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Don't let the summer slump ruin your weight loss progress! These meals will boost your metabolism and keep you full so you're not feeling snacky all day ;)




Here are two scenarios in which my clients engage for the summer - they either use the summer to organize their health, set up meal plans and be active outdoors. Or, they plan on that, but wind up putting all their health goals on hold while at the beach and many social functions.


I've got you...you can enjoy summer while losing weight.


Firstly, take advantage of the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables for summer weight loss

Summer is the peak season for a variety of produce such as berries, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and leafy greens. These foods are not only low in calories but also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are vital for overall health. Aim for at least 5 servings per day.


Quench Your Thirst Without the Calories!

Hydration is another crucial aspect of summer health. With higher temperatures and increased outdoor activities, it's essential to stay well-hydrated. While water is the best choice, you can also hydrate with foods that have high water content. Fruits like watermelon, strawberries, and cantaloupe, as well as vegetables like cucumbers and zucchini, are excellent choices to help keep you hydrated. Additionally, homemade smoothies and chilled soups can be refreshing and nutritious options to beat the heat.


See my full list of dietitian-approved mock-tails HERE.


Grill Your Way to Healthy Cooking Success!

Summer is perfect for outdoor cooking, particularly grilling, which can be a healthy cooking method when done right. Grilling enhances the flavor of lean proteins such as chicken, fish, and tofu without the need for excessive oils or heavy sauces. Pairing grilled proteins with fresh vegetable salads or whole grains creates balanced meals that are both satisfying and nutritious. Remember to use marinades and seasonings that are low in added sugars and sodium to keep your meals healthy. I like to grill a bunch of vegetables so I can use them in salads, sandwiches, wraps and sides during the week.


Keep it Cool!

Don't forget easy egg, tuna, and chicken salads along with beans and grains for a cold salad. Pairing protein with a high-fiber grain plus a vegetable or fruit, makes a great cool meal on a hot day! (High fiber grains, like quinoa, barley, buckwheat, bulgar wheat or wheat berries.)

Need some tuna inspiration? Check out my article HERE.


Here's a cheatsheet of some foods to keep on hand in the summer!


Proteins

High-Fiber Starches

Summer Fruits

Summer Vegetables

Chicken (& rotisserie/canned/frozen unbreaded strips), fish (including canned tuna/salmon/sardines), turkey (including deli), tofu, natural soy/edamame, Greek yogurt, Cottage cheese, nuts & nut butters (1/4 cup & 1 Tbsp are portions, respectively), Milk (cow and soy), Eggs, low fat cheeses (including string cheese & ricotta), beans

Barley, bulgar wheat, buckwheat, brown rice/pasta, farro, wheat berries, whole grain cereal, oats, whole wheat breads

Apricots, bananas, cherries, figs, lemons, limes, mangos, nectarines, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon, blueberries, blackberries

Asian pear, basil, beets, bell peppers, butter lettuce, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, grape tomatoes, green beans, honeydew melons, okra, summer squash, tomatillos, and zucchini


Tired of yo-yo dieting? Do you want to lose weight for good the healthy way? Learn to eat & exercise for your changing hormones & ditch guilt around food in my habit-based group coaching program, Ditch the Diets.




Here are 10 easy, healthy summer meal ideas to fill you up and keep you slim this summer!


1. Black Bean and Corn Salad with Grilled Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked black beans (15g protein, 15g fiber)

  • 1/2 cup grilled corn kernels (2g protein, 2g fiber)

  • 10 medium grilled shrimp (about 18g protein)

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced (1g fiber)

  • 1/2 avocado, diced (10g fiber)

  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Grill the shrimp until fully cooked.

  2. In a large bowl, combine black beans, grilled corn, red bell pepper, avocado, red onion, and cilantro.

  3. Add the grilled shrimp to the bowl.

  4. Drizzle with lime juice and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Toss everything together and serve cold.


2. Turkey and Veggie Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients:

  • 4 large lettuce leaves

  • 1 cup ground turkey, cooked (22g protein)

  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots (1g fiber)

  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber (0.5g fiber)

  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper (1g fiber)

  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions

  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar

  • 1 tsp sesame oil

  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Cook the ground turkey until fully browned.

