Whether you like it or not, bikini season is nearly here. But before you start stressing about having to shop for a new bathing suit (we have 111 fabulous swimsuit ideas!) or wearing a cute little sun dress, keep in mind you still have plenty of prep time left. If exercise is not your problem, but eating better is, these 10 recipes should help you reach your bikini-wearing best without leaving you feeling deprived or hungry.
1. Chicken and Vegetable Frittata: What makes frittatas so terrific is that you can put anything you want in them and they are almost always low in calories and carbs, but high in protein and healthy fats. Not to mention you can cook it ahead of time and have plenty for days. In this recipe, chicken and nearly every vegetable under the sun is included as well as some garlic and shallots to give it some kick.
2. Banana French Toast Bake: Slimming down doesn’t mean giving up some of your favorite foods. This skinny version of French toast is deceiving because of its rich, sweet taste yet it has half the calories of regular French toast. Whole wheat buns, low-fat cream cheese, egg whites and almond milk keep this recipe full of protein without going overboard on the carbs and fat. It’s so good, your kids will want you to make this every morning for breakfast.
3. Greek Chicken Stuffed Pitas: If you’re a fan of Greek food, you're going to love this packed pita with chicken, cucumber, onions, avocado and, of course, Tzatziki sauce made with non-fat Greek yogurt. This will be your new favorite lunch sandwich once you sink your teeth into it. (via Whats Gabby Cooking)
4. Healthy Bean and Bulgur Salad: Nothing is missing from this salad that is filled with black beans, garbanzo beans, whole wheat bulgur and lots of vegetables. Garlic, chili powder and cumin add a unique taste to this already delicious salad that won’t leave you hungry an hour later.
5. Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken: Yes, you can have both a creamy and healthy dish all in one without going overboard with calories. That’s because this slow cooker recipe has everything you want and nothing you don’t. The low-fat cream cheese and fat-free cream of chicken soup give this dinner recipe its thick and creamy consistency. The best part? All you have to do is throw it all in the slow cooker and let it brew throughout the day so it’s ready by supper time.
6. Veggie and Turkey Meatballs: You may want to pass on the pasta, but that doesn’t mean you have to pass on the meatballs too. This healthy version of an Italian favorite combines ground turkey, carrots, zucchini, whole wheat breadcrumbs and some spices to give you that authentic Italian flare without the super high carb count. Swap your noodles with quinoa, tofu noodles, or spaghetti squash to keep the traditional taste while slashing unnecessary carbs.
7. Baked Zucchini Chips: When those cravings for something salty and crunchy hit, skip the usual carb-filled potato chips. Instead, give these zucchini chips a try. With only three basic ingredients and hardly any calories, you could eat twice or even three times the amount of those greasy potato chips. Plus, you will reap the healthy benefits of the zucchini.
8. PB and Fruit Protein Balls: Here’s a snack that tastes more like a dessert, and the best part is that you don’t need to do any baking. Simply mix and roll all the ingredients, including peanut butter, dried fruit, vanilla protein powder and oats into one inch balls and then freeze them in a container. You won’t even need to thaw them before you eat them. Just pop one in your mouth and enjoy!
9. Banana Ice Cream: You may think there is no way you can enjoy ice cream while trying to get bikini ready, but you absolutely can. And it doesn’t get simpler than a one-ingredient recipe. Peel your banana, cut it up and freeze. Once frozen, run it through a processor until it’s smooth. You can add cinnamon, dark chocolate chips, peanut butter—whatever you want.
10. Fudge Brownies: Brownies and bikini prep all at once? Yup. The secret is in the recipe—applesauce, cocoa powder, one percent milk and a low sugar content. At only 104 calories a piece, you won’t feel deprived while enjoying these sinfully good and carb-friendly treats.
While you may have to lay off some of the heavy carb hitters like bread and pasta in order to fit into that new bikini, you definitely don’t have to give up enjoying good tasting foods—especially when they are filled with healthy ingredients like these. Enjoy these, and many other “skinny” recipes and beach and bikini season will be your new favorite time of year!