by Lisa Camerlengo

 

Poolside and Backyard Snacking

During the lazy, hot days of summer, hanging by the pool is about the only way to go. While you’re relaxing outdoors, here are some healthy, flavorful ideas for snacking without the guilt.

Kat Barry , a self-taught vegan chef and owner of “Kat’s Hot Cakes,” a healthy snack food company that specializes in selling miniature, natural and certified vegan desserts, says vegan salads containing legumes, nuts, grains, fresh seasonal vegetables and herbs are perfect for summer snacking. “You’re eating whole foods and grains, so you won’t bloat,” Barry says. As an added bonus, since 100 percent vegan dishes are tossed in light vegetable oil-based dressings, they won’t perish easily in warm temperatures. Her personal favorite go-to snacks? Fruit and flax or chia smoothies, homemade raw nut trail mixes and fresh fruit.

BELLA RECOMMENDS….

Lentil Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

1 lb. steamed lentils

2 large, ripe heirloom tomatoes chopped into cubes

1 large cucumber chopped into cubes

4 oz. olive oil

1 oz. white wine vinegar

2 tbsp. whole grain mustard

Cracked black pepper

Sea salt

Cook lentils according to serving instructions. Let cool completely. Next, in a large bowl, mix together lentils, cucumbers and tomatoes. Combine remaining ingredients in a salad shaker and mix well. Pour dressing over lentil and veggie mix and stir until salad is completely covered. For best flavor, refrigerate several hours before serving.  KatsHotCakes.com


For a refreshing drink, why not cool off with good old-fashioned iced tea? Good Earth “Sweet & Spicy” Iced Tea is calorie- and sugar-free and contains a flavorful blend of cinnamon, orange, anise seed and ginger root. Boil two cups of water, pour over 4-6 tea bags and steep for 5-10 minutes. Stir, remove tea bags, add two cups of cold water and serve over ice. GoodEarth.com


If you’re in the mood for something a bit “stronger,” try Go Cocktails!, a sugar-free line of cocktail mixes. Created by Sabrina Pardue, a mom of three who didn’t want to give up her favorite margarita cocktails after losing 50 pounds, the packets are available in flavors ranging from Appletini, Lemon Drop and Margarita to Sweet and Sour and Cranberry Cosmo. Just mix with water and vodka for a 5-calorie drink. GoCocktails.com


For those with food allergies or special dietary requirements, Enjoy Life Foods  offers vegan, kosher, gluten-free and clean alternatives for backyard snacking. Check out Crunchy Flax with Chia cereal loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, protein and fiber, and Seed & Fruit Mixes made without peanuts or tree nuts. EnjoyLifeFoods.com


If you like lentils, you’ll love Baked Lentil Chips!  Available in a variety of flavors ranging from Sea Salt, Rosemary and Cucumber Dill to Cracked Pepper and Parmesan Garlic, these crunchy chips are made from high protein, nutritious lentils and garbanzo and adzuki beans. Not in the mood for chips? Try some Gluten-Free Lentil Crackers offered in the same flavors or Veggie Medley Chips made with real spinach, tomato and potato and lightly seasoned with sea salt. MediterraneanSnackFoods.com

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