Barbeques, picnics, and pubs don’t have to be your downfall during the summer months. You don’t have to deny yourself – there are some tasty low fat food alternatives that can make your mouth water – and you won’t be left chomping on a plain salad while others are tucking in.
Low Fat Ice-cream
Ice-cream is the ultimate refreshment on summer days, but with a POINTS of 4½ for one scoop of vanilla ice cream, it can really take a chunk out of your allowance. So why not make an equally filling and refreshing version – a fruit smoothie.
Nutritionist Jill Franks says: “Get some blackberries or raspberries, and some low-fat yogurt and blend it. Then put it in a glass and add crushed ice. It’ll really satisfy and cool you.”
The low-fat yogurt has a low glycemic index, which means that it releases energy gradually. But don’t be tempted by frozen yogurts, as these are often high in sugar. An average tub contains up to 2½POINTS values. “You may as well have ice-cream,”.
If you want something cool when you’re out and about, look for a simple ice-block or order a scoop of sorbet, both have a POINTS value of 1.
Low Fat barbeques
Despite the healthy cooking method, some average barbeque foods, like sausages, can put a big dent in your POINTS allowance. Franks says the trick is to look out for options such as grilled chicken skewers. You can also prepare your own, alternating the chicken with vegetables like capsicum, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and mushrooms.
Low Fat Pizza
Just a slice of your average thick crust takeaway supreme can have a POINTS value of 5. And making your own at home won’t guarantee a better option. A small thick pizza base from the supermarket can have a POINTS value of 11 – and that’s without the topping. A handful of grated cheese will set you back around 5 POINTS values. Add some of the usual high-kilojoule toppings, and a small homemade pizza can have an approximate POINTS value of 20.
As a healthy alternative, try making your own pizza with a round of white or wholemeal Lebanese bread (3) as your base. Add three tbsp tomato salsa (0) and 50g shaved lean ham (1). Then combine 30g reduced-fat mozzarella (2) with a POINTS 4 tbs low-fat ricotta (1). Sprinkle over pizza and bake in a preheated hot oven, until golden and bubbling, top with some fresh basil leaves. All up, your pizza will have a total POINTS value of 7.
Low Fat Salad dressing
While a salad can be a healthy choice, watch out for dressings like Thousand Island, Caesar, and French. Many of our favorite salads are coated in these high-kilojoule dressings, and they’re hard to avoid in the summer. Each tablespoon of a dressing adds another POINTS value to the mix (Thousand Island will add a POINTS value of 1½).
Try fat-free alternatives which you can get from the supermarket, or use balsamic vinegar and finely chopped fresh basil and thyme. Freshly squeezed lemon juice also makes a tasty dressing on its own.
A medium glass of wine has a POINTS value of 2, and although fine in moderation, the sugar content is high. If you prefer spirits, consider vodka as it’s low in POINTS values.
For an alcohol-free cocktail, just blend some fruit and add a dash of soda water or diet lemonade and some floating fruit pieces.
Tips for summer eating
- Drink lots of water (two liters a day).
- Understand what you are buying: study food labels for high-fat content.
- Don’t feel deprived and enjoy your food. Plan ahead to make your meals both healthy and interesting.