20 Zucchini Recipes to Celebrate Summer Squash Season

20 Zucchini Recipes to Celebrate Summer Squash Season

Summer is peak season for zucchini recipes. This tender green summer squash has a delicate, mild flavor that’s delicious in any form, both cooked and raw. It”;s the perfect veggie for a healthy diet because it blends so well with many other foods. Zucchini is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber, making it the perfect low-calorie ingredient for your weight loss plan. Plus, zucchini is considered a non-starchy vegetable on the Nutrisystem program, so you can eat as much of it as you’d like without worry.

These days, many people are trying zucchini noodles in their recipes, which you can easily make yourself with a handy spiralizer tool. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can also pick them up in the produce or frozen food sections of many grocery stores. “;Zoodles”; make an ideal substitute for standard pasta, which tends to be loaded with unwelcome carbs. This veggielicious alternative to pasta has the same texture and satisfying slurp-ability as other noodles.

To inspire you to take advantage of summer”;s bounty of green squash, we put together this list of our favorite recipes that feature zucchini. It includes whole meals, sides and snacks that are easy to make and just right for hot-weather eating.

Celebrate summer squash season with these 20 healthy zucchini recipes:
1. 3-Step Chicken Zucchini Nuggets >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 1 PowerFuel, ½ Vegetable and ½ Extra

These easy-to-prepare chicken bites are crispy on the outside yet tender and juicy on the inside. They come with a half-serving of vegetables that”;s good for everyone at the table. Don”;t be surprised if these nuggets become a new family favorite!

2. Vegetarian Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 1 PowerFuel, 1 SmartCarb, 2 Vegetables and 1 Extra

Whether you”;d rather not eat meat or just want a meal that”;s filling but won”;t weigh you down, vegetarian meatballs are easy to make and delicious. Pair them with quick-cooking zucchini noodles and you”;ve got a hearty meal that will satisfy the biggest appetite.

3. Zoodle Mac and Cheese with Roasted Veggies >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 1 PowerFuel, 1 Extra and 1 Vegetable

Mac and cheese can be a part of your healthy eating plan when you make it with zucchini noodles and low-fat cheese. We added some flavor and texture variety by tossing in roasted broccoli, onions and sweet potato cubes, but you can make it with any non-starchy veggies you like.

4. Carrot and Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 2 PowerFuels, 2 Vegetables and 2 Extras

Pad Thai may sound exotic, but it”;s a simple dish made with lots of veggies, juicy shrimp, crunchy peanuts and sauce that”;s sweet and as spicy as you like it. To cut down on the calories and excess carbs you get in the takeout variety, we used zoodles, which you can enjoy to your appetite”;s content.

5. Rainbow Vegetable Skewers >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 1 PowerFuel and 1 Extra

Fire up the grill and let the flames bring out the flavors of tender chicken breast and your choice of fresh summer vegetables, including zucchini, onions and potatoes. We gave this dish a tropical flair by including chunks of sweet and juicy pineapple.

6. Italian Lovers Zucchini Boats >

zucchini boats

Counts as: 1 PowerFuel, 1 Extra and 1 Vegetable

Zucchini boat recipes are another popular way to enjoy this non-starchy veggie. Sausage, marinara sauce and ricotta cheese are the makings of a classic Italian dish. Mix them up along with peppers, onions and fragrant seasonings, then load them into zucchini boats for a simple but filling meal.

7. Easy Zucchini Bread >

zucchini bread

Counts as: 1 SmartCarb and 1 Extra

Zucchini bread recipes are a popular way to sneak some veggies into your diet. So many people love this sweet summer classic, so we had to come up with a simpler and healthier way to make it. This version has all the tastes you love–;including honey, cinnamon and nutmeg–;plus applesauce and an egg to ensure it comes out of the oven moist and scrumptious every time.

8. Mega Marinated Roasted Veggies >

roasted veggies

Counts as: 1 Vegetable and 1 Extra

Load up a serving of summer veggies with flavor but not excess calories. Start with coins of zucchini, broccoli florets, chunks of peppers, onions and cherry tomatoes. Marinate them in a simple dressing, then grill or roast them until they begin to brown at the edges and become as sweet as can be.

