The California State Fair began this week, and I am reluctantly anticipating the abominable food creations that soon will inevitably be waved before me. While summer does bring such tortuous temptations as salty chocolate-covered bacon and deep fried cheesecake on a stick, it fortunately presents many delectable healthy treats as well. Summer is hands-down my favorite season for produce–I cannot get enough of the succulent nectarines and peaches, the sweet, sun-ripened strawberries, the cherries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. . . All of which bring memories of hot, lazy evenings lying in the grass at the Davis Farmer’s Market with the sounds of a local folk band in the background.
Sweet summer fruits lend one simple option for a tasty, healthy summer treat. Here are some other ideas for a nutritious way to chill out on a hot day.
1. Nonfat Greek Yogurt with Fresh Strawberries
What do you get when you combine sweet Summer strawberries with tart Greek yogurt? A cool, low-cal treat that’s just as good as a sundae. I prefer using the tart plain variety, however the vanilla or honey types would be great as well.
2. Miniature Ice Cream Cups and Bars
I love how many brands are coming out with sized-down versions of their original products. I have an incredible weakness for ice cream (especially Ben and Jerry’s!), so when it comes to this desert, portion control is key. Miniature ice cream cups and mini ice cream bars offer an option for those of us who have difficulty scooping out 1/2 cup of ice cream themselves.
Pictured: Above, left Haagen Daz Mango Sorbet, Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough and Peanut Brittle; Above, right The Skinny Cow Caramel Truffle Bar, Trader Joe’s Cafe Latte and Cream Bar.
3. Ice Cold Watermelon
Really, what more classic fruit is there to chomp down on during a hot summer day? A cup of this thirst-quenching fruit provides a cool dose of vitamins C, A, B1 and B6, all packed into a measly 48 calories. Also, did you know that watermelon is the state vegetable of Oklahoma? Vegetable?
4. Sun Tea. . . With Fancy Flavors
Perhaps this works better in our part of the state, where you could probably literally fry an egg on the sidewalk (I haven’t tried yet… experiment?), but I really do love making sun tea. Place a tea bag in a mason jar full of water, set it in a sunny part of the porch, and forget about it for a while. Spice your sunny tea up with some fancy flavors — how about some honey and freshly grated ginger? Or a couple chunks of watermelon and fresh mint leaves? Orange zest and fresh raspberries?
5. Banana Pops
My excessive viewing of old Arrested Development episodes in the recent weeks leaves me no choice but to list the frozen banana as an option. Bananas can be cut in half, fitted with a popsicle stick, frozen, then dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with chopped nuts. See this recipe from the Food Network .
6. Graham Cracker “Ice Cream Sandwiches”
While graham crackers and Cool Whip may not be my first ingredient choices, they can come together to make a low calorie ice cream sandwich treat. Simply sandwich two tablespoons of Lite Cool Whip between two squares (one cracker sheet) of chocolate graham crackers and freeze for a yummy 100-calorie snack.
7. Remember Those 8 Glasses of Water!
Oddly enough, it’s easy to forget to drink water when you’re surrounded by it–i.e. at a lake or the ocean. Running around in the heat is a perfect recipe for dehydration (double that if you’re sipping beers at the beach). Keep a water bottle with you, and remember to sip on it throughout the day.
What’s your favorite healthy summer treat? I’d love to hear!