5 Healthy Summer Dinner Replacements

By Mindy Probst

It’s summer; the days are long, the kids are home, and it’s time to have fun. But too many backyard barbecues with high-calorie menus can unbalance a nutritious diet.

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It is important to limit foods that are low in nutrients but high in calories as well as saturated and trans fat. Following a healthy diet is a great way to prevent various health challenges, including cardiovascular disease.

Here are five healthy summer dinner replacements to help meet those diet recommendations:

Trade in the red meat
Steak, ribs, hamburgers and hot dogs are staples for the grill. Avoid the saturated fat and go for some healthier meats such as grilled salmon or chicken breast. Start craving fish tacos with avocado, cilantro, corn and lime and leave behind the less heart-healthy alternatives.

Ditch the French fries
Instead of piles of French fries full of trans fat, go for light, juicy fruit salads. Combine your favorite fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, bananas, peaches, berries and grapes.

Abandon the chips and high-calorie dips
Chips can leave you feeling lethargic and raise your cholesterol levels. Try instead some delicious grilled or oven-roasted vegetables such as zucchini, corn, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, and more.

Lose the high-calorie sodas
Replace soda with a light lemonade, Crystal Light or flavored water instead. Studies show people who drink caloric beverages with meals don’t adjust by eating fewer calories so they over consume. Try not to drink your calories.

Save ice cream for special occasions
You don’t have to sacrifice a cold sweet, instead try a fruit puree or light yogurt blended with fresh fruit instead of juice. You can also freeze your favorite fruits, such as blueberries or grapes, and have those for a treat.