Tips on Diet Foods for Summer

Try these fruits of summer for good health -- and weight loss

By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte E. Grayson, MD

If you want to lose weight this summer once and for all, forget about diets. Instead, try these nutritionally rich, low-calories foods each day to help you slim down this summer. And don't forget to drink plenty of water!

Tomatoes and Peppers

Colorful fruits and vegetables of the vine get their wide range of vivid colors from health-protecting substances such as lycopene, vitamin C and vitamin A. Use them generously in dishes to enhance nutrients with very few calories.

  • Choose firm, well-shaped tomatoes that are fragrant and intensely colored, store at room temperature and enjoy within a few days.
  • Keep canned petite diced tomatoes on hand for a low-calorie and nutritious addition to salads, pastas, soups, casseroles or dips.
  • Roasted peppers do wonders for any dish or alone as a side dish. Roast them yourself or buy them already roasted in a jar for added color and nourishment.

Recipe idea: Oven-dry grape tomatoes by slicing in half and placing cut side up on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake at 250 F for two hours. Toss oven-dried tomatoes into pasta, salads or enjoy as an appetizer with goat cheese.

Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, black raspberries, blackberries -- these delicious colorful berries contain a powerhouse of antioxidants that help prevent cellular damage. They are also an excellent source of fiber and very low in calories. Eat them by the handful or work more of them into your diet.

1. Get your day started with a healthy dose of fiber and antioxidants. Enjoy whole-grain cereal, pancakes, or waffles topped with fresh or frozen blueberries.
2. Skip the decadent dessert and satisfy your sweet tooth with a bowl of fresh mixed berries.
3. Mix fresh berries into a spinach or mixed green salad for a refreshing and filling first course.

Recipe idea: Toss toasted slivered almonds, sliced strawberries, sliced scallions, grilled chicken strips, and salad greens with a light raspberry vinaigrette for a healthy summer supper.

Yogurt and other low-fat dairy products are powerhouses of calcium and protein. They may also help you lose weight. Research suggests that dairy food, when part of a reduced-calorie diet, can enhance weight loss while strengthening bones and keeping you feeling full and satisfied.


"Dazzle your friends and family with a beautiful, low-calorie parfait."

  • Substitute low-fat frozen yogurt for premium ice cream for added nutrition and fewer calories.
  • Whip up a quick batch of smoothies for a nourishing family breakfast or snack using any fresh or frozen fruit, plain low-fat yogurt, 100% fruit juice, and ice.
  • Read the label and find healthy, low-calorie portable yogurt smoothies for meals on the go.

Recipe idea: Dazzle your friends and family with a beautiful, low-calorie parfait made by layering fresh fruit, low-fat vanilla yogurt, and granola for a quick meal, snack or dessert.

Mainstays in the vegetarian diet, beans are an excellent substitute for meat. These tiny tasty nuggets are a great source of protein, chock-full of fiber and capable of filling you up with very few calories. They come ready-to-eat in the can or frozen, or dried for slow cooking. (Tip: Take digestive enzymes such as Beano to minimize the gas that is often a side effect of eating beans.)

  • Have several varieties of canned beans in your cupboard (or frozen in your freezer) to toss into salads, soups, stews, pasta, salsa, or rice dishes.
  • Dried beans must be soaked in water for several hours or overnight to rehydrate them before cooking.
  • Make a quick high-fiber, high-protein salad with a variety of drained and rinsed canned beans (pinto, chickpeas, and black beans) and light Italian salad dressing.

Recipe idea: Drain cans of black beans and corn, toss together with a jar of salsa, juice from a fresh lime, a dash of olive oil, and balsamic vinegar for a nutritious salsa to eat with grilled fish or baked chips.

Mango

This delectable brilliant orange fruit is juicy, sweet, and tart. Mangoes are high in fiber and a rich source of potassium and vitamins A and C, with only 135 calories for the entire fruit. The center pit makes it a bit tricky to slice up but the extra effort is worth it.

  • Increase your intake of potassium the easy way. Simply slice up a mango and eat.
  • Chop mangoes then toss into salsas or chutneys for a tropical treat on grilled fish.
  • Stock your pantry with mango juice for a quick and nutritious smoothie or refreshing mango-lime spritzer.
  • Put spoon-sliced mangoes on top of pancakes, waffles, French toast, whole-grain cereal, salads, cakes, yogurt, and puddings.


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