As a result, our waistlines are expanding and our stress levels, one of the top things making you fatter, are through the roof. Here's an idea to reset your balance: Rather than scheduling a date in a fast-paced restaurant, plan a picnic. Not only will it save you money, but it's the perfect way soak up the summer sunshine, enjoy intimate time with a loved one, and take the chaos out of you daily routine. And when you control the menu, your body benefits. Check out these 20 recipes, pick an outdoor location, and get inspired.
BLACK BEAN QUINOA SALAD WITH MANGO AND AVOCADO
Nutrition: 316 calories, 13.6 g fat (2.2 g fat), 6 mg sodium, 40 g carbs, 8.4 g carbs, 3.9 g sugar, 11 g protein
Instead of nutrient-void, calorie laden pasta salad, whip up this quinoa salad instead. The gluten-free grain slays its nutritional competition due to its exceptional balance between oil, fiber, protein, and fat, and its vitamin and mineral content. It'll boost your health, shrink your waist and rock your world.
Get the recipe from Healthy Seasonal Recipes.
GRILLED WATERMELON FETA BASIL SALAD
Nutrition: 120 calories, 8.1 g fat (5.7 g saturated), 423 mg sodium, 7.1 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 4.5 g sugar, 5.8 g protein (calculated without salt)
Not that we really need to do much convincing with this sweet and salty recipe, but the idea of a flatter stomach makes it that much more enticing. According to research from the University of Kentucky, eating watermelon improves lipid profiles and lowers fat accumulation. And it's all thanks to the fruit's high concentration anthocyanin, a compound that turns down fat-storage genes. Enjoy each blissful bite, guilt-free and kiss goodbye those stubborn love handles.
Get the recipe from Recipe Runner.
MINI BUNLESS CHEESEBURGER BITES
Nutrition: 236 calories, 16.3 g fat (7.9 g saturated), 430 mg sodium, 1.7 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 20,1 g protein
If the idea of mini burgers that won't leave your pants unbuttoned doesn't excite you, then you're probably not on the right page (or you don't eat meat). But on the chance that you're having premature ventricular contractions, just make sure to opt for grass-fed beef, which is naturally lower in calories and free of toxic antibiotics and hormones.
Get the recipe from Sugar Free Mom.
CREAMY AVOCADO DIP
Nutrition: 131 calories, 11.9 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 243 mg sodium, 7 g carbs, 4.5 g fiber, 1.1 g sugar, 1.5 g protein
When it comes to weight loss superfoods, avocados are the creme de la creme. They're versatile, satiating, delicious, and packed with slimming nutrients. Dip it, spread it, swirl it—whatever you decide, you're just bites away from a flatter stomach.
Get the recipe from Baker By Nature.
Nutrition: 166 calories, 3.8 g fat (0 g saturated), 530 mg sodium, 17.7 g carbs, 2.3 g fiber, 9.4 g sugar, 17.1 g protein (calculated with no salt added deli meat)
Cucumbers put a refreshing spin on your typical sammy. They're low in calories, hydrating and excellent sources of vitamin K, which helps our body form blood clots and molybdenum, a mineral that aids in amino acid breakdown. Not to mention they'll help balance out the sodium from the deli meat.
Get the recipe from My Crazy Good Life.
CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD WRAP
Nutrition: 303 calories, 11.1 g fat (3 g saturated), 300 mg sodium, 10.4 g carbs, 5.8 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 37.7 g protein (calculated with grilled chicken breasts and yogurt caesar dressing)
Anything with Caesar dressing can usually be considered a flat belly nightmare due to its disaster of a nutritional profile. But if you just cannot resist, opt for a yogurt-based version, which is lower in calories and fat. Then be sure to balance out your day with one of these 20 Best-Ever Recipes for Zero Belly!
Get the recipe from Mom On Time Out.
Nutrition: 203 calories, 8 g fat (3.1 g saturated), 105 mg sodium, 21.3 g carbs, 3.4 g fiber, 2.1 g sugar, 12 g protein
If a breakfast or brunch picnic—with the morning breeze and sunshine—sounds like absolute heaven, these frittata muffins better be in your basket. They're boasting with the nutritional celeb, quinoa, eggs, peas, fresh herbs, green onion and sprinkled with cheese. We couldn't think of a better way to start the day.
Get the recipe from Aggie's Kitchen.
SUMMER ROLLS WITH PEANUT SAUCE
Nutrition: 200 calories, 5.2 g fat (1.1 g saturated), 298 mg sodium, 24.1 g carbs, 2.5 g fiber, 1.4 g sugar, 14 g protein
Crunchy shrimp, refreshing cucumber, crispy lettuce, cilantro, and avocado all wrapped up inside rice paper wrappers and dipped in an indulgent peanut sauce—there is only one word to describe this recipe and it's phenomenal. And with just 200 calories and 14 grams of satiating protein per serving, need we say more?
Get the recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction.
RICOTTA AND PROSCIUTTO CRACKERS
Nutrition: 89 calories, 5.2 g fat (1.9 g saturated), 233 mg sodium, 7 g carbs, < 1 g fiber, 1.2 g sugar, 3.7 g protein
Thanks to our inner child, finger foods are beyond enticing. At least this version contains adult foods so you can't help but look classy eating it. But you're not doing yourself any favors if you try to substitute fat-free ricotta. Fat-free dairy is often filled with sugar to maintains its flavor and is also less satiating. Go for the real stuff.
Get the recipe from Seasonly Creations.
