Kimberly Garrison | Slim down for summer

Here are some easy, inexpensive recipes to help you cut the calories

Posted: July 05, 2007

OK, SUMMER IS officially here. Are you ready to hit the beach? Or have you procrastinated - not exercising or sticking to a healthy eating plan?

If so, I've come up with some satisfying summer recipes that will help get you into sizzling, slim-down shape. Add some physical activity to the recipe and you'll see results, lickety-split!

Plus, you can whip up all of these tasty, easy and inexpensive meals in 15 minutes or less.

What's for breakfast?

Breakfast is a meal far too many of you are either skipping altogether or turning into a high-calorie, low-nutrition mess - like bacon, egg and cheese on a croissant, washed down with 32 ounces of OJ.

Breakfast is a meal far too many of you are either skipping altogether or turning into a high-calorie, low-nutrition mess - like bacon, egg and cheese on a croissant, washed down with 32 ounces of OJ.

Or maybe you think you're being virtuous by eating a bagel or fat-free bran muffin. Well, think again. Most bagels and "fat-free" muffins weigh in at 600 to 900 calories, and that's before you add that dollop of cream cheese or butter.

Whew! Regular consumption of the typical American breakfast is likely to have you packing on the pounds.

Through the years I've modified family favorites to come up with simple, tasty cuisine that hits the spot. First, here's my spin on an oldie but goodie - pancakes.

Oatmeal pancakes are a staple in my diet, and I experiment by adding things like yogurt, cottage cheese or different berries. You'll be pleasantly surprised how good this sweet, high-fiber, chock-full-of-antioxidants pancake tastes.

OLD-FASHIONED ROLLED-OAT PANCAKE

1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

5 egg whites, lightly beaten

1/4 cup fresh blueberries

Plain or vanilla yogurt (optional)

Sugar-free maple syrup

Cooking spray

Combine all dry ingredients. Mix egg whites in a separate bowl, then add dry ingredients to egg whites and stir until well-blended.

Spray small skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Pour half the batter into the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes, or until pancake puffs and dries around the edges. Add a few of the blueberries to the pancake, then flip and cook approximately 2 more minutes, or until golden brown.

I like the pancakes topped with a dollop of yogurt, the rest of the fresh berries and a splash of syrup. Makes 1 yummy serving!

Omelets are great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I typically make my omelets with egg whites, but occasionally I'll add one yolk.

ANYTIME OMELETS

5 egg whites, or 4 whites to one yolk

1 to 2 ounces of garlic-herb cheese

Cooking spray

1 cup steamed fresh or frozen

spinach, well-drained

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup cooked shrimp, crab,

chicken or ham, and/or salsa

Combine all ingredients (except the cheese, salsa and cooking spray) in a bowl. Spray nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium temperature.

Pour ingredients in pan and cook until edges begin to brown, then flip over. Spread cheese on top and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes. Garnish with a tablespoon of salsa. Serves 1.

Summer is salad time

I love a good salad. But like most people, I would sabotage my salads with too much dressing.

I love a good salad. But like most people, I would sabotage my salads with too much dressing.

You'd be surprised to know how many calories are in a typical restaurant salads. Some of these salads weigh in at more than a pound and are drowned in 3 to 4 ounces of dressing.

Here's my slimming salad - it's big on taste but low in fat and calories.

SLIM-DOWN SALAD

1 ounce spring greens

1 ounce baby spinach

1/4 Granny Smith apple, chopped

1 ounce gorgonzola cheese

(or your favorite)

5 chopped walnuts

Light salad dressing of your choice

In a medium bowl mix the greens, apple, cheese and walnuts. Toss lightly with dressing.

By the way, I've found two great low-calorie dressings for you to try. Ellen Rose Low Fat Orange Ginger Dressing is delicious and only 4 calories per serving.

Whole Foods has its own brand of organic raspberry vinaigrette that is also quite tasty and 30 calories per serving.

Plain balsamic vinegar also makes a fine dressing. Or cook down a bottle of balsamic to make a delicious low-calorie syrup for your salad.

If you opt to use your favorite regular dressing, remember that two tablespoons equal one serving. Most dressings are 120 calories a serving and are loaded with sodium.

Time for dessert

With all of the summer fruit in season, there's just no reason to eat heavy pies, cakes or cookies.

With all of the summer fruit in season, there's just no reason to eat heavy pies, cakes or cookies.

Besides their good nutrition and lower calories, most fruits are just bursting with flavor at this time of year.

A refreshing cup of watermelon, one of my summertime favorites, will set you back about 100 calories. That's a bargain compared to a typical cookie that weighs in at about 500 calories.

If fruit won't do the trick, try a Popsicle brand 15-calorie frozen treat. Craving chocolate? A fudge Popsicle is just 40 calories. *

Kimberly Garrison is a certified personal trainer and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia (www.1on1ultimatefitness.com).

E-mail her at

kimberly@1on1ultimatefitness.com. Her column appears each Thursday in Yo! Chat with her on her Daily News weblog, the Girlfriends' Locker Room, at www.girlfriendslockerroom.com. Her new podcast, "Philly Fitness and Health," is available for download every Thursday at www.philly.com.

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