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3 Go-to healthy recipes for summer

Founder of Nutritious Life (a private nutrition practice in NYC), author of 4 books, Womens Health Mag contributor, tv personality, mom, list maker, & lover of all things green.

Try these three dishes for a scrumptious addition to any summer event; they’ll keep you satisfied and make it easier to walk away from the treats tray.

Summer is the season of indulgent distractions. Sizzling, juicy burgers on the barbie, icy cold cocktails on the beach and brunching with homemade doughnuts. Don’t let your swimsuits scream "aaahhhhh!" Summer socializing need not stress you out. Armed with a few simple go-to recipes, the once daunting barbecue soiree can be transformed into your new, fit best friend.

Let's get something straight: The whole premise of a summer barbecue is to get the 411 from friends and show off your new pedicure. This means no stressful, time-consuming preparations. Everyone does, however, need a few signature dishes they can count on. Try these three dishes for a scrumptious addition to any summer event; they’ll keep you satisfied and make it easier to walk away from the treats tray.

Summer farro salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 10 ounces farro (about 1-1/2 cups dry)
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes (yellow, red or both)
  • 1/4 cup basil, minced
  • 3/4 cup fresh mozzarella, diced into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh black pepper

Serves: 4

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water, farro and salt to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer until the farro is tender (estimate about 30 minutes).
  2. Allow the farro to cool, then add the tomatoes, basil and chunks of sliced mozzarella.
  3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients, pour them over the salad and mix thoroughly to combine.
  4. Finish off with a dusting of fresh pepper, and feel confident that you just concocted something delicious.
This summer farro salad is a refreshing, unique choice that plays on some never-fail flavor combos. Need some more side dishes? Don’t forget how easy vegetables can be to incorporate into a barbecue. Lots of vegetarians love portobello burgers, but sometimes you just need a little more to keep you satisfied. These mushrooms are so delicious, and can be served as a great side dish. Try soaking your portobello caps in balsamic vinegar for a half hour before grilling them. These are such a delicious, unique crowd-pleaser, and at just 30 calories, there really is no downside.

Ginger garlic soy salmon

Photo credit: NSritawat/iStock/360/Getty Images

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 16 ounces wild salmon

Serves: 4

Directions:

  1. Whisk the soy sauce, ginger and garlic together.
  2. Place salmon on aluminum foil and evenly pour marinade over (the longer you let this sit, the more delicious it will be).
  3. Simply wrap up the salmon, and when your guests arrive, throw it on the grill. It should be done within 20-30 minutes depending on how hot the coals are, so check it periodically.
Many people don’t realize that fish can be a great feature in a barbecue menu. It’s not all about dogs and burgers, peeps. This recipe is the absolute easiest to remember, and the aluminum foil is a quick trick that will steam the salmon, yielding a flaky, satisfying dish every time. When its time to eat, just open up the foil, put out a spatula, and have people serve themselves buffet-style. And don’t forget that this is a great option to bring over to a friend's house because it’s so portable. (This can also be a fantastic recipe for any time of the year. Instead of grilling, line a baking pan with parchment paper and bake the fish at 400 degrees F.)

Haddock, cod and halibut are white fishes that can easily be featured in your healthy barbecue too. Simply wrap them in foil with some sliced tomatoes fanned across the top, fresh leaves of basil from your garden or the farmers market, a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper.

Cold fresh corn and shrimp salad

Photo credit: Brian Doben/Photodisc/Getty Images

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2/3 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 ears fresh corn, steamed and removed from cob
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup red bell pepper (raw or roasted)

Serves: 4

Directions:

  1. While heating olive oil in a large skillet, mix the dry spices and garlic with the shrimp.
  2. Cook for 2 minutes on each side over medium heat, then remove and allow time to cool.
  3. Make the dressing by whisking together the fresh lime juice, olive oil, rice vinegar and chili powder.
  4. Combine the shrimp and remaining salad ingredients in a bowl, gently toss the dressing in, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
A fresh corn and shrimp salad is the perfect summery dish that can be prepped ahead of time, is easy to toss into your beach bag and is delicious served either warm or cold.

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