Healthy Versions of Your Favorite Summer Foods

Summer fun has finally begun and it’s time to celebrate with all of your favorite foods. Whether your vice is ice cream or homemade potato salad, there is no need to let your “summer dreams get ripped at the seams.”

These food substitutions will keep you lean and healthy without having to give up flavor. Make these easy swaps and the only “Grease” you’ll encounter will be watching Danny and Sandy at the drive-in on a hot summer night.


Hearing an ice cream truck’s chimes makes most of us salivate. Satisfy your popsicle craving by making your own in the freezer with ice pop molds (such as these fun ones by Orka) and your favorite juice. Or just freeze fruit, such as blueberries, raspberries, grapes, kiwis and bananas and enjoy.

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2Potato Salad

The mayonnaise used to create potato salad’s creamy consistency is loaded with calories and fat—1 cup contains a whopping 916 calories and 78 grams of fat. You can maintain the taste of this popular side dish by substituting mayo with non-fat Greek yogurt (1 cup has only 100 calories, zero fat and 18 grams of filling protein) and adding a dash of lemon or vinegar. You’ll hardly taste the difference and your waistline will thank you.

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3Ice Cream

The sweet, icy treat is a summer staple, so if you won’t settle for anything but the real McCoy, try double churned (or slow churned) ice cream. It usually only has about 100 calories—which is less than many brands of frozen yogurt, according to Dr. Oz—and a few grams of fat per serving.

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4Baked Goods

What’s a summer picnic without baked goods, such as a homemade tasty pie? If you enjoy baking from scratch, you can swap butter, shortening or oil in baked goods with applesauce or mashed bananas. Even better: You can use the same amount—no need for conversions!

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No need to sacrifice refreshing bubbly beverages this summer. Instead, make your own carbonated drinks. Splurge on a soda maker, such as a SodaStream, or create your own by adding fresh fruit, juice or sugar-free syrup to seltzer water and—voilà—drinks are served!

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You can’t beat the taste of BBQ, but charring your meat comes with some health hazards—namely, cancer-causing carcinogens (also known as heterocyclic amines, or HCAs) that form in burned meat. The easy solution? “Marinating steak before grilling is a practical way to reduce HCA contents of even well-done beef for many consumers,” explains J. Scott Smith, professor of food chemistry at Kansas State University.

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Smith measured the HCAs in steaks and found that using marinades containing rosemary and thyme reduced HCAs by 87 percent. So make your own marinade or pick up a store-bought brand with antioxidant-rich rosemary and thyme.