Splash into Summer with Pool Party Snacks

By Lindsey Paholski

Summertime means longer days and warmer weather, which brings about plenty of new opportunities to entertain family and friends by the pool. Although you might be tempted to break out the grill for some burgers and hot dogs, sometimes it’s best to reach for healthier, more nutritious foods to sustain you in the heat. Not to mention, with the physical demands of swimming you’ll need something light and easy to digest that won’t spoil in the heat. Luckily, there are plenty of dishes to choose from, so you can give your guests an accommodating variety of the five perfect pool party foods.

1. Vegetable and Fruit Platter

There’s nothing healthier or more refreshing than a plate full of raw fruits and vegetables. Include baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, and celery sticks on a plate surrounding a bowl of flavored hummus for dipping. Try a Mediterranean themed platter for an even fancier appetizer. Also add a plate of sliced fruit, including strawberries, pineapples, grapes, apples, watermelon, cherries and kiwi. Fondue, honey and yogurt are great dips for fruit.

2. Ham and Cheese

Another guaranteed crowd-pleaser is simple slices of ham and cheese, which can be coupled together using toothpicks. You don’t have to feel limited to just one type of meat or cheese either. Feel free to mix it up with turkey and cheddar, salami and Swiss, chicken and mozzarella, or whatever combination you’d like.

3. Chips and Five-Layer Dip

Chips and dip is a classic poolside dish, but most dips are composed largely of sour cream or mayonnaise, both of which are likely to spoil in high temperatures. For a healthier option that stands up to the heat, opt for homemade guacamole made with fresh avocados, and homemade salsa made of tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Serve with tortilla chips or pita wedges for a light, healthy snack.

4. Mini Peach and Pesto Pizzas

A lighter and more balanced alternative to the traditional Italian dish, mini peach and pesto pizzas are easy to make and fun to eat. Rachel Ray recommends first gathering the following ingredients:

1 clove garlic

1 cup fresh basil (loosely packed)

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tsps. red wine vinegar

8 square pita bread slices

2 tomatoes, slices into wedges

2 small peaches, sliced into wedges

Salt and pepper

Chop the garlic in a food processor, then add in the basil, pecans, olive oil, parmesan, vinegar, salt and pepper. Puree into a homemade pesto sauce. Spread a teaspoon of pesto onto each pita square and top with overlapping tomato and peach slices. Sprinkle extra basil onto the pizza and season with salt.

5. Walking Tacos

Half the mess and twice the flavor of burgers on the grill, walking tacos save you time while providing a delicious, portable snack that everyone will love. Simply gather together several lunch-size bags of Doritos, taco seasoning, salsa, sour cream, and shredded lettuce. Prepare beforehand by grilling a couple of pounds of ground beef, then set up all of the ingredients like a buffet table. Guests can spoon ingredients into their Doritos bag and eat it all together with a plastic fork.

Whether you live in Michigan or Florida, this summer is going to be a hot one, and that means hydration and nutrition are the highest priority– next to fun, of course. These five recipes ensure a healthy, light snack for you and the whole summer crew, so you can ignore the 30-minute rule and spend more time enjoying the warm weather and relaxation.

 

 

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