  2. In a bowl, mix the cooked turkey with shredded carrots, cucumber, red bell pepper, and green onions.

  3. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil, and mix well.

  4. Spoon the mixture onto lettuce leaves and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  5. Wrap the lettuce around the filling and enjoy.


3. Greek Chickpea Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (15g protein, 12g fiber)

  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber (0.5g fiber)

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (1g fiber)

  • 1/4 cup diced red onion

  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, sliced (1g fiber)

  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (4g protein)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and olives.

  2. Add crumbled feta cheese.

  3. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, and sprinkle with dried oregano, salt, and pepper.

  4. Toss everything together and serve chilled.


4. Quinoa and Edamame Buddha Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (4g protein, 2.5g fiber)

  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame (8g protein, 4g fiber)

  • 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage (1g fiber)

  • 1/2 cup grated carrot (1g fiber)

  • 1/2 avocado, sliced (10g fiber)

  • 1/4 cup sliced radishes

  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar

  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Instructions:

  1. Cook the quinoa and edamame according to package instructions.

  2. In a bowl, layer the quinoa, edamame, shredded cabbage, grated carrot, avocado slices, and radishes.

  3. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  4. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil.

  5. Drizzle the dressing over the Buddha bowl and serve.


5. Grilled Tofu and Vegetable Skewers

Ingredients:

  • 1 block firm tofu, cubed (20g protein)

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks (1g fiber)

  • 1 zucchini, sliced (1g fiber)

  • 1 red onion, cut into chunks (1g fiber)

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (2g fiber)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

  2. Thread the tofu and vegetables onto skewers.

  3. In a bowl, mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.

  4. Brush the skewers with the marinade.

  5. Grill the skewers for about 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the tofu is slightly charred.

  6. Serve the skewers hot.


6. Grilled Chicken Salad with Quinoa and Fresh Veggies

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz grilled chicken breast (about 20g protein)

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (4g protein, 2.5g fiber)

  • 1 cup mixed greens (1g fiber)

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (1g fiber)

  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced (0.5g fiber)

  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Grill the chicken breast until fully cooked, then slice it.

  2. In a large bowl, combine mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion.

  3. Add the cooked quinoa and grilled chicken to the bowl.

  4. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.

  5. Toss everything together and serve cold.


7. Lentil and Avocado Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked lentils (18g protein, 15.6g fiber)

  • 2 bell peppers, halved and seeds removed

  • 1 avocado, diced (10g fiber)

  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (2g protein, 2g fiber)

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

  2. Grill the bell pepper halves for about 5 minutes, until they are slightly charred but still firm.

  3. In a bowl, mix the cooked lentils, avocado, corn, and cilantro.

  4. Add lime juice, salt, and pepper, and mix well.

  5. Stuff the grilled bell peppers with the lentil mixture and serve immediately.


8. Greek Yogurt and Berry Parfait

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (20g protein)

  • 1/2 cup mixed berries (4g fiber)

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (2g protein, 5g fiber)

  • 1/4 cup granola (2g protein, 2g fiber)

Instructions:

  1. In a glass or bowl, layer half of the Greek yogurt.

  2. Add a layer of mixed berries and sprinkle with chia seeds.

  3. Add the remaining Greek yogurt.

  4. Top with granola and more berries.

  5. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator for a refreshing treat.


9. Grilled Salmon with Asparagus and Brown Rice

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz grilled salmon (22g protein)

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (5g protein, 3.5g fiber)

  • 1 cup grilled asparagus (2g protein, 3g fiber)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Lemon wedges for serving

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

  2. Brush the salmon fillet and asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

  3. Grill the salmon for about 4-5 minutes per side, until it flakes easily with a fork.

  4. Grill the asparagus for about 3-4 minutes, until tender.

  5. Serve the grilled salmon and asparagus over a bed of brown rice, with lemon wedges on the side.


10. Chickpea and Veggie Wrap

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole grain wrap (3g protein, 3g fiber)

  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (7g protein, 6g fiber)

  • 1/4 cup hummus (4g protein, 2g fiber)

  • 1 cup spinach (1g fiber)

  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots (1g fiber)

  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumber (0.5g fiber)

  • 1/4 red bell pepper, sliced (0.5g fiber)

Instructions:

  1. Spread the hummus evenly over the whole grain wrap.

  2. Layer the spinach, chickpeas, carrots, cucumber, and red bell pepper on top.

  3. Roll up the wrap tightly, cut in half, and serve cold.


By focusing on fresh, seasonal produce, staying hydrated, and utilizing healthy cooking methods, you can enjoy a delicious and nutritious diet all summer long. This approach not only supports your health but also allows you to savor the best flavors of the season.

