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Lighter Foods for SummerLighter Foods for Summer

We talked a few weeks ago about grilling food safety. And summer is the perfect time to focus on those healthy eating goals. Grilled foods can be a great low-calorie option. Grilled chicken, fish or shrimp can be wonderful light options for the summer.   Being mindful of the calorie dense items that often accompany a cookout.

Summer staples like coleslaw, pasta salad and potato salad are often heavy side dishes. Try lighter side dishes like this Herb Couscous Salad. Switching from a mayonnaise-heavy dressing, to a light herb and lemon dressing will add tons of fresh summer flavors and healthier monounsaturated fats from olive oil.

Herb Couscous Salad

Serves 12

  • 3 cups uncooked Israeli (or pearl) couscous
  • 3 3/4 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/3 cup fresh herbs (try a combination of mint, basil, and dill), minced
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • olives, optional

In a large pot, bring water to a boil.  Add salt and couscous, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork when done.  Then mix in olive oil and lemon juice.

In a large serving bowl, toss the herbs, feta, and vegetables together.  Once the couscous has cooled slightly, toss everything together.  Serve at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.

Other variations

Try finding whole wheat couscous for extra fiber. Use quinoa for a gluten-free version. Skip the feta for a vegan version, and add pine nuts or smoked almonds. Add chickpeas for protein to make a more substantial salad.

Nutrition Facts
Servings 12.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 324
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5 g 7 %
Saturated Fat 1 g 5 %
Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 4 mg 1 %
Sodium 71 mg 3 %
Potassium 95 mg 3 %
Total Carbohydrate 61 g 20 %
Dietary Fiber 1 g 4 %
Sugars 2 g
Protein 12 g 24 %
Vitamin A 14 %
Vitamin C 22 %
Calcium 4 %
Iron 2 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

What are your favorite potluck recipes?

How have you lightened up your summer meals? Let us know on the Sweet Life Wellness Facebook Page!

Ready to finally make progress on your health and wellness goals? Have a talk with Kay.  Call to book your complimentary coaching call with Kay today at:  301-869-1787

Blog Author:Lauren Seat - Sweet Life Wellness Intern
Lauren Seat
Sweet Life Wellness Student Intern
Dietetics student at University of Maryland-College Park


  1. Marcason W (2015) Clean Grilling. In: Accessed 7 Jun 2017
  2. Marcason W (2015) Complete List of Cooking Temperatures. In: Accessed 7 Jun 2017