9. Zucchini Fritters with Soy Dipping Sauce >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 1 Vegetable and 2 Extras

These fritters are like crispy and savory pancakes, only with a healthy serving of vegetables baked right in. Dip them in a quick-and-easy sauce that hits all the flavor buttons, from sweet to salty.

10. Mexican Zucchini Boats >

low carb

Counts as: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel and 1 Vegetable

With this one-dish meal, you can enjoy the zesty flavors of Tex-Mex cuisine without all the fats and excess calories. We scooped out whole zucchini and refilled them with a spicy mixture made with beans, jalapenos, salsa and shredded cheese. Heat them to melt the cheese and tenderize the zucchini, then serve with all the extra salsa you want (it”;s a Free Food).

11. Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Vegetables and Pesto >

zoodles

Counts as: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel and 1 Vegetable

Pesto is easy to make but packs a powerful punch of flavor. We whip it up using farm-fresh basil, protein-rich pistachios and plenty of Parmesan cheese. Toss it with roasted veggies like sweet peppers, artichoke hearts and a hearty serving of zoodles.

12. Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Pasta >

shrimp scampi

Counts as: 1 SmartCarb, 2 PowerFuels and 1 Vegetable

Start with succulent shrimp seasoned with garlic and red pepper flakes to your taste. Add fresh veggies of your choice and serve atop of a steaming serving of tender zucchini noodles ready for twirling. Now you”;ve got a restaurant-worthy meal you can enjoy at home.

13. Air Fryer Sausage, Potatoes and Veggies >

air fryer

Counts as: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel, 1 Extra and 1 Vegetable

The air fryer lets you turn raw ingredients into rich, flavorful meals in minutes. You can forget about piling on extra fats and cleaning up a messy kitchen. This one-dish recipe makes a satisfying breakfast or dinner any day of the week.

14. Zucchini Noodles and Meatballs >

zoodles

Counts as: 1 Nutrisystem Dinner and 2 Vegetables

Are the Meatballs in Marina Sauce from Nutrisystem on your list of favorite meals? Take these protein-rich meatballs to the next level by serving them with a bowl of tender zoodles coated in our savory sauce. “;Spaghetti Night”; has never been so good and good for you.

15. Zucchini Noodles with Chicken and Cheese >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 1 PowerFuel and 3 Vegetables

If you like Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken, you”;re going to love this lighter version. You get plenty of cheese, a serving of protein-packed chicken breast and a pile of zucchini noodles for only 386 calories per serving.

16. Napa Mint Slaw >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: ½ SmartCarb, 1 Vegetable and 1 Extra

Instead of the usual fat-laden summer sides, try this crunchy slaw flavored with a sweet-and-tangy dressing and a spark of fresh mint. It”;s made with napa cabbage, often stocked with the Asian vegetables in supermarkets.

17. Simple Shrimp and Veggies Foil Packet >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 1 SmartCarb, 1 PowerFuel, 1 Vegetable and 2 Extras

Get a taste of a beach vacation in your own kitchen with this easy “;seafood bake.”; Just toss together fresh shrimp, potatoes, zucchini, onions and your favorite herbs. Heat and eat inside crimped and folded foil. Summer eating made easy!

18. Green Zucchini Muffins >

zucchini recipes

Counts as: 1 SmartCarb

Yes, you can enjoy homemade muffins and stay on track with your weight loss plan. These lean, green muffins are moist and lightly sweet but packed with nutrition, featuring applesauce, cinnamon and bananas.

19. 4-Ingredient Stuffed Zucchini Buffalo Boats >

zucchini boats

Counts as: 2 PowerFuels, 2 Vegetables and 1 Extra

Zesty buffalo sauce and the gooey goodness of melted cheese transform simple ground turkey and fresh zucchini into a flavorful meal. It”;s loaded with protein and fiber yet low in calories, so you stay full for hours after you finish.

20. Shrimp and Scallop Kebabs >

zucchini recipes

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

Nothing says summer like summer squash! Throw that summer squash on a kebab and you’ve got the perfect seasonal dish for warm weather and sunshine. These Shrimp and Scallop kebabs pack in the lean protein and fiber-rich veggies for a nutritious dish that satisfies.

The post 20 Zucchini Recipes to Celebrate Summer Squash Season appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

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!

10 Summer Pie Recipes for a Satisfying Sweet Treat

Read More

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!

12 Nutrisystem Frozen Foods Perfect for Your Summer Menu

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com