5 Tips to Plan a Diet-Friendly Backyard Summer Picnic

5 Tips to Plan a Diet-Friendly Backyard Summer Picnic

Planning on a staycation this year because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? Join the crowd in not joining the crowd. Not going to the beach, the lake, the mountain or the water park puts a lot of pressure on your backyard to be the place you want to be, especially for fun summertime activities. Now is the time to plan for a summer picnic… and to have a plan to keep it healthy and diet-friendly!

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Here are five fun ways to enjoy backyard summer picnic food and still lose weight:
1. Load some veggies on that grill.

grilled vegetables

Even veggie haters find grilled vegetables to be irresistible. That’s probably because this particular cooking method brings out their inherent sweetness. Slice up some onions, zucchini, eggplant, carrots and even cabbage “steaks,” then grill them up as a healthy side.

To keep your meal diet-friendly, load up half of your plate with veggies. Trending now: the carrot “hot dog.” Cook whole carrots on the grill and serve them on a whole wheat frankfurter bun with all the fixings. You can also use veggies in another way: in some grilled vegetable recipes, vegetables are layered between cubes of chicken, a firm fish like tuna or swordfish, shellfish such as shrimp or even lean beef. Vegetable kebabs can help you keep your meal balanced between higher calorie protein and lower calorie veggies with a fiber-friendly twist.

Check out these seven foods that taste better on the grill! >

2. Make sides that are the star of the meal.

The Leaf healthy summer picnic tips

Forget the mayonnaise-laden potato salad, pasta salad and coleslaw that crowd every summer picnic table across the land. They’re as ho-hum as they are fattening. Instead, focus on some of the farm fresh produce that’s readily available this time of year.

Consider replacing slaw with a Zesty Cucumber and Dill Salad that takes minutes to prepare and can sit in the fridge for hours, just getting more and more savory the longer it marinates! You also don’t have to nix slaw completely from the menu—just liven up a cabbage-carrot mix with a dressing of low-sodium soy sauce, rice vinegar and peanut butter. This Spicy Peanut Slaw recipe supplies one PowerFuel and two Vegetables to your daily count.

Love pasta salad? Broccoli, bell pepper strips and cherry tomatoes turn a simple Creamy Pasta Salad (mixed with nonfat Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise) into a work of art. Plus, it clocks in at only 228 calories per serving, even with the chopped turkey bacon added for crunch and protein. One serving counts as one SmartCarb, one PowerFuel and one Vegetable. Click here for the recipe! >

You also don’t have to banish potato salad if you make it the Nutrisystem way, using reduced fat mayo, nonfat Greek yogurt or even a piquant vinaigrette. Think outside the summer picnic basket too: Eliminate half of the potatoes from the recipe and mix in turnips, cauliflower or parsnips. Add fun and flavorful ingredients like dill, green onions, chives or capers. Then throw in some of your favorite vegetables, like fresh peas, bell peppers or radishes for a flavorful bite. Make a healthier potato salad for your summer picnic with these five tips. > 

3. Add Nutrisystem foods to the mix.

The Leaf healthy summer picnic tips

How good would your Nutrisystem Hamburger or Grilled Chicken Sandwich taste if you made it on the grill? What about the Chicken and BBQ Beans? Yes. THAT good. End your picnic meal with a Nutrisystem Ice Cream Sandwich or, as just about everyone does, with s’mores. Well, with our own S’mores Pie made with a graham cracker crust, ooey gooey marshmallow and real melted chocolate tucked inside. Mmmmm—and it’s only 140 calories!

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4. Plan active backyard fun and games.

The Leaf healthy summer picnic tips

Exercise off any excess calories from your summer picnic by planning outdoor activities for young and old. If you have enough yard, set up a volleyball or badminton net. Kids aren’t the only ones who can enjoy backyard games like tag, freeze tag or dodge ball, particularly if you incorporate water balloons into the fun. You can even do a riff on the egg-and-spoon relay race with filled water balloons and a wooden spoon. Throw Frisbees back and forth or set up a game of cornhole or horseshoes. Organize a post-picnic walk around the neighborhood or a nearby park.

