Healthy Summer Swaps for Entertaining Friends and Family

August 4, 2021
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Summer is guest season here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest! My house is brimming with activity this time of year and I always have hungry guests to feed after a busy day on the lake. Here are some of my best summer swaps to keep everyone healthy, happy, and hydrated.

Summer Sips

Instead of sugary sodas I keep plenty of cooling beverages on hand. Try infusing a pitcher of purified water with a large handful of fresh mint, sliced cucumber, lemon, or limes. Make a refreshing hibiscus iced tea – so good for the heart, and delicious, too! Just put several bags of organic hibiscus tea in a large jar filled with water, set it out in the sun for a couple of hours, and pour over ice. Keep some sparkling mineral water on hand, like Perrier or San Pellegrino, and pour over ice with a wedge of lemon or lime, a sprig of mint, or a dash of unsweetened cranberry juice.

And, for a bright morning boost on a busy summer day, swap your sugary, calorie-laden latte or Frappuccino for my Longevity Blaster boasting Purity Coffee, whey protein, cacao powder, coconut oil and fat burning spices to keep your metabolism humming along. You’ll find the recipe on page 131 in my new book, Radical Longevity.

Snazzy Snacks

I keep a big bowl of organic, gluten-free tortilla chips on the table for an easy nibble while dinner is being prepared. Siete and Late July are my favorite brands. A side of organic salsa for dipping and a pile of paper plates and napkins nearby keeps things simple. I also place small bowls of omega-rich nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts and pecans on the table to grab for a quick bite. 

Instead of commercial dips with added preservatives, too much sodium and unhealthy fats, try setting out a bowl or organic hummus with gluten free crackers, such as Mary’s Gone Crackers.

When I have time, I like to mix up a simple dip to serve with sliced jicama, carrot and celery sticks. Instead of sour cream, try plain Greek yogurt for less calories and a hefty punch of protein. Just mix 1 cup of yogurt with 1 tablespoon each of lemon and lime juice, 1 garlic clove, minced, ½ teaspoon dried mustard, and 1 teaspoon dried basil or herb of choice for a savory and satisfying snack.

Comfort Cuisine

When a little comfort food is in order, I like to take a favorite traditional dish and swap some of the less than healthy ingredients for better ones, like in my lasagna recipe.


Lasagna Recipe

(Gluten-free, Dairy-free)

Makes 12 servings

  • 2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped leeks, white and light green parts
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 jars organic marinara sauce, such as Muir Glen brand
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 brown rice lasagna noodles, such as Tinkyada Pasta Joy brand
  • 16 ounces dairy free cashew cheese, such as Miyokos Creamery Organic Cashew Milk Mozzarella
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ pound dairy free shredded mozzarella, such as Follow Your Heart or Violife brands
  • ¾ cup grated dairy free parmesan cheese, such as Violife brand
  1. Brown ground beef, leek and garlic in a large skillet. Stir in marinara sauce, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, salt and 2 tablespoons of parsley. Cover and simmer while preparing noodles.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook rice noodles for 12 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine cashew cheese, egg, and remaining parsley.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. To assemble, spread 1 ½ cups meat sauce in the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Lay 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with ½ of the cashew cheese mixture. Top with 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella, and sprinkle with ¼ cup parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan. Lightly oil (with olive oil or coconut oil) one side of a piece of parchment baking paper and place over the top of the lasagna. Cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and parchment paper and bake an additional 15 minutes. Take out of oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

To keep your digestive system in top shape while enjoying summer foods, I recommend Y-C Cleanse from UNI KEY Health. Take one teaspoon in the morning ½ hour before breakfast and one teaspoon in the evening before bed. 

For more mouthwatering recipes, tips and targeted solutions to keep you strong and healthy over the long run, order your copy of Radical Longevity today. And be sure to check out my recent podcast with Dr. Sherrill Sellman on Hormonal Balance at any Age and my blog on Healthy Treats to Beat the Heat (Hint there’s ice cream involved!)

Y-C Cleanse - Uni Key® Health

Y-C Cleanse

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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Juanita

    Love all the snack ideas. They are so simple. My family will really go for them too.

  2. Bella

    I can’t wait to try this lasagna. I want to see my family’s reaction when I tell them how healthy it is too!

  3. Norma

    The yogurt dip sounds wonderful. Thanks

  4. Jackie

    Thanks for all the healthy snack ideas. I never know what to buy.


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