Healthy summer recipes
As summer has arrived, it's time to switch up your cooking habits and try some more seasonally-appropriate dishes.
With the temperatures rising outdoors, the last thing you want to be eating are hot dishes that leave you feeling uncomfortably full and lethargic. Summer dishes involve incorporating fresh, light, yet satisfying ingredients that are both tasty and good for you.
If you're stuck for what to add to your summer menu, why not try some of these?
A sunny day is a great excuse to get your family and friends together and host a barbecue in your back garden. Rather than make burgers, a combination of meat and vegetable skewers are a quick, easy and healthy way to a delicious meal.
Lean meats like chicken and turkey are a good option as they are low in fat and high in protein, which is an essential nutrient required by the human body for growth and maintenance.
Pack your skewers with vegetables and fruits like yellow peppers, courgettes and tomatoes. You could even make your own dips, like Greek-style tzatziki using low-fat natural yoghurt.
Frozen fruit lollies
While you might normally pick up an ice-cream in a bid to cool down on a hot summer's day, why not make your own healthier rendition?
Frozen fruit lollies are perfect at this time of year and can be made to incorporate your favourite fruits. Simply place your fruits into a blender and blend until they form a juice-like consistency. Add sugar-free cordial if the mixture is a little thick.
Place into ice-lolly moulds and secure with the holders. Pop into the freezer and leave overnight. Once frozen you'll have delicious frozen fruit lollies that you and your little ones are bound to enjoy.
If you don't want to make lollies, the same recipe can be used for making ice cubes. Simply pour your fruit mixture into ice cube moulds and once frozen, add to water for a subtle, fruity kick.
Sweet potato salad
A popular summer dish is potato salad, but this tends to be unhealthy as it has an extremely high calorie content.
Instead, you can make your own salad dish using sweet potatoes. Simply cut the potatoes into chunks and drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle of pepper. Bake in the oven until soft on the inside and crispy outside. Then toss into a bowl with lettuce leaves, tomatoes and chives.
Add a bit of crumbled feta cheese for a zingy kick and as a healthier alternative to mayonnaise-based potato salads.
Pesto is a tasty addition to foods such as wholemeal pasta or chicken, but more often than not it's high in calories.
Homemade pesto is a healthier option and tastes fresher than one that's been stored in a jar. All you need is fresh basil leaves, chopped garlic, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Basil is a good source of vitamin A – the nutrient that helps the body's immune system fight against infections.
Blend the ingredients together and enjoy!