Some of the best fruits and veggies are in season during the summer, but people tend to gravitate toward the mayo-laden potato salads, calorie-filled chips and dip and sugary desserts at picnics and BBQs. It can be a mine-field if you're watching your weight. Arm yourself with appetite-controlling proteins and take advantage of the fresh, ripe produce available by highlighting them in these healthy summer snack recipes.
Next time you create a meat and cheese spread, use foods you can cut in relatively the same size and shape to create little stacks, like the Lunchables kids love so much. Use summer sausage, salami, high quality cheese, whole grain crackers, apple slices and anything else you can think of. Always offer assorted mustards and hummus for dipping.
These crunchy snacks travel well and pack a ton of nutrition: 1 cup of chickpeas contains 268 calories, 12.5 grams of dietary fiber, and 14.5 grams of protein. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Empty 1 drained can of chickpeas on the sheet and bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, until golden brown and crispy all the way through. Shake the pan every so often to avoid sticking.
Avocado Corn Salsa
Summer is avocado season, so load up! Mix in a bowl: cubed avocado, diced tomato, fresh corn kernels, chopped cilantro and lime juice. This makes a great dip for tortilla chips, but also goes well over pasta, on hamburgers, or with grilled chicken.
Watermelon, Mint and Feta Skewers
The name says it all. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar just before serving.
Use mozzarella balls, whole basil leaves and cherry tomatoes for a no-fuss skewer that's low in calories and big on flavor.
While it's perfect for carb watchers, everyone will love this easy to grill appetizer. Wrap a single slice of bacon around three asparagus spears. Use a toothpick to secure both ends. Grill until extra crispy, remove the toothpicks and eat with your hands.
Buying popsicle molds and making your own chilly treats can save you loads of money, plus allow you to make them so they're actually healthy. Use leftover smoothies or place full slices of fruit in the molds and then pour in 100% real juice blended with yogurt. Freeze and eat.
How's this for easy? Toss a few handfuls of grapes in the freezer and you're done. They're amazingly refreshing on their own, or throw them in some sparkling water or your favorite cocktail for a fruity twist.
Shrimp is a lean protein, and eight of them, along with two tablespoons of cocktail sauce is just around 100 calories.
Avocado toast isn't just for breakfast: if you use small baguette slices, you have an amazingly nutritious finger food perfect for get-togethers. Top slices of crunchy baguette with mashed avocado, onion, fresh herbs and anything else your guests may like. Or, use your leftover Avocado Corn Salsa, because you know you're going to be eating these quick and healthy snacks all summer long!