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Summer eating dos and don’ts: You can make healthy changes

Frozen Blueberry Pie Recipe - Healthy summer eating
A tried-and-true slice of summer, Blueberry Frozen Pie can be a nice treat without packing on too many fats, carbs and sugars.

If you think winter is hard when it comes to eating healthy, just consider summer.

As we get closer to July 4 and other holidays to celebrate, you may already be planning a gala that could include this typical summertime food:

Brats, hot dogs, thick hamburgers with lots of cheese, potato salad, chips, desserts, beverages from beer to soda to wine coolers. To sum it up, that could mean fats, fats, fats, carbs, carbs, carbs, sugars, sugars, sugars.

You may think, “yum,” but Marshfield Clinic Dietitian Chrisanne Urban wants to remind you that summer events can be as dangerous health-wise as winter holidays when it comes to food.

“What happens in the summer is more about cookouts, brats that are high in fat … summer is hard with tempting food that’s easy to grab when you’re having fun and not eating mindfully,” she said.

Urban offered a short list of summer food “dangers” to consider.

Danger No. 1 – salads

Mayonnaise-based deli-style versions are tough. For example, a half-cup of store-prepared potato salad can weigh in at 27 grams of fat and 500 calories. And that doesn’t even include the rest of what you’d eat “so this alone is a lot!” she said. “Deli potato salad is swimming in mayonnaise unless you know it’s prepared with low-fat, low-calorie options. And you also have to be aware of how it’s stored because of food-borne illnesses.”

If you like potato salad, Urban suggested making it at home so you control the amount of dressing.

There are other options, too. Urban recently planned a party and found a healthier salad made with quinoa, tomatoes, cucumbers and an oil-and-vinegar dressing which was really tasty and healthy. Garden salads also are usually good choices but it depends on how much dressing you use and types of things you add, like cheese.

Danger No. 2 – condiments

“Watch what you top brats and hamburgers with,” she said.

One tablespoon of mayonnaise is 100 calories, while the same amount of ketchup or mustard is 15 calories.

Or, consider not putting on that 100-calorie slice of cheese. It all adds up fast.

Danger No. 3 – beverages

You may want a beer, a fun summer margarita, a fruity wine cooler but think about the big picture. Drinks with sugared soda and fruit juice have lots of calories. For example, a standard margarita is 500 calories. “It’s the sweet and not so much the alcohol,” Urban said.

Consider beer, too. Microbrews and darker beers can be as high as 200 calories for 12 ounces.

Danger No. 4 – ‘what have I eaten?’

Urban suggests mindful eating. When you attend a summer outing you may lose track of how many potato chips you’ve nibbled on or desserts you’ve had.

“Mindful eating can help you keep control, to help limit yourself,” she said. Crunch on veggies or limit yourself to so many chips. If you can’t stop, don’t start.

Last words of advice

“Remember why you’re at the party and you know yourself better than anybody else,” Urban said. “Be mindful and you may need to tell yourself ‘I have to walk five miles to burn off that half-cup of potato salad.’ It’s remembering who’s in charge!”

Try this recipe

Frozen blueberry pie is one of Urban’s favorites, a tried-and-true slice of summer. Urban took the original recipe and modified it to be just as tasty and healthy. She will also use strawberries and blueberries to get colors right for the holiday.

Frozen Blueberry Pie

Prep time: 10 minutes

Servings: 8 slices


Modified recipe

  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 18 ounces low-fat, sugar-free blueberry yogurt
  • 1 reduced-fat ready-made graham cracker pie crust
  • 1 8-ounce carton fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed

Original recipe

  •  1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 21-ounce can blueberry pie filling
  • 1 8-ounce carton frozen whipped topping, thawed


In a large mixing bowl, combine yogurt and whipped topping, mix. Mix in blueberries. Pour mixture onto crust.

Cover and put in freezer for at least 4 hours prior to serving.

Nutrition information

Modified recipe: Each serving contains 169 calories; 4 g fat; 31 g carbs; 141 g sodium; 1.7 g fiber; 3 g protein.

Original recipe: Each serving contains 345 calories; 18 g fat; 11 g sodium.

Print pie recipe


More summer recipes

Black Bean Burgers and Mustard Potato Salad

Pineapple Salsa

Summer Pizza

Zucchini, Avocado and Strawberry Salad

Banana Ice Cream

Mango and Tomato Salsa

6 responses to “Summer eating dos and don’ts: You can make healthy changes”

  1. Katherine Pacovsky

    You mentioned a salad with quinoa, cucumbers, tomatoes and an oil and vinegar dressing. I would like to try it if you will share the recipe. I love tasty salads to be a meal.

    1. Jacob Zipperer

      Hello Katherine,

      Thanks for reading Shine365. We can reach out to the expert we talked to for this story and see if she can provide more information on the quinoa recipe she mentions here.


  2. Nancy

    Read it all the time. Such good info on so many different topics.

    1. Jacob Zipperer

      Glad to hear it, Nancy 🙂

      Thank you,

  3. Nancy

    Sounds delicious, a must try. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Jacob Zipperer

      Glad you liked the recipe, Nancy!

      Thanks for reading Shine365.

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