5. Hydrate wisely.

The Leaf healthy summer picnic tips

While you can always turn to light beer and wine coolers to save some calories, don’t forget that studies have shown that alcohol can stimulate the appetite center of your brain and make you eat more, says the United Kingdom National Health Service.

Both wine and beer come in non-alcoholic versions. You can also whip up some delicious and satisfying “mocktails” that will wow your guests. Try a non-alcoholic Strawberry Daiquiri that combines fresh and frozen strawberries with water and lime juice in the blender. It’s only 55 calories per serving and counts as one SmartCarb on Nutrisystem. Find this mouthwatering non-alcoholic drink recipe and four more mocktails right here! >

Avoiding alcohol at your backyard picnic can help you avoid unnecessary calories. However, you can still enjoy alcohol in moderation on your Nutrisystem program. If you’d like to have a drink, check out this article on 10 Low Calorie Beers That Actually Taste Good! > You can also brush up on your Nutrisystem knowledge and learn more about alcohol on our program right here. >

Be sure to explore The Leaf for more tips to enjoy this summer season with family and friends, including expert fitness and nutrition tips as well as delicious seasonal recipes for your weight loss journey!

20 Easy Summer Salad Recipes for Weight Loss

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The post 5 Tips to Plan a Diet-Friendly Backyard Summer Picnic appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

20 Easy Summer Salad Recipes for Weight Loss

20 Easy Summer Salad Recipes for Weight Loss

When it comes to eating fresh and healthy for summer weight loss, nothing beats a simple-to-assemble salad. But simple doesn”;t have to mean boring. After all, you can only eat so many plain jane lettuce salads before they start to lose their luster.

That”;s why we”;ve rounded up 20 of our best summer salad recipes that can boost your weight loss success. These delicious summer salads are an easy meal prep option that can be whipped up in no time. They are sure to keep you nourished and living life to the fullest this beach season!

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Here are 20 summer salad recipes that are perfect for your weight loss menu:
1. Green Goddess Summer Salad >

The Leaf Green Goddess Summer Salad Recipe

Calories per Serving: 235

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 Vegetable and 2 Extras

This bright green salad is as beautiful as it is delicious. Its name comes from its lovely green veggies like shredded Brussel sprouts, kale and edamame. It also features quinoa, almonds and parmesan cheese, all mixed with a tangy Dijon dressing. Thanks to all of these healthy ingredients, this salad packs in fiber, protein and antioxidant power.

2. Fig Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette >

The Leaf Fig Salad Healthy Summer Salads

Calories per Serving: 325

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 SmartCarb, 3 Extras and 3 Vegetables

This crunchy salad features kale, arugula and quinoa. However, it is the salad”;s namesake, figs, that are at the heart of this recipe. Dried figs are chewy, sweet and add something special to this tasty assembly. Figs also happen to be a great source of fiber, antioxidants, calcium and a variety of other vitamins and minerals. Figs pair well with goat cheese, which also makes an appearance in this yummy dish that’s perfect for your Nutrisystem plan.

3. Cacao Citrus Summer Salad >

The Leaf Cacao Citrus Summer Salad Ideas

Calories per Serving: 128

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb and 2 Extras

This citrus-based fruit salad brings together the unique flavor combination of grapefruits, oranges and pomegranate seeds. We top it all off with some chopped pistachios, cacao nibs, maple syrup, vanilla extract and cinnamon. The tangy sourness of the grapefruit is offset by plenty of sweetness. It”;s like a dessert treat but it”;s packed with antioxidants, fiber and other nutritional benefits that you”;ll love this summer! In fact, some research even indicates grapefruits have weight loss benefits and can even help reduce heart disease.

