Hi! I did not mean to go this long between posts but I’ve been busy. Last weekend was Memorial Day, which means summertime is here! I love summer, and all that it entails. However, I have noticed that now that the weather is nicer, people are a lot quicker to want to socialize. Memorial Day Weekend must be the number one picnic/barbecue weekend of the year. Personally, I went to a lovely pool party pitch-in. Everyone was instructed to bring one shareable food item and adult beverage.

As I’ve written about, I’ve found that socializing is the hardest obstacle for healthy living. So I knew that for this event I wanted to bring healthy stuff. Full disclosure: I brought one healthy thing (the fruit salad below) and one less healthy thing (a taco salad that would be great for health if not for the half bag of fritos in it…). But the fruit salad was so successful I thought I would pass it along. I’ve made it twice now and both times got rave reviews. It’s super easy, but while I was chopping fruit I thought it would be nice to add some kind of sauce for additional flavor. And here we are.

Summer Fun Fruit Salad

Summer Fun Fruit Salad

The recipe is incredibly easy.

  • 1 Mango, chopped
  • 1.5 cups Pineapple, chopped (approx. 3/4 of a pineapple)
  • 1.5 cups Strawberries, quartered (approx. 12 good sized berries)

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice (1 large orange or 1.5 small ones)
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon

The instructions are easy. Chop all the fruit. Add to a bowl. Pour dressing over the fruit. Mix until dressing is spread over everything and the fruit is mixed well. Obviously variations abound. You could do more or less of any of the three fruits or add in other elements. Kiwi might be good, or papaya if you’re fancy.

It’s very easy and a great healthy option for this year’s cycle of barbecues and pitch ins that are so popular in the warm summer months. I’ve already given the recipe away twice to people who really liked the dressing, especially. Using honey in the dressing is a good way to sweeten the salad (sometimes strawberries can get a little tart) without piling on a cup of refined sugar.

I’ve been using honey quite a bit lately. I realized fairly quickly it was unrealistic to get rid of sweeteners all together. Stevia packets work well for some things, but sometimes it can taste a little…unnatural. I have noticed that Truvia is better about this than the generic brand I’m currently using, but that tells me Truvia is probably more processed. Who knows though?

At any rate, I am finding honey is really useful. It is a lot healthier than sugar, even if, nutritionally speaking, in grams they have the same amount of sugars. Apparently, honey is easier for the body to convert than processed sugar because of some chemistry thing with the fructose and glucose. The two enzymes do not bind together in honey, which is a good thing, apparently. Science!

Honey also has other health benefits. According to this surely unbiased site honey is an antioxidant, it is an anti-carcinogenic, it is a natural energy supplement, and it is good for the immune system. So, I am onboard with honey.

Substitutions are a slippery slope, though. I almost prefer avoidance because then you know you aren’t going to cheat or eat anything you’ll regret later. But sometimes substitutions are successful. For instance, the other salad I made last weekend was a taco salad (the one with the Fritos). Sadly, there is no healthy substitute for chili cheese Fritos, I looked. But the dressing could be easily modified. Originally it called for sour cream and mayo. I used Greek yogurt instead. It was really hard though, not to say, ok I can use the yogurt but still use mayo. Or what if I just used low-fat sour cream and low-fat mayo? Well, none of those options would have had the health benefits of the protein-crazy fat free Greek yogurt. And it turned out that the Greek yogurt worked amazingly well, and I’m glad I made that discovery because I will be using plain yogurt all the time now.

Thus, the moral of the story is twofold: 1. that fruit salad is delicious and I recommend using honey as a natural sweetener. 2. Substituting healthier ingredients works to a degree, but it is important to continue thinking about calorie counting and only eating healthy foods, even throughout this year’s round of weddings, pool parties, barbecues and other fun summer food-heavy festivities.

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