Despite my best efforts to eat healthier this summer, I’ve noticed that most of my three square meals involve ice cream. I asked nutrition expert and Bread is the Devil author Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, for some tips on eating lighter and she shared some great advice—as well as a few delicious recipes, below.
How can you ease into better eating habits during hot summer months? It’s so easy and tempting just to grab something crunchy or gooey.
It’s important to remember that eating healthier doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. With just a few tips to keep in mind, you begin taking your first steps towards a better diet. For my clients, I usually recommend the following:
- Choose organic: Shopping organic is a great step toward ensuring that you and your family eat the healthiest foods possible. Look for snacks with the USDA organic seal to ensure your family is getting the safest foods possible throughout the day.
- Look for clean labels: Beyond checking the fat and calories on a snack label, look at the ingredients. The fewer ingredients used in a product, the lower the chance you’re eating artificial additives. Aim to find packaged snacks with 10 ingredients or less. Plain Stonyfield Greek Yogurt has only one ingredient—organic milk!
- Snack regularly: Contrary to popular belief, regular snacking can actually help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight by controlling your cravings throughout the day. Choose snacks low in calories but full of protein to feel your best.
- Plan ahead: We all get snack cravings at different times of day depending on everything from stress to the size of our meals. Keep healthy snacks readily available at home or in the office for a nutritious bite at any time. Stock your fridge with a few of your favorite Stonyfield Greek flavors along with fresh fruit and almonds to fight cravings.
It usually takes longer to prepare healthier food. Any ideas for easier food prep?
This is where the “plan ahead” step really comes into play. Stocking your fridge with easy and quick meals is best so once hunger strikes, you’re not tempted to go for fast food options. Prepare a batch of smoothies—like a Blood Orange “Creamsicle” [see recipe below]—one day and pre-portion into containers for an easy breakfast option.
What about during times of great stress? How can we remind ourselves not to reach for the chips?
Most of us crave snacks when stressed. Instead of telling yourself “no,” find a healthy option. It’s important to eat “finite foods” so you’re not tempted to polish off an entire bag of chips. Opt for a single serving bag of roasted almonds with 100 calories and an organic string cheese or any hand fruit (a fruit that fits in your hand), like an orange, which you have to take the time to peel. If you’re looking for something sweeter, try freezing a cup of yogurt. It will taste like a delicious frozen dessert and keep you satisfied longer.
Greek Yogurt Blood Orange “Creamsicle” Smoothie
1 cup of Stonyfield Organic Nonfat Greek Yogurt
2 whole, peeled blood oranges
Zest of 1 blood orange (optional)
1 Tbsp organic raw honey
½ cup frozen mango chunks
4 ice cubes
Directions: Combine all ingredients and blend on high.
Double Duty Greek Yogurt Mariziki/Tzatzikinade (combo of Marinade and Tzatziki!)
1 large seedless cucumber washed and finely grated on a box grater
pinch of salt
2 cups Stonyfield Organic Greek Yogurt
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, grated on microplane or smashed into a fine paste
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lemon cut into wedges for serving
Directions: Sprinkle the grated cucumber with a pinch of salt, toss with your fingers and place on a clean kitchen towel. Gather the corners of the towel and wring out as much water as possible. You’ll be shocked at how much water will come out of a cucumber! Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice and zest, garlic, dill, mint, salt, pepper and olive oil and stir until well incorporated. Divide the mixture in half and place half in a zip-top resealable bag with the chicken breasts. To the remaining mixture, add the well-strained cucumber and stir to combine. Cover and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Allow the chicken breasts to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and wipe off any excess that is clinging to the chicken breasts. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat and rub with a little bit of oil. Reduce heat to medium. Grill each chicken breast for 4 minutes per side, until the chicken is cooked through. Tent with foil and allow the cooked chicken breasts to rest for 3 minutes before serving with the reserved Tzaztiki and lemon wedges.
Buckwheat Blintzes with Greek Yogurt Ricotta Filling and Mixed Berries
Yields 6 blintzes, 2 servings with 26.2 grams of protein per serving
Buckwheat Yogurt Crepes:
½ cup Plain Stonyfield Greek Yogurt
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp honey
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
2 Tbsp gluten-free oat flour
Yogurt & Cheese filling:
½ cup Plain Stonyfield Greek Yogurt
½ cup fat-free ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
For frying and serving the crepes:
Nonfat cooking spray
1 cup of mixed blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries
Maple syrup (optional)
Directions: In a medium bowl, stir together the filling ingredients: yogurt, cheese, sugar, and salt. Set aside. To make the batter, in a blender, combine the yogurt, eggs, honey, salt and flours, and mix on low. Scrape down the sides of the blender if flour sticks to them.
Heat an 8-inch pan over a medium flame, and spray with a mist of the cooking spray. Pour ¼ cup of the batter into the pan, tilting and swirling the pan to coat it evenly with a thin layer of batter. Cook the crepe for about 30-45 seconds, until the middle of the crepe appears to be set. Use a thin spatula or butter knife to ease the edges of the crepe up off the pan, and then slide the crepe onto a plate, cooked side down. Repeat with remaining batter.
Place 2-3 Tbsp of filling on the lower third of each crepe. Fold the bottom up over the cheese and then fold the sides in so that they just touch, then roll from the filled end upwards, like a burrito. When the blintzes have all been filled, spray the pan again with cooking spray. Fry the blintzes seam side down over medium-low heat until they are golden on the bottom, about 1 minute, and then flip and brown on the second side, another minute. Serve the warm blintzes with fresh berries and maple syrup on the side.
Rachel Weingarten is a noted and quoted style expert, personal brand consultant and former celebrity makeup artist. She’s a co-founder of becausestyle.com and the author of three non-fiction books including Ancient Prayer, out 9/14. Tweet with her @rachelcw or like her new page on Facebook. Need help style-stalking your favorite celebrity look? Write to Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org.