In an instant we’ve gone from Complaining About Winter to>>> Summer Heat Wave. While the temptation is to cool down with commercial smoothies, flavored ices, ice cream and frozen yogurt, we’ve put together a list of healthy summer snacks that are both good for you and hydrating. The key is to prep everything in advance so that when you come indoors and are all sweaty, hot and parched, you have a immediate grab!
1. Homemade Lemonade
Homemade lemonade with zingy fresh lemon juice is a real treat that blows away Crystal Light. When you make your own, you can use your favorite noncaloric sweetener including stevia or Splenda or Truvia or PureVia instead of sugar. Squeeze 4 or 5 lemons into a big glass pitcher and throw in the squeezed rinds as well. Add sweetener, fill with water and chill.
For fun flavored lemonade, add grated ginger, crushed berries or fresh herbs. My favorite is basil—cover with wax paper and crush gently by tapping with bottom of a heavy bottle or pan to release the oils before adding to the pitcher.
2. Cucumbers With Yogurt Dip
AMAZE YOUR FRIENDS WITH YOUR SMARTS: The phrase ‘cool as a cucumber’ comes from the fact that the inside of a cucumber is 20 degrees cooler than the outside! Slice them and serve with Greek yogurt blended with lots of fresh dill and mashed garlic to taste, lemon zest and juice, seasoned with salt and pepper OR BLEND WITH A PACKET OF HIDDEN VALLEY RANCH POWDER. I love the new ‘baby’ cucumbers… so crisp and easy to eat.
Better yet is to use the same ingredients, but add the diced cucumbers to the yogurt mixture to make a Greek tzatziki salad. Eat from a spoon in a small dish.
3. Papaya, mango limon y chile spears
Tropical fruit, cut into spears and chilled, hits the spot. Mango, papaya and melon are packed full of vitamins, fiber and water. Cut them up in advance and keep a bowl in the fridge or some in snack packs in the freezer for an icy grab and go.
Ahhh, but we are not finished yet. Hit your fruit with a squeeze of lime and some chile powder for a taste treat that you won’t believe. Spicy cools you down! I have a bottle of Tajin chili lime seasoning from Mexico… mmmmm.
4. Iced Coffee
There’s nothing like an ice cold glass of iced coffee to cool down. The new little bottle of Maxwell House concentrate is Off the Chain for making a single glass but I make a double pot of coffee in the morning and once it cools pour it over ice in a pitcher for the fridge.
To keep your drink even tastier, make ice cubes – just pour leftover coffee into an ice cube tray and freeze. Adding coffee ice cubes to a refrigerator-cold iced coffee drink makes it super turbo cold and refreshing. I love the silicon ice cube trays I can find for a dollar or two at TJMaxx.
I found these 32-ounce mason drinking jars at, you guessed it, TJ Maxx. They hold a whole lot of Iced Coffee while I work on my patio. This gorgeous giant drink is an Iced Mocha, I made a double Inspire Dutch Chocolate Cake protein drink, using two scoops in 1 cup unsweetened almond milk and added the smooth mix to my vat of ice and coffee. It. does. not. get. any. better. Yum. These big ole mason jars were four dollars each, so I picked up two. One for me, one for a friend.
5. Crudités & Hummus
MAKE YOUR OWN HUMMUS, it’s a thousand times better and takes 2 minutes Add a can of drained Chick Peas, a glop of peanut butter, half a lemon squeezed, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil, a garlic clove and puree in food processor while dribbling in 2 tablespoons water until really creamy. Done.
There are so many different vegetables that this one never gets old. Crisp crudités include those cute baby sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, radishes, fennel, jicama, and snap peas.
6. Frozen Grapes
Just wash and dry ‘em, lay ’em on a tray, stick ‘em in the freezer and pop ‘em in your mouth. Frozen grapes take more time to eat, so the snack lasts longer. The frozen fruits are more satisfying than they are at room temperature.
You have NOT LIVED until you have eaten frozen grapes while lounging at a pool in Phoenix when air temps are 112 plus. It’s awesome! Wait, in all fairness, we had cabana boys too! Until then, do it at at home in your backyard or at the pool.
7. No Sugar Added Ice Pops
Low calorie, sugar free ice pops are one of our favorite cool-off snacks. Popsicle makes them in Sugar Free Orange, Cherry and Grape (15 calories); Sugar Free Tropicals (15 calories); Creamsicle Sugar Free Pops (40 calories) and Fudgsicle No Sugar Added (80 calories). Have at it. Keep three or four boxes in the freezer and don’t run out. You can’t beat a 15 calorie indulgence that tastes this good and keeps you squarely in the middle of plan! IF YOU ATE FOUR IN ONE DAY, THAT’S JUST 60 CALORIES!
You can make your own lower-sugar ice pops by diluting your favorite zero calorie juice such as Diet Ocean Spray with fruit tea or spice tea, unsweetened or with a noncaloric sweetener.
8. Grown Up ‘Ants on a Log’
Cut light tender celery hearts into 3 inch pieces and fill with goat cheese, brie or creamed cottage cheese instead of peanut butter and top with chopped almonds or pistachios. Keep them on a plate in your fridge with deviled eggs or even cheese cubes skewered with olives… these protein foods keep your hand out of the Dorito bag.
STAY COOL! Plan ahead and keep cool foods on hand. We don’t plan to fail… we just fail to plan. Be smart!