Monday, June 30, 2014

Healthy Summertime Tips and a recipe for Creamy Spinach Dip

Last week I visited Tami and Dave – the dynamic duo of SCV Today to share some of favorite tips for how to healthfully fuel your body during summertime. As always, it was so fun to spend my morning with them. You can watch the full episode here.

As a disclaimer, I have to admit that I tend to get overly excited about summertime which is kind of funny considering that we hardly get much of a winter in Southern California. Regardless, I love any excuse to celebrate a season that embraces a carefree lifestyle, naps on hammocks, bright fingernail polish, spontaneous dips in the pool, outdoor dinners, and tiny umberellas in my beverage.

Another reason I love this sunny season? There’s no better time of the year to embrace outdoor activities, such as hiking, bike riding, playing tennis, swimming, going to the park, or even walking.  While it may be the weather that keeps us moving and motivated in the summer, food should be able to keep us fueled, energized, and feeling good the whole season through. But, like any time of year, there are still ways to give into not-so-healthy habits.

Here are the six summertime tips I shared on SCV Today that will keep your body running like a smooth operating machine, even during the hottest days this summer.

1.      Dip it Real Good. Summertime and dips seem to go together like summertime and popsicles. Whether its guacamole, salsa, or fruit dip, dips are the perfect poolside snack and barbeque side dish. When it comes to choosing your dips, choose dips that pump up your nutrient intake for the day rather than choosing those that leave you feeling sluggish and stuffed. Both these recipes for this Tomato, Bean and Avocado Salsa and  Pomegranate, Avocado and Orange Salsa are packed with a serious amounts of fiber and antioxidants. Our simple recipe for Avocado Yogurt Dip is packed with heart healthy fats. And our healthy spin for Spinach Dip (below) is guaranteed to leave you feeling healthy, happy and nourished.

2.      Choose Dip’s Perfect Companion. What's a dip without a chip? When it comes to selecting products in the market to accompany your main dishes or side dishes, there are some that offer more nutritional benefits that may meet the eye. Way Better Snacks are my chip of choice for the quality of their ingredients – which are sprouted. Sprouted seeds, beans and grains are certainly growing in popularity, and you can now find a variety of sprouted items in your local market. When a grain or seed sprouts, or is germinated, the nutrition properties become more available to the body, and also pushes up certain nutrients like vitamins B, C, and E.

3.      Create a healthy Salad. If there’s one time of year when people actually start to crave fruits and veggies, its summer. It could be the onslaught of farmers markets now in full swing, the delicious in-season produce available, or the fact that refreshing fruits and vegetables simply sound good this time of year. So if you’re craving a full-meal salad for lunch or dinner throughout the summer months, skip the bottled, creamy dressings, cut back on the cheese and bacon, and embrace all the gorgeous seasonal plant foods available. This recipe for Quinoa, Grape, Walnut and Arugula Salad is one of my all-time favorites. When I’m on the go, I simply layer the individual ingredients in a mason jar (with the dressing on the bottom so the salad doesn’t get soggy), and give it a shake to mix it up right before meal time.

4.      Set Yourself Up for Fruit Success. As soon as you get home from the farmers market or supermarket, slice and dice your produce picks and store them in individual containers. If it’s cut and ready-to-go, you’re way more likely to eat it. How many times have you bought a cantaloupe or pineapple with the very best intentions only to see it go to waste? If you know yourself well enough to know that you likely won’t cut up a melon or pineapple, spring for the extra dollar or two and buy the pre-cut varieties. It will be well worth your dollar (and waistline) in the long run. You can also opt for frozen fruits, such as pitted cherries or mango to give you some extra time before it spoils. I love creating fruit and yogurt parfaits made with non-fat plain Greek yogurt for an on-the-go light lunch.

5.      Be a little Nutty. Trail mix is such a great snack to keep with you throughout the day. I usually carry a small container of homemade trail mix in my purse so I have something on hand to prevent myself from getting overly hungry (and subsequently not very fun to be around). The fiber, protein, and flavor of dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and even a little dark chocolate helps to curve my cravings in-between meals. Here’s my basic trail mix formula:

6.      Hydrate Healthfully. During the hot days of summer, staying adequately hydrated is so important for your body to maintain certain internal functions, such electrolyte balance and a healthy internal temperature. Rather than opting for high-calorie sweetened beverages or zero-calorie, artificially sweetened beverages, turn to water most often. To add a little flare to your plain glass of H20, freeze fruit, herbs, or even lemon juice in your ice cubes. As they melt, they’ll add a hint of flavor. Another fancy spin on water? Combine sparkling water with a splash of 100% fruit juice.

Check out our recipe for Creamy Spinach Dip, paired with Way Better Snacks as an excellent nutrient-packed summertime snack.

Creamy Spinach Dip

This recipe is a littler spin on the classically high-calorie spinach dips we see in the stores. It’s packed with both calcium and iron – two key nutrients that merit special consideration for women. Enjoy it as an appetizer before dinner or as a light, satisfying mid-day snack.

2 cups frozen spinach, thawed
1 cup Greek yogurt
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon dill, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bag Way Better Snacks (Black Bean) tortilla chips

1. Thaw spinach and squeeze out extra water.
2. In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well.
3. Serve with Way Better Snacks!

Disclosure: As a Nutrition Ambassador of Way Better Snacks, I was compensated for my time for this post. My thoughts and opinions are my own – and I truly love Way Better Snacks for their quality of ingredients and nutritional profile. I recommend them to my friends, family members, and clients often. 


  1. Excited to try the dip recipe! And thanks for the great tips!

    1. Oh, you're so welcome! Hope you love it as much as we do :)

  2. Great tips!! And I'm with you on summer - it's the best :)