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!

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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

Healthier Comfort Food: 10 Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipes

Healthier Comfort Food: 10 Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipes

This scientific fact is probably not going to surprise you at all: Comfort food is comforting.

In study after study, both animals and humans who eat in response to stress tend to feel less stress, says Evidence for Action. They explain that this comfort eating actually suppresses the chemical stress response–;the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, which is responsible for many of the physical feelings we experience when we”;re stressed out. There is other evidence that certain foods may reduce anxiety and help trigger the production of feel-good brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, says Harvard Health Publishing.

What also won”;t surprise you is that comfort foods tend to be high in fat, refined carbohydrates, salt and sugar, according to Psychoneuroendocrinology. In excess amounts, these can lead to weight gain, particularly around your middle. Almost no one reaches for a sprig of broccoli to calm their nerves!

Mac and cheese ticks all the boxes. Plus, in a survey of over 1,000 people, mac and cheese made the top five list of favorite comfort foods for both men and women, says Treadmill Reviews. Women even rated it above chocolate!

The good news: There are at least 10 ways to make mac and cheese that are healthy, diet-friendly, delicious and comforting. The great news: It”;s easy to make healthier comfort food that won”;t leave you stressing over weight gain and meal prep.

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Here 10 mac and cheese recipes for a healthy comfort food meal:
1. Buffalo Blue Cauliflower Mac and Cheese >

comfort food

Technically, there”;s no “;mac”; in this dish. However, it’s so cheesy and delicious, you won”;t be able to tell. Instead, cauliflower florets swim in a creamy, cheesy, spicy sauce made of fat-free half-and-half, shredded cheddar, blue cheese crumbles, low-fat creamy cheese and spicy buffalo sauce. One serving of this low carb mac and cheese recipe is only 169 calories and counts as one PowerFuel, one Vegetable and two Extras.

2. Zoodle Mac and Cheese with Roasted Veggies >

comfort food

No mac to be found here either! We replace the pasta with low carb by spiralized zucchini. If you don”;t have your own spiralizer, many stores now sell packaged spiralized veggies in the produce or frozen food sections! The roasted veggies include broccoli, bell pepper, red onion and sweet potato. It”;s all tossed together with a sauce made from a wheat flour and light butter roux, nonfat milk, vegetable broth and reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese. This dish is only 156 calories per serving and counts as one PowerFuel, one Vegetable and one Extra.

3. Bacon Jalapeno Cauliflower Mac And Cheese >

comfort food

Cauliflower may be the star of this show but turkey bacon and jalapeno definitely play best supporting roles! We serve it up in a creamy mix of low-fat cheddar and cream cheese You”;ll never miss the macaroni in this flavorful and easy-to-make casserole. It”;s only 178 calories per serving and counts as one PowerFuel, one Extra and half of a Vegetable serving.

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4. Beefy Mac and Cheese >

comfort food

We do half of the work for you in this easy, cheesy recipe! Order a package of Nutrisystem Frozen Mac and Cheese and heat according to the package’s directions. Then brown up three ounces of lean ground beef, mix and enjoy! It”;s that simple. One serving is 326 calories and counts as one Nutrisystem entrée and one PowerFuel.

5. Buffalo Mac and Cheese >

comfort food

There is no easier recipe than this one! It starts with Nutrisystem White Cheddar Mac and Cheese to which you add two ounces of prepared rotisserie chicken and one teaspoon of buffalo hot sauce. That”;s it! Count this spicy mac as one Nutrisystem Lunch and one PowerFuel.

6. Cauliflower Mac and Cheese >

cauliflower mac and cheese

You can create a creamy, dreamy bowl of cauliflower with just six simple ingredients. Even better, you probably already have them all in your kitchen! This comfort food recipe starts again with cauliflower, everyone”;s favorite macaroni substitute. We bake it in a sauce made from almond milk and low-fat cheddar cheese, seasoned with garlic powder and pepper. One serving is 114 calories and counts as one PowerFuel, one Vegetable and one Extra.

