I always joke to people that I am “solar powered” so when the sun shined bright so many days this week I got MUCH needed super charge. I hope you did too!
Research shows that the summer is actually the best time for weight control and healthy eating. Isn’t that cool? (Pun intended!)
Why?! Lots of reasons!
- Warmer weather makes us eat less because we digest food slower so are full longer
- Hot weather tends to suppress appetite in general so we eat a little less
- Our bodies work harder (hence burn more calories) trying to release our body heat and stay cool
- We tend to drink more water and be thirstier which everyone knows is good for us!
- Sun and nice weather enhance our mood so we don’t need to eat to “cope” or make ourselves feel better
- Nice weather is more conducive to physical activity-both “deliberate exercise” and doing that yard work or gardening!
- Lastly–all that fresh summer produce and grilling make for healthier food choices!
So let’s all take advantage of the welcome weather to help us eat healthier.
Today I share my FIVE FAVORITE SUMMER SALAD ideas right in time for Memorial Day weekend🌞! Get your grilling game on and make some fresh fish, chicken, or lean meat and pair with any one of these-my all-time favorite summer side dishes!
Jicama Mango Salad/Salsa
I can eat this all day-it’s great with chicken or fish as a “salsa” but also can be a side salad! A little sweet and crunchy with just the right amount of tangy spiciness!
You can adjust your ratios of these as needed-this salad is very “forgiving”…
1 small jicama, peeled and diced
1 large mango, peeled and diced
1 large orange bell pepper, diced
3 scallions (green onions), chopped
1-2 fresh serrano or other hot peppers (to taste!), minced
1/2 cup fine chopped cilantro
1/3 cup fine chopped fresh mint
2-3 tbs fresh lime juice
2-3 tbs seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Chop and mix all solid ingredients in large bowl
Mix liquid ingredients in a small bowl and mix in salad
Cucumber & Fresh Dill Salad
Dill!!! I LOVE dill! This is so easy and fresh and has no added fat so is very low calorie too!
2 cups course chopped cucumber (can peel or leave unpeeled-your preference)
1 cup halved grape tomatoes (or any tomato you have-seeded and diced)
1/2 cup very thin sliced vidalia/sweet onion or red onion
fresh dill–as much as you like!
3 TBS apple cider vinegar
fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
Just chop it all and mix it all and eat it all!
SO easy, so healthy, so YUM!
This middle eastern salad is soooo great! If you have a food processor-put it to work on the parsley and mint to save time.
I promise if you make this-your family will love you! Fresh parsley is great for digestion!
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
2 cups fine chopped flat parsley
1/2 cup fine chopped fresh mint
1/2 seedless cucumber, chopped into 1/4” cubes
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped into 1/4” cubes
4 green onions/scallions, chopped
4 tbs olive oil
4 TBS fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Mix 1 tbs oil into bowl with raw bulgur
Pour one cup of boiling water over bulgur and oil wrap/cover for 15 min
Drain extra water from bulgur
Mix remaining ingredients with bulgur (including remaining 3 tbs of olive oil)
Season with salt and pepper to taste (and add more lemon if needed)
Asian Style Slaw
I totally stole this idea from a grocery store deli years ago. Paying $8.99/lb for salad isn’t my thing so I made my version of it at home and OMG. A great option for people who love coleslaw but want a healthier version to the creamy sugary kind.
1/2 bag of coleslaw mix
1/2 Small bag shredded red cabbage
1/2 butternut squash, cubed and boiled until soft but not mushy
3 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 TBS sesame oil
1 TBS honey
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp dried lemongrass
Mix all veggies in a large bowl
Whisk dressing ingredients together
Mix dressing into slaw
Chill a few hours to let the flavors mix
Grilled Poblano, Corn & Black Bean Salad
This one you need the grill for-but the flavors of this fresh hearty salad are amazing! Vegetarians can just have this as a meal! Again, just play around with the proportions for this-have an extra poblano or ear of corn? No problem throw it in
2 ears of corn, shucked
4 scallions/green onions
1 red bell pepper
1 poblano pepper
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of one lime (few tablespoons)
1 tsp ground cumin
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
Oil for grilling
Preheat the grill to high.
Coat the grill rack with a layer of oil and brush some on the vegetables to be grilled.
Place all of the veggies onto the grill rack.
Grill the green onions for 2 minutes on each side until lightly browned & wilted.
Remove from the grill then chop.
Grill the bell pepper and poblano for a few minutes on each side or until skins are blackened. The thinner poblanos will cook faster. Let cool by placing into a paper bag and let them sit for a few minutes for easier peeling.
Peel the charred skin from the peppers then remove the stem & seeds and dice.
Grill the corn until its beginning to brown on all sides, turning occasionally. Cut the kernels from the ears of corn with a knife; place into a large bowl.
Add the chopped green onion, bell pepper, poblano pepper, and diced avocado to the bowl and add rinsed beans.
Mix lime juice, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl then mix well into the salad and serve!
Well, those should keep everyone busy for awhile!!
Please do let me know if you try any of these and if you made any twists!