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Want a guilt-free snack that will satisfy you and prevent sweet cravings? You’ll love this all-natural, protein-energy ball recipe made with chickpeas, peanut butter, and oats.





Energy balls have become my new go-to snack. They are healthy, versatile and tasty. They’re also quick to make (which may be my #2 reason for making them…#1 being that the healthy part.).


I started making them as a healthy snack for my kids in school. Ideally, I’d love for my kids to be content with the fruit, carrot sticks, and edamame I give them, but, let’s face it, most times they’re not. (In fact, it only took one month into pre-K to hear, “But M’s mom gives her Goldfish and Oreos. I want those tomorrow!”

Four years of healthy eating thrown out the window!)


Despite all that, my kids love the energy balls – especially the ones made with peanut butter. My husband also loves them, so I wind up making several batches at a time. Lately, these protein balls have been great for the following, especially since they are so easy to transport:


1. School lunch boxes

2. Long car trips

3. Post sports practice

4. The beach/park

5. Post gym workout

6. Anytime you need a healthy, protein-rich little pick me up


They’re perfect for kids who need healthy snacks during the day to keep up their higher energy demands and for adults who need a portion-controlled snack to fuel their metabolism and ward off sluggishness.


The first protein energy balls I made had a base of peanut butter, oats and honey. That’s it! Clean and natural. (And you can substitute any nut/seed butter (like almond/soy/sunflower butter) for the peanut butter.) I mixed it by hand, but I found it a little annoying as the sticky batter always sticks to my hands. So, I started adding it to my mini food processor instead. Much better! Although my kids like them better when I mix them by hand. 😒


Then, I read how the energy ball base could be chickpeas! Whaaat? Fiber, protein and vitamins in my energy ball snack?? A dietitian’s dream…


Whipping these energy balls up in the food processor speeds things up a lot, but increases your dishes. Rubbing the skins off the chickpeas took the most time, but it’s really not so bad. Doing this allows for a smoother consistency, but it’s not necessary.


(Update: I no longer rub off the skins and I don't notice the difference at all. And I use black beans and they work out great!)


And I usually cut the sugar (in every recipe), but these definitely needed the sweetness, so I compensated with adding some chocolate chips.


There are so many varieties of energy balls, you’ll never run out of snack ideas! You can also make them with a base of chopped dates. If you like these quick, healthy energy balls, try these:



Tired of yo-yo dieting? Do you want to lose weight for good the healthy way? Learn to eat & exercise for your changing hormones & ditch guilt around food in my habit-based group coaching program, Ditch the Diets.






How to make these no-bake chickpea energy balls:


Drain and rinse chickpeas. Rub off skins (optional). Add to food processor along with all ingredients except for chocolate chips. Pulse until blended. (Add a little water if the mixture is too dry.) Avoid overmixing; mix just until batter is sticky and stays together when you press it together with your fingers. Scoop batter into tablespoon-sized balls.









No-Bake Protein Energy Balls with Chickpeas


Ingredients:

1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 cup oats (can be 1 minute or 5 minute oats)

1/2 cup All-natural smooth peanut butter

1/3 cup honey

¼ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips


Directions:

For a smoother consistency, rub skins off chickpeas. (But it didn't make a difference in the final product, really)

Add all ingredients to a food processor except chocolate chips.

Blend until combined. Add a little water if it's too thick.

Remove mixture to a bowl, mix in chocolate chips. Refrigerate until firms slightly.

Roll into tablespoon-sized balls.

Try not to eat them all at once!


Nutrition Facts: Serving size: 1 ball. Makes about 15 balls.

Calories: 104 Carbohydrates: 12.7 grams Fiber: 3.4 g Fat: 5g Protein: 3.3g Sugar: 6.5 g


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Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper…is this how you should eat for weight loss? And if breakfast is king, what are some easy ideas and recipes for breakfast for weight loss?