7. Broccoli, Bacon Mac and Cheese Cups >

mac and cheese muffins

These little mac and cheese muffins are perfect to carry to work for lunch! They start with a package of Nutrisystem White Cheddar Mac and Cheese and feature turkey bacon and broccoli (or your favorite non-starchy vegetable). Simply pour your mac mixture in muffin cups, top them with panko breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. What could be easier? Plus, they”;re only 278 calories per serving and count as one PowerFuel, one SmartCarb and one Extra.

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8. Creamy Veggie Mac and Cheese >

comfort food

The very versatile Nutrisystem White Cheddar Mac and Cheese is easily tweaked to become a delicious, veggie-centric meal. This recipe calls for spinach and cherry tomatoes. However, you can add whatever non-starchy veggie strikes your fancy. Count this dish as one Nutrisystem Lunch and one Vegetable. One serving is only 236 calories.

9. Green Mac and Cheese >

comfort food

You don”;t have to wait for St. Patrick”;s Day to enjoy this green dish! It combines broccoli and zucchini with whole grain elbow macaroni in a creamy sauce made from almond milk, reduced fat white cheddar cheese and spinach. One serving is only 290 calories and counts as one SmartCarb, one PowerFuel, one Vegetable and one Extra.

10. Crabby Mac and Cheese >

crab mac and cheese

Crab plus mac and cheese? On a diet? You heard us right! Plus, this healthy recipe is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Start with a package of Nutrisystem Mac and Cheese as the healthy shortcut. We then add two ounces of crab meat and top with Parmesan cheese before baking. Decadent? Yes,. However, you deserve it. One serving is only 288 calories and counts as one Nutrisystem Dinner, one PowerFuel and one Extra.

Looking for more comfort food made healthy (and easy)? Learn more about the Nutrisystem meal delivery service! >

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The post Healthier Comfort Food: 10 Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipes appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

10 Tips for a Healthy Home Cookout

10 Tips for a Healthy Home Cookout

We may not be able to gather in ballparks or big groups yet, but summer is coming. Whether your area is still on lockdown or starting to loosen restrictions, you can always enjoy a healthy cookout in the comfort of your own home. Memorial Day isn’t canceled and warm weather has arrived. Take your social distancing to the backyard and whip up some nutritious and delicious food that fits into your Nutrisystem plan.

In many places, smaller gatherings are going to be allowed with proper social distancing. Depending on the regulations where you live, these small, at-home gatherings are going to be more important than ever–;reconnecting, in person, with loved ones for Memorial Day or weekends beyond. With the right recipes and meal idea ideas, it can also be a satisfying, delicious way to boost your immunity and keep pushing towards your weight loss goals. We put together these 10 tips for making your at-home cookout a healthy reunion.

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Here are 10 easy tips for a healthy backyard barbecue:
1. Don”;t starve yourself before the cookout.

healthy breakfast

We”;ve all done it–;skipping meals before a big event to “;save up”; calories for the party spread. But when you”;re trying to lose weight, this can backfire. You can get so hungry that you wind up eating even more than your planned “;splurge.”;

Keep yourself from going so far overboard–;and from showing up hangry–;by keeping your blood sugar stable. Eat your prescribed Nutrisystem foods and snacks before the party and save any SmartCarbs or PowerFuels to go with your cookout meal. The fiber, protein and healthy fats in your normal meals will keep you from being too hungry, so you can measure portions of your cookout favorites and stay on track.

2. Start by filling half of your plate with veggies.

cookout grilled veggies

Less than 10 percent of Americans get their recommended daily servings of vegetables, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They explain that eating two to three cups per day can reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and yes, obesity.

By eating an abundance of vegetables, you”;re getting a lot of water with your food. Eating water-rich foods means that you can have more volume for less calories. This can ultimately help you lose weight. According to Science Daily, Penn State research discovered that “women who added water-rich foods to their diets lost more weight during the first six months of the study than those who only reduced fat in their diets.”

