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!

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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

10 Summer Pie Recipes for a Satisfying Sweet Treat

10 Summer Pie Recipes for a Satisfying Sweet Treat

Pies are among America”;s favorite desserts and a classic indulgence in the summer season. There”;s nothing quite like a nice slice of pie to finish off a delicious BBQ dinner. Unfortunately, these summertime favorites and epic Labor Day desserts are traditionally packed with fat and sugar that can easily derail your healthy intentions and weight loss journey.

But don”;t get discouraged! While store-bought pies and traditional summer dessert recipes will have you loaded up on white flour, butter and sugar, our recipe developers at Nutrisystem and The Leaf Weight Loss Blog have created some diet-friendly options. Our healthy recipes will provide you with your fill of pie while keeping your healthy eating plans on track. These 10 summer pies use simple swaps and healthy ingredients to lighten up some of your favorite summer desserts.

Here are 10 summer fruit pies for a seasonal and satisfying sweet treat:
1. Fresh Peach Pie >

peach recipe

Nothing screams “;summer”; like a big slice of peach pie. Summer is peach season and that means lots of tempting peach desserts will be popping up–;including some not-so-healthy ones. Fortunately, our healthy summertime version of peach pie uses a whole wheat crust and a diet friendly fruit filling with five cups of fresh peaches. No added sugar needed in this sweet treat! Peaches are rich in vitamin C, potassium and fiber, making them a great addition to your healthy diet during beach season. One slice of this peach pie is 170 calories and counts as one SmartCarb and two Extras on the Nutrisystem plan.

2. Healthy Apple Pie >

The Leaf Summer Desserts & Pie Recipes

As they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away–;an old adage that just may ring true considering the fact that apples have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. But when apples are used in traditional pie recipes, their health value tends to get lost. Instead of burying apples in a load of sugar, this summer dessert recipe gets its sweet flavor directly from the source–;whole, delicious apples. It”;s a yummy indulgence you can feel good about. One slice of this healthy apple pie is just 147 calories and counts as one SmartCarb and two Extras on the Nutrisystem plan.

3. Must-Try Strawberry Pie >

The Leaf Summer Desserts & Pie Recipes

Where fruit pies tend to go awry is in the crust. Pie crusts (and tarts) are usually packed with lots of butter. On top of that, many fruit pie fillings contain added sugar. However, this lighter version of strawberry pie uses a simple pie crust made from graham crackers and just two tablespoons of butter plus an egg. It also features a simple yet delicious strawberry filling that’s made from whole strawberries and a sugar-free gelatin mix. You”;ll get a healthy dose of superfood strawberries–;known to be a great source of fiber and vitamins–;while indulging in a sweet treat. A slice of this summer pie is 132 calories and on Nutrisystem counts as one SmartCarb and one Extra.

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4. Blueberry Pie Crumble >

The Leaf Summer Desserts & Pie Recipes

Add this beautiful blue baked good to your seasonal summer menu! This berrylicious crumble looks like a gourmet dessert from your local bakery. However, don’t be fooled because it’s extremely easy to make. The secret ingredients that make this recipe unique are chia seeds and oats, which create a satisfying yet smart slice of pie. One serving contains 138 calories and counts as one SmartCarb and one Extra on the Nutrisystem program.

5. No-Bake Strawberry Pie Parfait >

The Leaf Summer Desserts & Pie Recipes

No-bake pie recipes that are quick to whip up are absolutely welcomed in the summer when nobody feels like heating up the house with their oven or spending a lot of time in the kitchen. This simple-to-make no-bake recipe will give you the taste of strawberry pie in a delicious parfait. It”;s a matter of mixing up a few ingredients and then layering those yummy mixes. In addition to healthy whole strawberries, this summer dessert recipe also uses nonfat Greek yogurt, which contains probiotics to support good gut health and boost your health and wellness goals! One parfait is 252 calories and counts as one SmartCarb, one PowerFuel and one Extra on the Nutrisystem plan.

6. Skinny Peach Cobbler >

The Leaf Summer Desserts & Pie Recipes

With summer being peach season, here is another wonderfully peachy dessert recipe to try! Though a light alternative, it tastes so much like traditional cobbler that it just may transport you to a front porch in the South. This version is made healthy by ditching the highly refined ingredients like white flour, white sugar and butter for whole wheat flour, brown sugar and only a smidge of light butter. It”;s a delightful and guilt-free summer dessert staple, coming in at only 135 calories per serving. On the Nutrisystem plan, this Skinny Peach Cobbler counts as one SmartCarb and two Extras.

7. Raspberry Chocolate Mousse Pie >

chocolate dessert recipe

When it comes to decadent, indulgent and healthy summer desserts, anything with the words “;chocolate”; or “;mousse”; easily tops the list. But most chocolaty summer pies are also packed with fat and calories. Fortunately, this light version has all of the decadence without the guilt. The secret ingredient for the creamy, silky goodness of a typical mousse pie is none other than tofu in this recipe! But if you weren”;t the one to be whipping up this dessert, you”;d honestly never know. Top it off with a cup of fresh raspberries to get your antioxidant power, too. A serving of this summer raspberry treat is just 157 calories and counts as one SmartCarb and one PowerFuel.

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8. Skinny Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble >

strawberry rhubarb

If you’re looking for the perfect dessert to bring to a picnic, this is it! Sweet strawberries shine in this Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble that screams summertime and sunshine. You can forget about kneading and rolling out pie dough with this easy dish. Simply make the filling and top it with the stevia-sweetened and gluten free crumble that’s easy as… pie! One serving contains 185.9 calories and counts as one SmartCarb and two Extras.

9. No-Bake Apple Pie Yogurt Parfait >

The Leaf Summer Desserts & Pie Recipes

Don’t feel like turning on the oven to make our Healthy Apple Pie recipe? Not to worry! We’re cooking up a no-bake sweet treat that will keep you cool during the warm summer season. Fresh apples and warm spices are layered with creamy, chilled Greek yogurt for a parfait that’s reminiscent of a fresh-baked slice of pie. A sprinkle of chopped walnuts adds a crunchy texture that’s the cherry on top. At just 186 calories per serving, you can log it into your NuMi journal as one SmartCarb and one PowerFuel.

10. Sweet Potato Pie Nice Cream >

nice cream

While this last recipe isn’t technically a pie, it’s inspired by the flavors of a classic. Plus, when it’s hot outside and the temperatures are soaring, who wants to turn on the oven? A frozen dessert is just what you need on those hot summer days. A Thanksgiving staple unites with a summertime frozen favorite. Imagine your mom’s famous sweet potato pie blended into a creamy, dreamy ice cream. Enjoy pie season even on the hottest of days with this Sweet Potato Pie Nice Cream. Cool down and stay hydrated while digging into fruity, fall flavors! One serving contains 170 calories and counts as one SmartCarb and two Extras on Nutrisystem.

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The post 10 Summer Pie Recipes for a Satisfying Sweet Treat appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com