My Food Fix: Skinny Summer Dips as shown on Fox 8

Summer is here! Time for hot BBQs, cool drinks and refreshing appetizers. Speaking of summertime foods, I did a WGHP Fox 8 segment on skinny dips last week.

It’s always fun to dish about dips and salsa, two favorite summer snacks. The problem with most dips–especially those made with cheese, cream cheese or sour cream–is the insane amount of calories and fat, which means a little dip adds up to a lot of calories pretty quickly.

Try these simple tips to lower the calories and fat–and “up” the nutrients–in your summertime dips without sacrificing taste.

WGHP Fox 8 segment

Easy Dip Tips

1. Bulk up with more veggies and fruit. Adding more vegetables and fruit to your dips and salsas pumps up the volume and fiber. Colorful sweet bell peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes add flavor with few extra calories. Berries, kiwi, mango, pineapple and mandarin oranges add sweetness to fruit- and veggie-based salsas. The extra fiber helps fill you up so you feel fuller longer, which may mean fewer trips to the BBQ spread.

2. Swap out fat for protein. Replace cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise with nonfat plain Greek yogurt or pureed cottage cheese. Both yogurt and cottage cheese are rich in protein and other nutrients (cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise are not). Trust me… you won’t miss the sour cream or cream cheese at all.

3. Serve smart dippers. Mix it up this year and serve raw vegetables as dippers instead of tortilla and potato chips. Celery, carrot and bell pepper sticks taste great with creamy dips, salsas, hummus and other bean dips. If you still want the chips, try multi-seed chips or whole grain crackers.

Skinny Summer Dips

Here are the dips I shared with Fox 8. They pair perfectly with raw vegetable sticks or something crunchier. Happy noshing!

Tomato-Avocado Salsa
1 (15-oz) box of diced tomatoes, divided
3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh scallions, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
½ jalapeno, chopped
¼ medium cucumber, chopped
Juice of half a lime
Salt and pepper, as desired

Drain tomatoes; save ¼ cup of juice and discard rest. Mix all ingredients together. Add ¼ cup tomato juice, as desired. Serve with multi-grain tortilla chips or as a topping for grilled fish or chicken.

Fruity Cinnamon Dip
2 cups strawberries, chopped into cubes
2 kiwi, chopped into cubes
1 (11 oz. can) mandarin oranges, halved
1 (8 oz. can) diced or crushed pineapple
1 Tbsp. scallions, finely chopped
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp sugar
Juice of half a lime

Mix all ingredients together. Add nonfat plain Greek yogurt for a creamy fruit dip. Serve with cinnamon-sugar whole wheat tortillas or serve as a topping for grilled fish or chicken.

Smoked Salmon Dip
4 oz. smoked salmon, flaked and cut
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. light mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
1 Tbsp. capers, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper, as desired

Mix all ingredients together. Serve with whole grain crackers, whole wheat crostini or raw veggies (celery, carrots and red bell peppers).

Cheesy Bean Dip
1 (15 oz.) fat-free refried beans
2 Tbsp. fresh scallions, chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 cup prepared salsa
3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup shredded low-fat Cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese

Heat beans with scallions and cumin until warm. Layer beans on bottom of bowl or dish. Top with a layer of salsa and cilantro, then yogurt on top of beans and end with final layer of cheese. Serve with blue or yellow corn tortilla chips, multigrain chips or raw veggies (bell peppers, broccoli and celery).

PLEASE SHARE: Do you have a favorite summer dip that’s tasty and nutritious? If so, I’d love to hear from you!