So, start with the veggies and use the grill to make them even more delicious! Get some Leaf-approved tips for grilling tomatoes, mushrooms and greens for even more flavor by clicking here! >

3. Find tasty, low-calorie side dish recipes on the Leaf.

home cookout

A “;healthy”; cookout doesn”;t mean the food is boring–;it should be just the opposite! The Leaf Weight Loss Blog is your source for keeping things deliciously diet-friendly. Spice up your coleslaw game with sweet options like this Broccoli Slaw with Cranberries and Lime or a fiery, crunchy bowl of this Spicy Peanut Slaw. Or go cucumber crazy: Whip up some of this five-star rated Cucumber Dill Dip or a bowl of this Zesty Cucumber and Dill Salad.

Find more recipes like these healthy cookout sides right here! >

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4. Tackle your cravings head-on.

cookout cravings

Now that your plate features some veggies, get down to business. Identify the cookout food you”;re craving most and dish out a healthy, measured portion. That”;s advice straight from our Nutrisystem registered dietitians: If you”;re really craving a food, you should eat it. Denying yourself a small piece of a favorite pie or a slice of cheese on your burger won”;t make the craving go away–;it will more likely lead you to graze on other fare, unsatisfied. It”;s better to have a portion you can measure and enjoy, so you can calm your cravings and stay on track.

Click here for more surprising weight loss tips from our health experts! >

5. Keep the calories on your plate, not in your glass.

cookout recipes

Sugary beverages are thought to be a big part of the obesity epidemic in America: From 1977 to the year 2001, Americans increased their daily consumption of sweetened beverages “from 50 to 144 calories per day, says The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Over the course of a year, that could add up to over 50,000 extra calories!

Keep your calories down and the flavor up with something summery and fun that features fruit: Try one of these refreshing summer mocktails! > If you”;re a beer drinker, choose one that satisfies for fewer calories–;like one of these 10 low-calorie beers that actually taste good. >

6. No grill? No problem! Pan sear your meat for a crisp crust worthy of the grill.

cookout recipes

If your go-to grill move typically involves heading to a local park, you may not have a grill in your backyard. However, you can get the same flavors you love inside by pan searing your meat to perfection.

Brush a cast iron skillet with oil and turn the burner on high. Make sure to turn on the exhaust fan so your smoke alarm doesn”;t go off! Brush a small amount of olive oil on each side of the steak and season liberally with salt and pepper. Once the pan is hot, cook the steak for 90 seconds to two minutes on each side. Then transfer the steak–;in the pan–;to the oven to bake at 325 degrees for five to seven minutes until medium-rare.

7. Marinate meat to fight cancer.

marinated meat

When you grill meat, compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are created, according to Natural Medicine Journal. HCAs are considered carcinogens and are said to increase the risk of a cancer. However, marinating your meat in herb-infused mixtures, especially ones including rosemary, can decrease the formation of HCAs on your grill by up to 70 percent.

Try this simple, rosemary marinade for beef: Mix a half-cup of red wine vinegar, two tablespoons olive oil, a quarter-cup of chopped rosemary, two crushed garlic cloves and salt and pepper to taste. Marinate the meat for at least an hour, then drain and cook.

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8. Grill some fruit for a sweet, surprising dessert.

grilled peaches

Grilled watermelon, pineapple, peaches and plums are bursting with flavor: The grilling caramelizes their natural sugar, so the foods taste even sweeter. These delicious and refreshing fruits are packed with fiber and immunity-boosting vitamins. Plus, they are much lower in calories than the sad, melting fare you”;ll usually find at a cookout”;s dessert table.

