Most of us enjoy food that tastes delicious and is nutritious, especially when that food is cool and refreshing on a hot summer day.
We don’t love heating up the kitchen for a meal or a party at this time of the year.
Besides, cool things just seem to taste better when it’s hot out.
In our search for foods that give us a taste bang and nutrition punch, we may be finding recipes that are a little heavier on calories than we would prefer.
Here is an energizing Recipe Renovation® that we can use at our barbecues, picnics and everyday dinners with family during the heat of the summer or at any time during the year when we want something special.
We are using ingredients that are available all year long and are economical too!
Healthy Eating, Too
Fresh vegetables right from your garden that can be grown yourself and picked at the height of ripeness offer us not just a punch of flavor but nutrition too!
Cucumbers are very low in calories – one 8¼” cuke is only 47 calories.
It has almost no fat or sodium, 1.5 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein.
The whole cucumber is a source of potassium, containing 442 mg or 12% of your daily value (DV). It is also a source of vitamin C (14% DV) and vitamin A (6% DV). It contains magnesium (9% DV), B6 (5% DV) and iron (4% DV).
Cucumbers are also a good source of water with 96% water content.
The Greek yogurt is a great source of protein. Depending on the brand you buy, 6 ounces (170 grams) of non-fat Greek yogurt plain has 18 grams of protein with only 100 calories. No fat but loaded with calcium (20% DV). It has a small amount of sodium as all dairy food does (70 mg/3% DV).
Vidalia onions are great this time of year but red onions would be fun in this recipe too. Vidalia onions (1 medium/148 grams) provide 60 calories, 1 gram protein and 3 grams of fiber. They have vitamin C (15% DV), calcium (4% DV) and iron (2%). They are fat and sodium free.
Dill, an herb from the celery family, gives us 1.4 grams of fiber, 78 mg potassium, 1 mg sodium and 20 calories in 1 Tablespoon of the herb.
These nutrients add up especially when the calories are low to provide a good source of a variety of nutrients we need without breaking the meal plan budget.
A traditional tzatziki sauce recipe would include oil. This recipe renovation version leaves out the extra fat but keeps the flavor highlighting the fresh ingredients.
The tzatziki sauce can be used as a dip for other fresh vegetables or as a spread on a roll up sandwich.
If you want to use it as a spread, finely chop the cucumber into the yogurt and dill mixture.
This summer salad is a great refreshing side dish low in calories but packed with flavor to cool down your picnic and barbecue!
- 1 large cucumber, slice in half lengthwise and scoop out largest seeds, leave skin on
- 1 medium Vidalia (or red) onion, half lengthwise and cut into thin slices
- ¼ cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1Tblsp Fresh dill
- Combine all ingredients and chill before serving.
- Refrigerate promptly.
- If making enough for leftovers, pat dry cucumber with paper towel to prevent excess moisture forming during storage.
- This recipe will make 8 half cup servings.
- Nutrition facts: 13 calories, 1 g protein, 0 fat , 2 g carbohydrate/0 added sugars, 5 mg sodium
- Especially in the winter, cucumber skins may be a bit tough. If you feel it seems too thick, use a vegetable peeler to get ½ of the cucumber skin off leaving some for added fiber.
- Fresh dill is best but dried dill works for flavor if fresh is not available where you live. You can also check the frozen food aisle where herbs and spices are being marketed more and more.
- You could use vanilla flavored non-fat Greek yogurt for an added depth of flavor.