Living a Balanced Babe lifestyle means that you don’t have to sacrifice flavors that you’re craving! By creating recipe swaps so that you can still enjoy mac and cheese (but in a healthier way), you can still feel like you’re eating whatever you’re tummy is guiding you towards. Although I’m a huge advocate for balancing your meals with indulgences (sometimes you want REAL Kraft mac and cheese – oooo ya mama), I still like to find ways to make eating healthy – delicious!
Since we are in peak summer grilling and entertaining season, I’ve created a few healthier summer entertaining recipes that I shared on ABC’s Windy City Live – and of course I have to share the segment and recipes here too!
When I’m having friends or family over for a party or gathering, I love making summer favorites like burgers, baked beans and different salads. So today’s menu consists of a healthier burger, low sugar baked beans, vegetable loaded chickpea pasta salad, lightened up corn bread, and a slimmed down blueberry pie. Just writing about this now makes me want to eat this feast. Since all of the recipes can be found directly on WCL’s segment page , I’m going to quickly highlight why each of these recipes are better for your bellies and your waistline.
Healthier Turkey Burgers:
For those that are looking to cut out red meat consumption or slowly transition to eating a plant based lifestyle, I always recommend slowly reducing your meat and poultry intake. This burger recipe calls for half turkey meat and half quinoa, but it still tastes like a true turkey burger! The quinoa also ensures that there is protein in the burger patty, and also adds a bit of hydration to the patty as well. The recipe also calls for vegetables in the patty like carrots and kale, because we always want to find sneaky ways to add veggies to our recipes! If you want to cut down on carbs, you can create an open faced burger, or go completely bun-less and use bib lettuce as a wrap instead!
Low Sugar Baked Beans:
A lot of baked beans recipes are LOADED with sugar. Either they call for a lot of brown sugar, or use BBQ sauce or ketchup which are two condiments that have a ton of hidden sugar in them. I make a blend of tomato sauce and a bit of maple syrup to sweeten it up (a healthier way to sweeten up your meals) which drastically reduces the sugar content. I use kidney beans and butter beans to mix it up and throw all of the ingredients in a crock pot so that you can go to work, and come home to delicious low sugar baked beans!
Lightened Up Cornbread:
Cornbread typically calls for milk, cream, butter, white flour, sugar, and pretty much all the baking ingredients with no nutritional value. I swapped out a ton of ingredients to make this cornbread recipe completely dairy free! I used coconut oil instead of butter (you can also use olive oil if you don’t like coconut oil), a 1/4 cup of mashed banana instead of an egg, and almond milk instead of cows milk. These swaps make the cornbread super moist and slightly sweet (which I think makes it taste extra delicious). You’ll also get nutrients with every bite – something you don’t get with regular cornbread!
Vegetable Loaded Chickpea Pasta Salad:
Usually pasta salad is all pasta, a tiny bit of veggies, and a ton of mayonnaise or fatty dressing. I slimmed down this version quite a bit by making my own Italian dressing using simple ingredients (it cuts down the sodium drastically), I added a ton of crunchy veggies to give it nutrients, and I used chickpea noodles instead of white flour noodles to give this dish some extra protein! Now this is definitely a pasta salad recipe that will not leave you feeling guilty.
Slimmed Down Blueberry Pie:
One thing I love eating in the summer, PIE! Especially berry pies. This recipe is a no-brainer to make and is really made with natural ingredients. I opted to leave off the top pie crust to obviously cut down on crust, I used honey as my sweetener for the berry filling mix instead of sugar. Even though honey still has a high sugar content, it still comes with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which in my opinion is better to consume than regular sugar that has no nutritional value!
What are your favorite summer grilling and entertaining recipes? I’m always on a mission to make traditional recipes lighter and healthier while still maintaining flavor, so send along some recipes you want me to swap out!