Get grilling tips for a variety of different fruits right here on The Leaf! Check out this guide for 10 fruits that taste even better grilled. >

9. Don”;t focus just on the food!

cookout recipes

Sure, it”;s a “;cookout,”; and burgers and dogs are delicious. However, it”;s not the reason everyone”;s together. We”;re finally able to get together. So, have a plate and make sure it satisfies. Sit down, take your time and concentrate on the flavors and textures of these delicious cookout foods. In a recent study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers looked at the eating habits of 60,000 people. They found that eating slowly can decrease the risk of obesity.

When you”;re finished eating your healthy barbecue meal, put your focus on those around you. We”;ve all been apart so long that this could be easier than ever. But make a point of remembering: This event is about food, yes, but it”;s really about being together. So be present and be together (even if it”;s six feet apart)!

10. Have a plan for the food and the leftovers.

cookout recipes

In most places, the number of people who can gather will be limited in the coming months. Keep this in mind as you shop and cook: You only need enough food for 10 or less people, not for the normal 20 or 30!

But if spreading out a smorgasbord is in your cultural DNA, have a plan in place for the aftermath. Before guests arrive, figure out how many portions of each type of dish you can plan to add to your eating schedule in the following days. If there”;s a favorite dessert, salad or entree you”;re making, think about when it can fit into your plan. Keep the correct number of pre-measured portions for yourself and your family when guests leave. Then have containers ready for others to take the rest of the leftovers home with them. You”;ll have pre-measured treats that fit your lifestyle, and less temptation to pull you off your plan in the days following the fete.

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The post 10 Tips for a Healthy Home Cookout appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

10 Superfoods That Help You Lose Fat

10 Superfoods That Help You Lose Fat

Superfoods have earned their stellar reputation as superstars of the food world by being nutritionally dense and rich in nutrients. But what if those foods could help you to lose weight and belly fat in addition to delivering their powerful nutritional benefits? The good news is that many of them do!

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Here are 10 superfoods to add to your diet for their nutritional and weight loss benefits:
1. Jalapeno Peppers

lose fat healthy superfoods for weight loss

Jalapeno peppers are rich in minerals and nutrients, making them a surprising superfood that many people don”;t think of. It”;s the alkaloid capsaicin in jalapenos that gives them their spicy flavor and is also responsible for their potential weight loss benefits. According to Bioscience Reports, capsaicin is correlated with a decreased risk of obesity. It”;s been shown to increase fat oxidation and energy expenditure in study subjects. If you love all things spicy, then jalapenos will be a welcomed superfood to try.

Whip up these Jalapeno Poppers for a fun snack to attack cravings. Learn five more surprising benefits of spicy food here! >

2. Salmon

salmon healthy superfood for weight loss

Packed with omega-3 fatty acids and protein, salmon”;s nutritional benefits help make it a superfood. Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of cardiac problems. Eating salmon regularly may also help speed up weight loss for men, according to a study in the International Journal of Obesity. Many salmon recipes also happen to be relatively low in calories, making it a lean option that can be prepared in many delicious ways. Check out these mouthwatering salmon recipes. >

3. Spinach

lose fat healthy superfoods for weight loss

Loaded with nutrients, dark leafy greens like spinach provide essential vitamins for to skin, bone and immune system health benefits, says Healthline. Spinach is also incredibly nutrient dense. A cup of raw spinach has just seven calories but provides more than 56 percent of your recommended daily allowance for vitamin A and all of your daily vitamin K, says Healthline. On top of all that, researchers at Lund University in Sweden found that spinach boosted weight loss by 43 percent and reduced food cravings by up to 95 percent. This Creamy Spinach Stuffed Chicken recipe is an easy way to fit spinach into a Flex meal.

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4. Pomegranate

lose fat healthy superfoods for weight loss

Pomegranates are rich in vitamin C, potassium and fiber and are thought to help with heart disease and cancer prevention, says Healthline. While there”;s a lot of focus on pomegranate juice–;which does have more antioxidants than individual seeds–;eating the seeds whole gives you the benefit of fiber and added vitamins and minerals. Fiber can help keep you full longer and support weight loss. A study, published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, found that giving obese and insulin resistant mice pomegranate seed oil for 12 weeks decreased body weight, body fat and improved peripheral insulin sensitivity.