My patients hear me say this all the time - in part, because our bodies do like to eat this way for weight loss.


Energy metabolism and appetite regulating hormones follow circadian rhythms. The body likes to avoid misalignment with eating and sleeping circadian patterns.

Shifts in eating and sleeping patterns can cause you to gain weight. The extreme example of this is shift workers…people who are up at night eating their meals and sleeping during the day. But even milder examples, such as social jetlag, has an effect on energy and metabolism. (Social jetlag is when you eat at biologically unfavorable times.) 


So, In the quest for weight loss and hormonal balance, many busy moms overlook one crucial element of their daily routine: breakfast. This simple tweak could align your hormones with your circadian rhythm, kickstart your metabolism, and keep cravings at bay.


The secret lies in prioritizing protein at breakfast.

 

As a dietitian specializing in hormonal balance for busy moms, I've seen firsthand the transformative effects of starting the day with a protein-rich breakfast. Let's delve into why protein is your hormonal ally and explore seven delicious breakfast ideas to help you jumpstart your journey.

 

Why Protein at Breakfast Helps Balance Hormones and Encourages Weight Loss

 

  • Protein helps Regulate Appetite Hormones: Protein stimulates the release of hormones like leptin, which signals fullness, and reduces levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. By including protein at breakfast, you'll feel satisfied for longer, reducing the temptation to reach for sugary snacks mid-morning.

  • Protein Supports Muscle Health: Hormonal changes, especially during periods of weight loss or postpartum recovery, can lead to muscle loss. Protein provides the building blocks necessary to maintain lean muscle mass, keeping your metabolism revved up and aiding in fat loss.

  • Protein Balances Blood Sugar Levels: Pairing protein with carbohydrates slows down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, preventing blood sugar spikes and crashes. This steadies energy levels throughout the morning, preventing mood swings and sugar cravings.

  • Protein Aids Hormone Production: Many hormones, including insulin, estrogen, and thyroid hormones, rely on protein for synthesis. Ensuring an adequate intake of protein supports the production and function of these hormones, promoting overall hormonal balance.

 

Now that we understand the importance of protein, here are seven protein-packed breakfast ideas and recipes to kickstart your day and keep your hormones in check


1. Greek Yogurt Parfait: (I should mention that, as of March 1, 2024, yogurt carries the FDA-Approved Qualified Health Claim that, “Eating yogurt regularly, at least 2 cups (3 servings) per week, may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes according to limited scientific evidence.”

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt (approximately 20 grams of protein)

  • 1/4 cup of granola for crunch and fiber

  • Mixed berries for antioxidants and natural sweetness

2. Scrambled Tofu with Vegetables:

  • 1 cup of scrambled tofu seasoned with turmeric, onions, peppers, and spinach

  • Served with a side of sliced avocado for healthy fats

3. Protein Smoothie:

  • 1 scoop of protein powder (approximately 20 grams of protein)

  • Handful of spinach for added nutrients

  • 1/2 banana and a tablespoon of chia seeds for fiber and omega-3s

  • Blended with dairy or soy milk or water for creaminess

4. Eggs and Vegetable Omelet:

  • 3 eggs (approximately 18 grams of protein)

  • Loaded with mixed vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms

  • Served with a side of salsa for added flavor

5. Quinoa Breakfast Bowl:

  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa (approximately 8 grams of protein)

  • Topped with 1/2 cup of cottage cheese (approximately 14 grams of protein)

  • Sprinkle of chopped nuts and sliced banana for texture and sweetness

6. Turkey and Avocado Wrap:

  • 2 slices of turkey breast (approximately 12 grams of protein)

  • Wrapped in a whole-grain tortilla with sliced avocado and spinach leaves

7. Overnight Oats:

  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats (approximately 5 grams of protein)

  • Mixed with 1 cup of dairy or soy milk

  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds for fiber and omega-3s

  • Topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt for extra protein and creaminess

Incorporating these protein-rich breakfast ideas for weight loss into your daily routine can set the stage for hormonal balance and sustained energy throughout the day. Remember, it's not just about what you eat but how you nourish your body to support your overall health, including your hormones!


Want more high protein recipes to balance your hormones, help you lose weight, and boost your metabolism? Sign up for your FREE 7 Day Hormone Balancing Meal Plan!


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