75 Ways to Start Your Summer Off Light
Beat the heat with our first summer tip: Give Ice Pops a Grown-Up Spin.
A grown-up ice pop, just in time for summer: It’s made from fresh melon, chile, and lime—both juice and rind. A bit of pectin helps keep all the ingredients incorporated evenly; without it, they tend to separate.
For general cooler packing, here are a few tips. Pack raw meats, fish, and produce sealed in plastic bags on the bottom. Next layer in produce, dairy, eggs, and perishable condiments. Save space by packing just what you think you’ll need. And remember to fill the cooler all the way up; the ice will melt faster if it’s full of room-temperature air.
If you store your cooler in a hot garage, bring it inside the night before so you can start with a cooled-off vessel. Use solid ice or reusable gel-filled ice packs on the bottom, pack food, then fill in the gaps with bags of cubed ice. Once it’s packed and ready, stow in the trunk, away from light, and put a blanket or sleeping bag around it for extra insulation.
Peel 1 cucumber and mash; place in a strainer to drain water. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and mix well. Apply on your face and leave for 10 minutes, then wash with cold water.
Instead, stick with one flavor and get a variety of flavor and textures from our Monkey Business topping combination.
Between meals, most kids get hungry as wolves, and snacking is an important energy bridge. Snacking ought to be healthy, but it still needs to have the crunch, chew, and bright flavors of a real treat. Homemade snacks are great. But sometimes packaged snacks trump everything. We taste-tested our way to the best Kid-Friendly Snacks.
- Best String Cheese Winner: Stringsters Reduced-Fat Mozzarella String Cheese
- Best Cheese Cracker Winner: Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers Made with Whole Grain
- Best Fruit Puree Winner: Peter Rabbit Organics Pear and Apple Pure Fruit Snack
Transport on ice. Food should be chilled and packed in a cooler with ice or ice packs to keep them cold while they travel.
Heat just before taking. If you're bringing a baked dish, it can be cooked the day before. Reheat just before heading out; wrap the hot container in a towel, and tote carefully to the picnic.
Serve—then stow. Once folks have gone through the line and served themselves, put chilled dishes back in the cooler to keep them cold. Anyone who wants seconds can dig back into the cooler.
Use the two-hour/one-hour rule. Don’t let food sit out for more than two hours (or one hour if it’s a hot day over 90 degrees).
Toss the leftovers. The food will have been handled a lot, and possibly will have been sitting out for a while.
For tasty picnic ideas, see our Portable 4th of July Menu.
Happy Hour Frozen Margarita vs. our Classic, on the Rocks
A regular happy hour frozen margarita is around 12 ounces and weighs in at 410 calories (56% coming from sugar). Our lightened version is 130 calories for a 6-ounce portion with just 14% coming from sugar.
The Cooking Light Margarita:
1 ounce premium or silver tequila, 1/2 ounce Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur, 1.5 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice. Shake with 3/4 cup ice; garnish with lime.
Mix ¼ cup lime juice, 1 tablespoon honey, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon salt in a bowl. Add 3 cups diced seeded melon (use any ripe melon or combination of melons you like), 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, and 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced. Toss gently to combine; cover and chill until ready to serve.
Strawberry Sorbet (1/2 cup)
0 milligrams calcium
0 grams protein
Strawberry Nonfat Frozen Yogurt (1/2 cup)
150 milligrams calcium
4 grams protein
2 tablespoons pineapple + 2 tablespoons mango + 1 tablespoon shredded coconut; 50 calories
See more Healthy Frozen Yogurt Toppings.
All start with smart supermarket choices—precooked eggs, canned or jarred tuna, rotisserie chickens, and steamed lump crabmeat. All these meals are also ideal for people who live in dorm rooms or other small spaces without full kitchens. For cool ideas see our lineup of No-Cook Meals.
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes + 1/4 cup fresh spinach + 1 ounce goat cheese
Don't run out of ways to top your summer burgers. Check out more 100-Calorie Burger Toppings.
Sweet lemon verbena is a calling card of the summer season, making our recipe for Lemon Verbena Ice Cream a surefire hit.
If ice cream's fat content gives you cold feet, choose a light version; the fat tally drops to four grams and the calories to 125. If the coffee drink is your preferred choice, try it with skim milk to knock off 30 calories and all the fat.
A salad in a supporting role is always a safe choice, but what about when you want a plate of greens to take center stage? To that we say, double the greens and dressing, pick your favorite 100-Calorie Salad Booster, then add extra protein (see bulleted list below) for a super salad supper that clocks in under 400 calories.
- Flank steak (3 ounces broiled): 375 calories
- Chicken breast (3 ounces roasted): 360 calories
- Shrimp (¼ pound grilled): 345 calories
Our scoop stats per ½ cup: 150 calories; 5 grams fat (3 grams saturated) and no partially hydrogenated oils; less than 4 teaspoons (17g) sugar
Check out the Best Light Scoops of Summer.
Take 2 tablespoons oatmeal and 1 tablespoon baking soda and add water to make paste. Apply to face and all over the skin; rub gently and rinse.
Mash half of a ripe banana; combine banana with ½ cup of plain yogurt and 1 tablespoon of honey. Apply this pack on face and neck and leave for 10 minutes; rinse thoroughly. This natural pairing helps moisturize dry skin.
New research found that dieters who eat more protein earlier in the day lost more weight, were less hungry, and were more satisfied with their diet. In another study, dieters who ate an egg breakfast instead of a bagel meal lost 65% more weight and belly fat. Try loading morning eggs with veggies like our Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce with Onions and Peppers.
This seasonal fruit shines, no matter how you prepare it. But, if you’re looking to quench your thirst at a summertime happy hour, our Sparkling Peach Sangria can’t be beat.