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Healthy summer eating made easy

Posted: August 31, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 31, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Strawberry banana parfait

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Warm weather is synonymous with trips to the beach, baseball games and summer vacations. While enjoying these outings, you may find yourself tempted by hot dogs, ice cream and other summer indulgences.

A busy schedule, combined with tempting summer treats, could throw off your healthy eating routine. Registered Dietitian Robin Kline, MS, RD, CCP, offers three simple tips for how to stay healthy throughout the season.

“Planning ahead is your best strategy to stay on track for great summertime eating,” Kline said. “Whether it’s visiting the farmers market for fresh, seasonal produce or packing healthy snacks for on-the-go, being prepared results in smart eating.”

Think simple. No one wants to spend time in a hot kitchen preparing meals on a nice summer day. Finding quick, healthy meal options that can be prepared in 20 minutes or less will provide you with more time to spend outdoors enjoying the warm weather. A healthy salad that contains a rainbow of nutrients is easy to prepare and helps you avoid turning on the oven.

Think fresh. Many delicious fruits are in season during the summer, including peaches, berries and melons. Fresh fruits are naturally sweet, a good source of vitamins and are easy for on-the-go eating. Eat them alone as a snack, blend into a smoothie or create a breakfast parfait with berries, granola and cottage cheese.

Think healthy. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that the amount of protein needed in the average American diet depends on gender, age and level of physical activity, but recommends selecting a variety of lean sources of protein.

Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids are a good lean protein source, while cottage cheese and legumes are great options for adding variety. Cottage cheese is a versatile option that can be incorporated into a number of different recipes. Daisy Brand Low Fat Cottage Cheese is 100-percent natural, with only four ingredients, a good source of calcium, lower in sodium than many other brands and an excellent source of protein with 14 grams per half-cup serving.

By following these few easy tips, you can enjoy summer with the peace of mind that you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The following recipes are great starters for summertime foods. Visit www.DaisyBrand.com/CottageCheese for more information and recipe ideas.

Strawberry banana parfait
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4

1     banana, cut in chunks
1     tablespoon lime juice
1     cup strawberries, quartered
1/4     cup honey
1/4     cup toasted walnuts, chopped
2     cups Daisy Brand Cottage Cheese

Toss banana with lime juice in a small bowl.
Mix bananas with strawberries, honey and walnuts.
Spoon mixture into parfait glasses.
Top each glass with 1/2 cup of cottage cheese.

Strawberry, spinach and cottage cheese salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

6     ounces baby spinach
1/4     cup green onions, sliced
1/2     cup light raspberry vinaigrette
1     cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/4     cup walnuts, chopped
2     cups Daisy Brand Cottage Cheese

Toss spinach and green onions with vinaigrette; divide evenly onto four salad plates.
Top each salad with strawberries and walnuts. Spoon cottage cheese over spinach mixture and serve.

Black bean nachos
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 8

1     cup Daisy Brand Cottage Cheese
1/4     cup Daisy Brand Sour Cream
3     dashes hot sauce to taste
1/2     teaspoon cumin
4     cups pita chips
1     15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1     cup reduced fat Mexican cheese blend, shredded
1/2     cup green onions, chopped
1     medium tomato, chopped

Mix cottage cheese, sour cream, hot sauce and cumin in small bowl; set aside. Layer pita chips evenly on two large microwave-safe plates.
Top each plate with half of the beans and shredded cheese.
Microwave one plate on high for one minute or until cheese is melted.
Drop half of cottage cheese mixture by spoonfuls over melted cheese on nachos.
Top with half of chopped green onions and tomato.
Repeat with second plate.

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