Wondering what to bring to a summer potluck or BBQ? Enjoy these three healthy fast ideas!

Yes, you can keep your healthy eating on track while enjoying the summer season of BBQ's, picnics, family reunions, and pool parties. Since summer is a time when produce abounds and prices are cheaper, take advantage of this opportunity to increase your fruits and vegetables which are low in calories and high in fiber - two important aspects of preventing weight gain and promoting weight loss.

Thus, rather than bringing the traditional pasta, potato or cool whip salad to your next neighborhood potluck, create one these healthy alternatives, either a Fiesta Bean Salad side dish, a Red, White and Blue Meringue Layered Fruit dessert or a Summer Spritzer beverage.

Fiesta Bean Salad

In less than 15 minutes, mix up this delicious salad that is full of antioxidants, fiber and flavor!

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz. can of corn, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz. can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped fine
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved or 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced and added just before serving
  • 1 large lime, squeeze the juice
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. each of garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin

Mix dressing of lime, olive oil, and spices in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Serve or refrigerate.

Nutrition Bonus

Black beans and chickpeas are excellent sources of protein and soluble fiber. Diets rich in soluble fiber are associated with improved blood glucose control and blood cholesterol levels.

Corn is an excellent source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which can help lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration which is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 60.

Tomatoes contain lycopene which is the carotenoid that makes tomatoes red and may help protect your skin from sunburn.

Red, White, and Blue Meringue Fruit Dessert

I learned this recipe from a friend in Germany who bought her egg white meringues at a village grocery store for $1.00 per bag. When I returned to the States and saw them for $5.00 per bag, I decided to make my own. Meringues are easy to make and take only 3 ingredients: egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar.

Step 1: Make Miriam's Meringues

I often make the meringues the day before serving. This recipe yields 24-32 small meringues.

Ingredients:

  • 6 egg whites (no speck of yolk)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 cups sugar
  1. In a mixmaster bowl, using the egg beating hook, beat egg whites until foamy.
  2. Add cream of tartar and mix.
  3. Slowly add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time until very stiff and glossy.
  4. Drop onto aluminum foil on a baking sheet.
  5. If you want individual meringues (like little bird nests to fill), then drop onto baking sheet by individual tablespoons and hollow out each one into a circle keeping a bottom. Can also make larger meringues and then crumble after baking.
  6. Bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-60 minutes. Check after 45 minutes. If hard, turn oven off and you can leave meringues in the oven until they have cooled or remove immediately from the oven and foil.
Nutrition Bonus & Caution

Egg white which in German is Eiweiss (the word for protein) is the part of the egg which is an excellent source of protein. The white from one large egg contains 3.6 grams of protein. Caution for those watching their sugar intake: if you make 32 small meringues, then each meringue will contain about 12 grams of sugar. If you make only 24 meringues, then each will contain 16 grams of sugar.

Step 2: Layered Berry Dessert

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain 0% fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups low fat coconut yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups of strawberries, cut in 1/4's
  • 2 cup raspberries
  • 2 cup blueberries

In a large bowl, mix yogurts and vanilla.

Meanwhile, wash and dry fruit. Keep out a few of each fruit type to decorate the top. In a large see-through glass bowl, layer the ingredients, starting with the strawberries.

Layering each fruit in about a 2-inch layer adds a visual delight.

  1. Strawberries
  2. Blueberries
  3. 3/4 of Yogurt mixture
  4. Blueberries
  5. Raspberries
  6. 1/4 of Yogurt Mixture
  7. Decorate top with leftover strawberries, blueberries and raspberries

Store in refrigerator. Right before serving, place the meringues on individual serving plates. Can break them up into small pieces and place layered dessert mixture on top or just put a meringue on the side. Enjoy!

Nutrition Bonus

Raspberries are an excellent source of fiber and can help lower cholesterol. Also eating more fiber may prevent weight gain and even promote weight loss by making you feel fuller longer.

Blueberries provide vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants.

Summer Spritzer

In a glass, placed crushed ice. Fill with 90% sparkling water and a splash (about 1 Tablespoon) of your favorite 100% juice. Top with a mint leaf from the garden.

Nutrition Bonus

Orange juice provides an excellent source of vitamin C which is essential for skin health and protection against immune system deficiencies.

Enjoy these three quick and easy dishes (salad, dessert and a beverage) to bring to a potluck or BBQ and keep your healthy eating on track by increasing your fruits and vegetables during the summer season!

*How to Copy These Recipes from MyNetDiary

These recipes are entered and analyzed in MyNetDiary so you don't need to enter them from scratch. Instead, you can copy and edit the recipe easily by logging into MyNetDiary via the web program. Next, go to Community, and then search "Dietician" with "People" chosen in the drop down box. Click on "Dietician" link. Scroll down Dietician Personal Page and find Custom Catalog. Find the recipe. Copy recipe by clicking "copy" link on the right side of the screen. Once you do that, you can use a recipe in your own food log without having to enter it yourself. This recipe is also found in Dietitian account - so you can copy from either account.

Note: If you have Maximum membership, you can copy and customize recipes or foods. In web program, go to Food tab, tap "Log" in any meal row, then tap MyFoods, find the food or recipe and then choose "copy & customize" option. You can modify any field to customize the recipe (ingredients, yield, name, etc.).

Updated June 24 2019

Martha M. Henze, MPH, MS, RDN

Martha recently completed her Masters of Public Health (MPH) in global epidemiology and aims to help people improve their health on a population basis around the world.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

Tags:

Foods & Recipes/Fruit & Vegetables Foods & Recipes/Salads

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