As we gradually turn the corner toward the end of another Texas summer, classic summer dishes are still on the menu; these selections can be a delicious way to endure the blistering summer heat and enjoy the season.

The traditional recipes, however, can be loaded with excess calories, sugar, sodium and fat, which may result in regret and not contentment.

The good news is most of these dishes can be made lighter and healthier so they are not only delicious, but good for you, too! Here are two recipes to try:

7-Layer Mexican Dip


16-oz. can refried black beans (or make your own)

2 cups fat-free sour cream

1-1/4 oz. pkg. low-sodium taco seasoning mix

2 avocados, pitted, peeled and mashed

2 teaspoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons garlic, minced

2 cups shredded 2% Cheddar cheese

4 green onions, diced

1/4 cup black olives, sliced, drained

1 tomato, diced

Organic blue corn tortilla chips


Spread beans in the bottom of a 10” round or square clear glass dish; set aside.

Combine sour cream and seasoning mix; spread over beans.

Mix avocados, lemon juice and garlic; layer over sour cream mixture.

Sprinkle with cheese

Top with onions, olives and tomato.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Light Italian Pasta Salad


1 (16 ounce) whole grain rotini

3 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

6 ounce container of crumbled feta cheese or cubed provolone

½ pound thinly sliced lean ham or turkey pepperoni

1 large green pepper, diced

1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained

1 (8 ounce) bottle Light Zesty Italian Dressing


1. Prepare pasta per directions on box.

2. When cooked, rinse with cold water and pat dry.

Allow to cool.

3. In a large bowl, combine pasta, tomatoes, cheese, ham, green pepper and olives.

4. Pour in salad dressing and toss to coat.

5. Let sit for a couple of hours in refrigerator for flavors to come together. If the salad sits overnight, you may need to add more Italian dressing.

Carey Stites is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and a Registered Dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition. Carey is currently the Registered Dietitian working with Wellstone in Harker Heights. Contact her at

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