Embrace those pomegranate benefits! There are some really great ways to fit pomegranates into your day. Get inspired by these delicious recipes. >

5. Almonds

almonds healthy superfood for weight loss

With lots of nutrients delivered with a satisfying crunch, almonds make a “;superfood snack”; or a great addition to meals. They can easily be tossed into salads, cereals and yogurt or incorporated into cooking. A study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found a link between daily almond consumption and weight loss–;specifically belly fat. On the Nutrisystem plan, almonds are a PowerFuel, which are foods that offer high-quality proteins while also containing essential amino acids and healthy fats.

6. Flax Seeds

lose fat healthy superfoods

Flax seeds are a nutrient-dense and fiber-rich “;superseed.”; Flax seed recipes are usually easy to make and are packed with superfood benefits. They can be tossed into a variety of dishes to ramp up their nutrition power. Flax seed also contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, says Healthline. This helps to ensure healthy and gradual digestion that keeps you fuller longer. It is this digestive superpower that is likely to help assist with weight loss.

9 Seeds You Need to Be Eating

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7. Blueberries

lose fat healthy superfoods

While most berries are good for you and can be considered superfoods, blueberries are said to be one of the best, particularly when it comes to their ability to help you lose stubborn belly fat. According to the University of Michigan, research shows that blueberries may help to burn belly fat because of their high antioxidant content.

While blueberries are tasty to eat on their own, there are also many great ways to cook or bake with them to increase your consumption. The naturally sweet goodness of blueberries makes them a healthy alternative to many sugar-laden desserts–;a common healthy diet downfall. Be sure to check out these 10 reasons you need to eat more fruit like blueberries! >

8. Avocado

avocado healthy superfood

Here at The Leaf, we love avocados! Avocados are rich in potassium as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are “;healthy fats”; essential to a weight loss plan. That”;s because your body needs fat to help you feel full and satisfied after eating, to provide quick-burning energy and to aid in the absorption of vitamins and minerals that you consume. As a “;whole food”; source of healthy fat, avocados have that power. People who regularly eat avocados have significantly lower body weight, BMI (body mass index), and waist circumference, and higher HDL (good cholesterol levels) than people who don”;t eat the fruit, according to a study published in Nutrition Journal.

There are many great ways to use avocado that you may never have thought of. It can be a healthy substitute for mayo, a topping for salads, a baking ingredient for cookies or brownies and even a base for pudding. It”;s creamy texture and versatile nature help it to shine as a superfood to help you lose fat. Here are more superfood facts about avocados! >

9. Black Beans

lose fat healthy superfoods

Black beans are packed with potent plant-based nutrients that are believed to help protect against cancer, says Medical News Today. They”;re also an inexpensive and easy-to-cook-with food that can be incorporated into many different dishes. For those looking to drop some pounds and lose fat, some of the best news is that consuming beans was linked to “;reduced body fat percentage”; in a study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Another study, published in BMC Proceedings, shows that certain compounds in the beans might help to strengthen the body”;s insulin resistance and protect against obesity.

How to Eat More Beans

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10. Apples

lose fat healthy superfoods

As the saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But what if it could keep the pounds away, too? Apples are rich in weight-loss-friendly fiber and help slow the digestion of food. This helps you to feel fuller with fewer calories. For these reasons, they can definitely play a vital role in your efforts to lose fat.

Apples are one of the most versatile fruits, with so many different ways to cook and prepare them. Try them out in this unique Instant Pot Apple Cake. Of course, apples are also delicious and nutritious all on their own or sliced with peanut butter. Check out this awesome video from The Leaf and learn five reasons to eat more apples! >

The post 10 Superfoods That Help You Lose Fat appeared first on The Leaf.

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