Buffalo may not be known for its beaches, but we have a few. Beaver Island State Park is along the upper portion of the Niagara River in Grand Island, Fort Niagara State Park is along the lower portion of the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. There’s Sunset Bay along Lake Erie in Irving, Woodlawn State Park in Blasdell is also along Lake Erie.
The beautiful weather that Buffalonians long for all those long, cold winter months is here! The beaches will be opening soon, some are already open. It’s very affordable to spend the day at the beach with the family. You can buy an Empire passport for $65. The Empire pass gives you annual, unlimited day use of any New York State Park. The seasonal daily vehicle use fees rates for most New York State Parks is $7 for each car when the beach is open, $6 if the beach is closed. Non-profit buses $35, commerical buses $75. There is no vehicle use fee in the off-season.
Now you’re thinking about the beach and you want to lose a little weight to fit into that swimsuit? Lighten it up at the dinner table now, and all through the summer with these palate pleasing recipes.
Lentil sloppy joes: meatless, lower in calories and fat, higher in fiber, serve on a low carb bun or do without the bun and put on a Romaine or iceberg lettuce leaf.
Pecan orange chicken: this recipe is for two, but it can easily be doubled or tripled for a family dinner.
Mediterranean chicken with rosemary orzo: this recipe is for two, but it can easily be doubled for tripled for a family dinner.
Exploding tacquitos: this recipe is from Hungry Girl, but made over to be lower in sodium.
Salmon recipes: salmon is a heart-healthy fish, with Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fats. Lower in calories and good for you.
Babaganoush: a dip made from eggplant (similar to hummus), made without oil, lower in fat and calories. You can use this as a sandwich filling or spread also. Take a pita, fill it up with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, thinly sliced cucumber and a couple tablespoons of babaganoush for a delicious, lower calorie, lower fat lunch. Serve that same sandwich with a cup or bowl of vegan lentil soup and make it dinner.
Rachael’s Note: My vegan lentil soup was featured as a Heart Healthy recipe by Kaleida Health in March 2011. Chosen by the nutritionists at Kaleida Health, it was served in the cafeteria on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the recipe appears on their employee website.
Spicy baked tortilla chips: craving a little spice? These better-for-your, lower in fat and calorie baked tortilla chips will fill the bill. These are great with the babaganoush or any of the guacamole recipes that follow, or with my delicious salsa recipe.
Edamame guacamole: made with edamame and avocado, you won’t be able to tell the difference, but your waistline will
Mock-a-mole: made with peas and avocado, this version has a few more carbs than the edamame version, but it’s just as flavorful. You’ll also find another recipe for baked tortilla chips along with this recipe.
Need a little Latin spice? You can have it, and keep your waistline happy, too. Gazpacho, ceviche and salsa verde corn and black bean salad are up on the menu for hot summer nights. If you’re low-carbing or no-carbing, omit the corn in the salsa verde corn and black bean salad. Keep the beans, they’re high in fiber, and the carbs are good for you because they’re complex carbs, not simple carbs.
Sweeten things up, keep them cool and light with a great summer salad. Spinach salad with strawberries, fresh fruit salad with spinach and yogurt poppy seed dressing, or fresh fruit with poppy seed dressing. You can add a small grilled chicken breast to any of these salads to satisfy your protein craving and still keep your waistline happy.
And one more spinach and strawberry salad recipe. A little different than the above salad, this can also be paird with a small grilled chicken breast for lunch or dinner.
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