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4. Asian Cashew and Farro Salad >

Easy Summer Salads Recipe

Calories per Serving: 259

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel, 1 Vegetable and 1 Extra

If you”;re looking for something beyond a leafy green salad, you”;ll want to give this edamame, cabbage and carrot-based salad a whirl. It also features green onions, cucumbers, farro, cashews and sesame seeds. Dressed with an Asian-inspired vinaigrette, this summer salad idea has plenty of tang to make your lunch or dinner enjoyable while providing you with a nutritionally balanced and diet-friendly meal.

5. Watermelon Chicken Salad >

Chicken Salad Recipe

Calories per Serving: 148

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel and 2 Extras

You wouldn”;t think that the ingredients in this summer salad recipe could possibly work together. But they just do. This Watermelon Chicken Salad combines a refreshing cup of cubed watermelon, chicken, celery and red onion. Dressed in a yogurt- and mayonnaise-based dressing–;with just the right amount of chili powder and cayenne pepper–;this salad is packed full of flavor and protein. It”;s a refreshing summer salad recipe you”;ll want to make again and again this beach season! Plus, a serving is just 148 calories and counts as 1 PowerFuel and 2 Extras.

6. Summer Corn Salad >

Healthy Summer Corn Salad Recipe

Calories per Serving: 210

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel and 2 Extras

While corn might show up in your meals most often as a side dish, it is the star of this delicious and nutritious summer corn salad that also features tomatoes, onions and avocado. It”;s all dressed with a lime and olive oil dressing and then sprinkled with feta cheese for a showstopper dish.

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7. Asparagus Caprese Salad >

Asparagus caprese salad

Calories per Serving: 138

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 Vegetable and 1 Extra

This unique and yummy twist on a traditional Caprese salad gives asparagus the spotlight while also featuring cherry tomatoes, red onions, some basil and mozzarella cheese. Like the original, it”;s all blended with a tasty vinaigrette, making it one of the best summer salad recipes you and your family will love!

8. Watermelon Berry Summer Salad >

Watermelon Berry Fruit Salad

Calories per Serving: 92

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb and 1 PowerFuel

This salad is another great way to get more watermelon into your day–;a juicy fruit known for being soaked with nutrients. In this summer fruit salad, cubed watermelon is combined with blackberries, feta cheese and some mint for a truly refreshing dish. Feel free to get creative and swap in another berry like blueberries. You could even throw in a non-starchy veggie like sliced cucumbers to help you get in your four required servings!

9. Grilled Asparagus Caesar Salad >

Grilled Asparagus

Calories per Serving: 151

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, ½ Vegetable and 2 Extras

Here”;s a fun way to switch up a classic Caesar salad! Let grilled asparagus take the centerstage. Asparagus is a nutrient-packed vegetable known to be a good source of fiber, folate and vitamins A, C, E and K. In this easy summer salad recipe, grilled asparagus is dressed in a healthy Caesar dressing that features nonfat yogurt at its base. Mix in some croutons and parmesan cheese for that true Caesar flavor.

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10. Blueberry Quinoa Summer Salad >

Summer Quinoa Salad with Blueberries

Calories per Serving: 143

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb and 2 Extras

The yum factor in this refreshing summer salad recipe is off the charts. Fresh blueberries, yellow corn, quinoa and goat cheese are added atop a bed of arugula and drizzled with a simple-but-delicious lemon vinaigrette. It”;s the type of summer quinoa salad you”;ll want to make again and again. With only 143 calories per serving, it”;s also the type of salad that will keep your healthy eating regimen on track this summer season.

11. Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad >

Southwestern Summer Potato Salad

Calories per Serving: 144.5

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, ½ Vegetable and 1 Extra

Veggie noodles are all the rage and this recipe makes good use of sweet potato spirals made from a spiralizer. This colorful salad brings the rainbow to your plate with veggies like corn, tomatoes, bell peppers and onion, all tossed in a zesty, homemade southwestern dressing.

12. Mason Jar Cobb Salad >

Healthy Salad in a Jar Recipe

Calories per Serving: 314

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel, 1 ½ Vegetables and 2 Extras

Mason jars are a fun and easy way to meal prep for the week ahead. This delicious mason jar salad is definitely a healthy summer recipe you”;re going to want to try. Although a traditional cobb salad has bacon and blue cheese, this healthier version features grilled chicken, chickpeas, avocado and more. A fat-free ranch dressing keeps the calorie count low on this mason jar salad recipe.

