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10 Summer Favorites Made Lighter

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


Light hot dogs are available in just about every supermarket. Some taste better than others, I'll tell you that right now.

My family likes Ball Park Light Franks, and Reduced Fat Hebrew Nationals. I don't mind Louis Rich franks, either, if they're on the barbecue. I'm so used to light hot dogs that the idea of a regular hot dog just isn't appealing. But then that's just me.

Barbecued Chicken

I'm used to working with skinless chicken breasts and thighs. And I've found if you marinate or sauce your skinless chicken, it tends to do well on the grill. It will stay moist on the inside.

It doesn't make sense to me to take such care to flavor the skin, and then peeling the skin off before you eat it. Better to flavor the actual meat and grill it the way you are going to eat it!

Many people grill their chicken over indirect heat (off to the side on the barbecue) so it doesn't get that hot flame and the flare-ups that can ensue when the chicken is directly above the coals or flame.

One great option to grilling chicken is to use the skewer. When you use bite-size pieces of skinless, boneless chicken, it spends less time over the coals -- and more of the surface area gets coated with the lovely (and, we hope, not high-fat) marinade or sauce.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Journal as: 1 teaspoon chocolate spread + 1 portion fresh fruit
OR 1 portion medium dessert

You've basically got two ingredients to work with here: chocolate and strawberries. The only way to lighten this is to use a little less chocolate per strawberry, and use a little canola oil (higher in preferable monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids) instead of shortening. I like to use semisweet chocolate because its strong flavor means you can get by with less chocolate.

About 40 fresh strawberries with leaves (dry, not wet), about 2 pounds
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (about 9 ounces)
2 teaspoons canola oil

  • Add chocolate chips and canola oil to a 4-cup glass measure and heat on HIGH in microwave for about 1 minute. Stir, and microwave another 30 seconds or so, if needed, until mixture is smooth.
  • Holding strawberries by the green tops, dip them halfway into the chocolate mixture. Place them on a plate or pan lined with wax or parchment paper. Put in the refrigerator or a cool part of your kitchen to help chocolate cool. Serve.

Yield: 10 servings (about 4 strawberries each)

Per serving (about 4 strawberries): 164 calories, 2 g protein, 24 g carbohydrate, 8.5 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 3 g monounsaturated fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3.2 g fiber, 4 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 44%.

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