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10 Summer Favorites Made Lighter

Try these guilt-less versions of beloved warm-weather foods

Pasta Salad

The trick here is dressing your salad with a light vinaigrette or a light creamy dressing. You can easily get away with using a light bottled dressing from the supermarket.

You can also perk up your pasta salad with nutritious veggies like broccoli florets, baby carrots, fresh spinach or basil, artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes, etc., instead of high fat-foods like sausage or regular cheese.

Check out our recipes for Mediterranean pasta salad, seafood pasta salad, insalata caprese, and pesto pasta salad.

Barbecued Ribs

The bad news is that ribs can be pretty fatty pieces of meat. The good news is that you have to work hard to eat a small amount of meat.

The key is to eat a small portion of ribs, and balance it by serving a healthy portion of fruit and green salad alongside. Avoid eating any visible fat, and use a sauce or rub that doesn't pile on any additional fat. One recipe I saw called for 4 tablespoons of butter in the sauce, to serve 8. That's an extra 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter to an already fatty meat!

Check out our spicy grilling rub and peachy tomato grilling sauce recipes for some inspiration.

If you want to go the extra mile, buy "boneless ribs" (this might be called something else at your local butcher shop). Whatever the name, it's a leaner cut of meat that is cut into strips and can be prepared much like beef ribs.

Peach Anything

There's nothing wrong with peaches -- bring 'em on! It's what we do to these naturally sweet tree fruits that can be a problem. Instead of peach pie or peach crisp a la mode, serve your peaches over a small scoop of light ice cream with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon. That will save you tons of calories and fat grams.

Ice Cream Everything

Choices abound in the frozen dairy aisle these days. My advice is to find a "light" flavor you like with no more than 4 to 5 grams of fat per 1/2 cup serving. Compare the calories per serving among different types to make sure your treat isn't higher in sugar to compensate for having less fat.

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