Hosting a Party for the Summer? Turn Temptation into Victory

We all love the taste of typical summer dishes, but we're not so fond of the calories they contain. Here, fitness, nutrition, and weight loss expert Warren Honeycutt shares four healthy recipes to prepare instead—and no, you won't have to sacrifice flavor.

If you're hosting a summer party, you're probably planning a gut-busting (and waistline-expanding) menu featuring classics like hamburgers and hotdogs, barbeque, baked beans, chips, and soda. (And don't forget the dessert table!)

Sure, you and your guests will love pigging out on these tried-and-true favorites, but you're painfully aware that no one will enjoy the extra pounds that might result from this calorie-laden spread—especially at the beginning of swimsuit season.

Relax, and stop Googling Arctic vacations that won't require you to expose any bare skin. Just in time for pre-weekend grocery shopping, Warren Honeycutt is here with some alternative (waistline- and taste bud-friendly!) options.

"If you want to host a great party without all of the calories, think substitutions," says Honeycutt, author of Get Lean for Life: 7 Keys to Lasting Weight Loss.  "And don't worry; today's healthy substitutions are the opposite of tasteless and forgettable. Your guests will thank you for serving such nutritious fare even as they're asking you for the recipes."

A respected expert in weight loss, fitness, and nutrition, Honeycutt knows what he's talking about.   Honeycutt offers personalized fitness training through his comprehensive Get Lean program, which features detailed fitness videos for exercising at the gym, at home, at the office, and while traveling; personalized meal plans; motivational material; and more.

Here, Honeycutt shares four recipes to make this summer. "A single-serving plate featuring each of these dishes (which includes two desserts) comes to around 395 calories," he points out. "Compare that to 1,200 calories for a traditional summer menu—and that's a conservative estimate!"

Four Healthy Recipe Substitutions

Lemon Chicken Kebab (156 calories; 16 grams of complete protein per serving)


16 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, uncooked, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/8 tsp cinnamon

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp salt, table

1/4 tsp ground pepper, black

1 medium green bell pepper, raw, chopped in 1-inch pieces

3 medium onions, raw, chopped in 1-inch pieces


Combine oil, lemon, cinnamon, garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss chicken cubes in marinade. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Thread skewers with chicken, onions, and green peppers. Grill or broil until golden; do not overcook. Serve with pita bread.

Mediterranean Cucumber Salad (56 calories per serving)


2 cups (8 fl oz) nonfat plain yogurt

2 cucumbers

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp whole pepper, black

1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped

1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Small amount of olive oil for drizzling (1 Tbs has 119 calories.)


Peel the cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, then into 1/4 inch slices. Add garlic to salt to make a paste. Stir yogurt into the paste. Add pepper, mint, and cilantro. Toss to mix. Drizzle with olive oil.

Calorie-Cheating Cheesecake, Your Way (Total calories: 700 [600 without yogurt topping]; 100 grams of protein)

Cheesecake Ingredients:

16 oz nonfat cottage cheese (measure out 2 cups with measuring cup if not purchased in 16 oz container)

3/4 cup liquid egg substitute

3 cups Splenda pourable (or Stevia, per your taste preference)

4 oz fat-free cream cheese

3 tsp vanilla extract

Cheesecake Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan with vegetable spray.

Cut cream cheese into small cubes. Combine with cottage cheese, egg substitute, Splenda, and vanilla in food processor and process until smooth. Pour into prepared pan and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake about 60 minutes (or until edges are slightly brown and contents set).

Prepare yogurt topping. Spread on top, then place on a plate (topping will drip) and refrigerate. When chilled, unclip side of pan and remove. Keep refrigerated.

Yogurt Topping:

2/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt

2/3 cup Splenda (or Stevia, per your taste preference)

Stir together and spread on top of cheesecake.


For chocolate cheesecake, add 1/3 cup cocoa and only 1 tsp of vanilla. (Note: Cocoa adds 80 calories so add or deduct as needed. Vanilla is 12 calories per teaspoon.)

For coconut cheesecake, add 6 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut.

Top with about 5 Tbsp of your favorite Smucker's Simply Fruit or Polaner All Fruit flavor, or fresh strawberries.

Cranberry Sorbet (45 calories per serving [about 4 oz])

Serves 8


3 cups low-calorie cranberry juice cocktail, divided

1 cup nonfat canned evaporated milk, cold

1 3-oz sugar-free low-calorie strawberry gelatin dessert packet


Bring 1 1/2 cups of the cranberry juice to boil in saucepan. In large bowl, combine with gelatin. Stir 2 minutes or until dissolved. Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups juice and milk. Pour into 13 x 9-inch pan. Freeze 1 1/2 hours or until frozen 1 inch from edges. Spoon into food processor container; cover. Process until smooth. Pour into bowl; cover. Freeze 3 hours or until firm. Scoop into dessert dishes.

Not just on Memorial Day but every day

"When you consider that a pork barbeque sandwich is around 600 calories, and apple pie à la mode is 450, you can see what a huge difference substitutions can make when you're trying to stay healthy," Honeycutt concludes. "And remember—not just on Memorial Day but every day—you always have the freedom to choose. Selecting substitutions can turn temptations into victories."

Warren Honeycutt


Warren Honeycutt is the author of Get Lean for Life: 7 Keys to Lasting Weight Loss. An expert in weight loss, fitness, and nutrition, he is a championship bodybuilder who has been a Southern Classic Physique Champion, two-time Mr. Tennessee, and six-time Mr. America finalist. Now, at age 62, he enjoys perfect health without any prescription medications and a physique that is the envy of most 25-year-olds. A popular speaker on fitness and nutrition topics, Honeycutt's expertise has been featured by NBC, CBS, ABC, LifeExtension, A Second Look at Sports, LiveStrong, Live Relentless, and more. To learn more. Get Lean for Life: 7 Keys to Lasting Weight Loss  - Get Honeycutt, Inc., 2014, ISBN: 978-1-5008011-7-5, $19.95, is available on Amazon.


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