SWEET POTATO HUMMUS
Nutrition: 175 calories, 5.8 g fat (1 g saturated), 10 mg sodium, 29.9 g carbs, 4.4 g fiber, < 1 g sugar, 2 g protein
Hummus and sweet potato are a match made in healthy heaven! Surely, the foodie gods outdid themselves when they combined these two fat-burning foods. Try spreading it on a low carb tortilla or bringing veggies to dip into it. You will only really need about two tablespoons because this is one nutritionally-dense pair.
Get the recipe from Chew Out Loud.
SALT AND VINEGAR ZUCCHINI CHIPS
Nutrition: 40 calories, 3.6 g fat (.5 g saturated), 201 mg sodium, 2.9 g carbs, .6 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 1 g protein
Potato chips are far from diet-friendly. They're dipped in oil, fried, and smothered in salt; they bring nothing to the nourishment table. Plus, extremely salty foods can cause water retention and dehydration. But if they're one of your guilty pleasures, rejoice, because this zucchini version is all that and a bag of chips.
Get the recipe from Sugar Free Mom.
HOMEMADE MAC AND CHEESE BITES
Nutrition: 246 calories, 13.3 g fat (8.1 g saturated), 315 mg sodium, 20.4 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 2.4 g sugar, 11 g protein
If there is one universally appealing food, it's mac-and-cheese. Unfortunately, as much as it turns on our tastebuds, it's a far cry from a healthful food. Blame it on the butter, milk, cheese, or carb-laden noodles….. which is why we love these mac-and-cheese bites. Not only do they help moderate portion control, but one serving is under 300 calories and has 11 grams of satiating protein. And if you like this one, check out these 18 Amazing Mac and Cheese Recipes for Weight Loss.
Get the recipe from Chef In Training.
GRILLED EGGPLANT SPINACH SALAD
Nutrition: 323 calories, 27.7 g fat (3.9 g saturated), 95 mg sodium, 20.4 g carbs, 11.5 g fiber, 7.5 g sugar, 5.6 g protein
This salad is overflowing with nutrients and flat-belly fiber. It contains eggplant, mint, parsley, oregano, shallot, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach, and is lightly drizzled with a dressing made with lemon, paprika, olive oil and dijon mustard. Salads are often a slippery slope (thanks to mounds of cheese, calorie-laden dressing, and croutons). But not to fret—this one is a belly- and body-pleaser.
Get the recipe from Salt and Lavender.
SPARKLING CUCUMBER WATERMELON SANGRIA
Nutrition: 147 calories, 1 g fat (1 g saturated), 18 mg sodium, 21 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 16 g sugar, 1 g protein
"How excited can we get over boozy produce in a pitcher?" Pretty damn excited, especially when a study found that white wine's phenols have a higher antioxidant count than the ones found in red, making it a better option for weight loss. Make up a batch, throw it into a chilled thermos and sip it under a shaded tree. Wino? Check out these 16 Wines for Weight Loss.
Get the recipe from How Sweet Eats.
EGG TOASTED PITA SALAD
Nutrition: 214 calories, 6.7 g fat (1.3 g saturated), 443 mg sodium, 31.7 g carbs, 2.5 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 7.2 g protein
This salad is so visually appealing, it was practically love at first sight—but we're not shallow. Luckily, the nutritional profile proved that it was more just a pretty face. And don't just reach for the whites when you're preparing this one. Opting for whole eggs can actually help you slim down, thanks to the fat-fighting nutrient choline.
Get the recipe from Gimmie Delicious.
CAULIFLOWER POTATO SALAD
Nutrition: 188 calories, 12.9 g fat (2.3 g saturated), 267 mg sodium, 13.4 g carbs, 3.1 g fiber, 4.5 g sugar, 7 g protein
Potato salad is barbecue and picnic staple, but it's not exactly on our list of foods that'll keep you trim. That's where the versatile cauliflower steps in, transforming our world yet again. With BMI-lowering vitamin C, detoxifying vitamin B, and slimming fiber, this is one of the best healthy food swaps you can make. Intrigued? Check out these 17 Genuis Ideas for Cooking with Cauilflower.
Get the recipe from Buns in My Oven.
Nutrition: 334 calories, 21.5 g fat (13.2 g saturated), 170 mg sodium, 33.2 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 20 g sugar, 4.4 g protein
What's a picnic without dessert? Better yet, what's summer without a fruity dessert? Well, here's a fruity pizza. You're welcome.
Get the recipe from Hungry Happenings.
BUFFALO CHICKEN TORTILLA PINWHEELS
Nutrition: 290 calories, 17.5 g fat (8.4 g saturated), 331 mg sodium, 11.6 g carbs, 6 g fiber, < 1 g sugar, 22 g protein
These buffalo chicken pinwheels will heat up more than your mouth. According to Penn State, eating foods with hot sauce can boost your metabolism by up to 20 percent!
Get the recipe from Home Cooking Memories.
HAWAIIAN HAM AND PINEAPPLE SKEWERS
Nutrition: 241 calories, 8.8 g fat (3 g saturated), 282 mg sodium, 19.2 g carbs, 1.6 g fiber, 14 g sugar, 1 g protein (calculated with no salt added ham)
Transport your tastebuds to a tropical island with these ham and pineapple skewers. Just make sure to opt for a no salt added ham. A lot of deli meats are high in sodium because it is a natural preservative.
Get the recipe from The Recipe Rebel.
Nutrition: 69 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 8 mg sodium, 20.6 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 16 g sugar, 1 g protein
Okay, we admit it—we're slightly watermelon obsessed. But with its waist-whittling effects, juicy flavor, and hydrating benefits, can you blame us? Ditch the soda and sip your way skinny with this one.
Get the recipe from Cooking Classy.