Food Network's Ellie Krieger on Healthy Summer Meals

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Looking for simple summer recipes that won't pack on the pounds? Food Network host Ellie Krieger shares some tips and tricks for healthy summer eating.

It's summertime which means people are getting beach ready, seems like a great time to focus on healthy eating habits.

Ellie: Yes, it is! I find a great way to think about nutrition is to categorize foods as usually, sometimes and rarely. "Usually" foods are the backbone of healthy eating - fruits vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. "Sometimes" foods are less healthy but are fine to sprinkle in daily in small amounts like white flour and sugar. And "rarely" foods include butter and bacon. The best part about this approach is there's no never---no food is off limits.

It can be difficult to avoid the "sometimes" and "rarely" foods - they're everywhere! How can you make foods that taste good and are good for you?

Ellie: The best part about summer is there are so many "usually" foods in season to enjoy. The key is to prepare them healthfully and deliciously. I particularly like using the T-fal Actifry. It's a new appliance, which cooks with little to no oil so you can make your favorite appetizers, entrees and desserts with less fat and calories! For example, make delicious French fries or sweet potato fries with only one tablespoon of oil to go with fresh burgers or whatever you have going on the grill. While you're grilling, the Actifry automatically stirs the ingredients so while you're grilling your side dish cooks for you! You can also use the device to prepare a variety of seasonal recipes, including tandoori salmon, green beans and almonds or granola - all with little to no oil. Enjoy all your summer favorites without the guilt!

You meantioned burgers. Grilling is so popular during the summer. How do you make healthy grilled meals?

Ellie: Start with veggies, don't just think meat! Try zucchini, eggplants and don't be afraid to try unusual vegetables like romaine lettuce hearts or portobello mushrooms. For meat, think about using rubs rather than marinades. For an easy at-home rub, try mixing chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper. Rubs are basically a marinade without the oil or waiting time. When you're using this rub, you can make it even healthier by using lean cuts of steak like sirloin. A favorite of summer is the burger, of course. Make sure you get 90% lean meat or higher or use ground turkey. I also love to stuff my burgers so you're using a more modest amount of meat. You can stuff it with sauteed spinach or roasted red peppers and mozzarella cheese. You still get a mean, robust, juicy burger, but with less calories.

What about desserts? How can I still enjoy dessert without the guilt?

Ellie: Ice cream is a favorite of the season and you can enjoy it! Add some grilled peaches or make mini ice cream sandwiches. Stay within small portions to enjoy your favorites without extra calories. And I love the fresh fruit desserts you can make in the Actifry. And don't forget about traditional summer treats like juice pops or fruit pops...easy, low-fat and low-calorie options to cool you off.

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