salad recipe I’ve ever tasted, courtesy of Chef David Silver and Beyond Meat: