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Recipe Adventure: 7 Easy Summer Meals That Won’t Make You Sweat

From grilled peaches to grilled chicken pesto pizza, these easy summer recipes are sure to delight all summer long

Fish and mango soft taco

Summers are jam-packed full of exciting activities. But just because you’re socializing out in the sun doesn’t mean you have to break a sweat when you host a backyard barbecue or attend a picnic in the park.

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Pediatric dietitian Diana Schnee, RD, LD, shows off some quick and easy (and healthy!) summer recipes you can use this season that will not only wow your guests, but also leave them wanting another round.

How to keep things healthy in the heat

Summer is a state of mind, when you can still honor your healthy habits while also exploring new recipes and trends.

Staying hydrated, keeping active and planning what you’re going to eat before and/or bring to social gatherings are important, too, particularly if you’re not sure what’s going to be on the menu.

And when it comes to slathering on high-calorie sauces, indulging in sugary drinks and digging into bowls of sodium-stacked snacks, remember that you’re in control. This summer, maybe lean a bit more into grilled fish, vegetables and whole fruits, and search for alternative sides that offer other health benefits that everyone can enjoy.

“Kids can be more willing to try new foods outside of their normal environment. So, even if your child doesn’t normally love certain fruits or veggies, still encourage them to try whatever produce or new foods that are available to them at a social gathering,” suggests Schnee.

“Or have them help prepare a new, colorful dish to bring. Summer is a great time to explore fresh, local produce at a farmer’s market as well!”

Easy summer recipes

The trick to making each of these summer recipes is using healthy ingredients that are bold in flavor, while not sacrificing your own satisfaction.

Here are seven recipes that build off easy, healthy summer eating:

Grilled chicken pesto pizza

Pizza with pesto, chicken, tomatoes, cheese and red peppers.

Burgers aren’t the only thing on the menu this summer. This pizza recipe pairs up a great source of protein with grilled tomatoes, red peppers and pesto for a delightful but not-too-heavy main course.

Grilled veggie kabobs

Grilled vegetable kabobs

If you’re someone who easily gets lost in sides, this one is a healthy resource for you. Grilled vegetable kabobs are versatile fillers, providing an abundance of options for whatever is in season throughout the summer. Pile up on produce from a local farmer’s market, and you’ll have everything you need for this go-to recipe.

Red snapper taco with mango salsa

open-faced taco topped with grilled red snapper and mango salsa

Fish is a great source of protein if you’re trying to cut back on red meat. This recipe pairs red snapper, which is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, with chopped mango, red bell pepper, romaine lettuce, and herbs and spices for the perfect snappy, refreshing luncheon.

Easy chicken salad

chicken salad with apples and cranberries

Tired of the grill? No problem. This refreshing chicken salad pairs diced, boiled chicken breasts with Greek yogurt, cranberries, apples, celery, honey and fresh rosemary for a fast and simple lunch that’s packed with protein and flavor. Eat it on its own, over a bed of lettuce or make a sandwich out of it with whole-grain bread for a perfect picnic.

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Lemon-dill shrimp and avocado salad

shrimp salad with avocado, dill, vinaigrette and capers

Full of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats, avocados have many benefits. This salad makes avocados the central focus when paired with cooked bay shrimp in a dill sauce that’s creamy and delightful for any palate.

Grilled peaches with yogurt, honey and mint

Grilled peaches with honey, yogurt and mint

Grilling fruit has a way of bringing out all its wonderful flavors. This recipe pairs grilled peaches with an olive oil rub, nonfat Greek yogurt, a little bit of honey and some fresh mint leaves to create a subtly sweet but not over-the-top dessert.

Pineapple raspberry popsicles

pineapple raspberry popsicles with a small bowl of raspberries

Kids will love this finisher — adults, too — considering these fresh fruit popsicles aren’t packed with artificial sweeteners or a ton of sugar like store-bought ones often are. Plus, pineapple and raspberries have their own health benefits. What more could we ask for when we’re looking for a little treat in the heat?

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