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13. Pomegranate Chicken Salad Wraps >

The Leaf Summer Chicken Salad with Pomegranate

Calories per Serving: 207

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 SmartCarb and ½ Vegetable

Summer chicken salad is such a versatile dish that can be created in so many delicious ways. This version features pomegranate seeds and a chopped apple for a sweet addition. Served in a lettuce wrap instead of bread, you can have three whole wraps for a single serving that clocks in at just 207 calories.

14. Pomegranate Arugula Salad >

Fresh Summer Salad with Pomegranate and Arugula

Calories per Serving: 128

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 Vegetable, 1 SmartCarb and 1 Extra

If you love pomegranates, you”;re going to love this simple, cold summer salad. It uses pomegranate juice as a key ingredient in its delicious pomegranate balsamic vinaigrette. The salad itself features a bag of arugula, a Bartlett pear, pomegranate seeds, chopped pistachios and goat cheese for a flavorful blend of ingredients. It”;s a lot of flavor for a mere 128 calories per serving.

15. Mediterranean Panzanella Salad >

Mediterranean panzanella

Calories per Serving: 315

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel, 1 SmartCarb, 2 Vegetables and 2 Extras

This light-but-filling Mediterranean-inspired salad features nutritious ingredients like chopped cucumber, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts and chicken, all tossed in a delicious vinaigrette. A serving of this delicious and easy salad is the perfect lunch for those hot summer days.

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16. 3-Step Curried Rotisserie Chicken Salad >

Rotisserie Chicken

Calories per Serving: 187

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 2 PowerFuels

Here”;s another great way to get creative with your summer chicken salad in a recipe that is still healthy and flavorful. Plus, it doesn”;t get easier than using a rotisserie chicken for your shredded meat! Instead of mayo, this healthy chicken salad uses nonfat plain Greek yogurt. We also add some curry for a unique flavor addition.

17. Mason Jar Greek Salad >

mason jar meal prep

Calories per Serving: 243

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel, 2 Vegetables and 2 Extras

If you”;re into mason jar recipes, this meal prep recipe is for you! This easy-to-make mason jar salad recipe has all the Greek salad favorites like cucumbers, black olives and feta cheese tossed in a homemade Greek dressing that couldn”;t be simpler to whip up. Make a bunch ahead of time and grab-and-go for convenient mason jar lunches.

18. Creamy Summer Pasta Salad >

creamy pasta recipe

Calories per Serving: 228

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel and 1 Vegetable

Healthy summer pasta salad can be hard to come by, as most use full-fat dressings or mayonnaise as their base. However, this lightened-up version packs in plenty of fresh veggies and uses a dressing with light mayo and Greek yogurt. It will fulfill your pasta salad craving without sending your diet on a detour.

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19. Sesame Soy Cucumber Salad >

cucumber noodle recipe

Calories per Serving: 49

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 Vegetable and 1 Extra

Turn an ordinary cucumber into a spiraled noodle for the base of this refreshing summer cucumber salad. It also contains other refreshing and flavorful non-starchy veggies like red bell pepper and green onion. It”;s all tossed in a homemade dressing with soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil.

20. Creamy Cauliflower “;Potato Salad”; >

low carb cauliflower recipe

Calories per Serving: 107.8

On Nutrisystem, Count As: 1 PowerFuel and 2 Vegetables

Get your summer potato salad fix with this healthy alternative that packs serious diet food benefits! This healthy summer salad recipe uses lightly steamed cauliflower instead of potatoes. It tastes so much like the “;real deal”; that you”;ll trick your taste buds while consuming only 108 calories per serving!

Lose weight this summer with delicious meals delivered directly to your door! Learn more about Nutrisystem programs >

The post 20 Easy Summer Salad Recipes for Weight Loss appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com