by A’verria Martin, Ph.D.

Special Announcement: Please note that we will no longer have an 8:00 am class on Saturday’s at Mission Bay.

Happy 4th of July 619! With grilling and picnic season truly underway, I started thinking about how to remain healthy while still enjoying these summer traditions. I realized that it is necessary to abandon fried foods, potato chips, and fat laden salads—read: traditional potato salad and macaroni salad—and refocus on foods that make you feel good inside and out. To start, consider bringing cut-up fruit—think fruit kabobs—and vegetables to share and have hummus and/or (Greek) yogurt based dips instead of heavy mayonnaise based dips. In addition, choose lean meats instead of fattier cuts and use (low-sodium) spice rubs as an alternative to sauces to marinate meat.

So without further ado, I want to offer up some of my favorite summer time recipes!


Cucumber Caprese Salad


• 2 cucumbers
• 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (about 30)
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
• 1 cup fresh mozzarella (I like to use the little balls)
• 1 avocado
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• Salt and pepper to taste


1. Wash the cucumbers and dry them off. Cut into 1/4-inch slices, then cut those in quarters so you’re left with triangular-shaped cucumber pieces.
2. Wash and dry the tomatoes. Cut them in quarters.
3. Dice the avocado.
4. Place the cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, basil, and mozzarella in a bowl. Pour on the oil, vinegar, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
5. Serve immediately.

Chickpea, Carrot, and Currant Salad


• 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed
• 2 cups shredded carrots
• 1 cup currants
• 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
• 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon orange juice
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
• 1/2 teaspoon coriander
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
• salt and pepper to taste


1. Mix the chickpeas, carrots, and currants in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients. Pour this mixture over the chickpeas, carrots and currants. Mix well and refrigerate at least one hour in a sealed container before enjoying.

Confetti Slaw with Poppy-Seed Dressing

• Cider vinegar
• Honey
• Dijon mustard
• Fresh dill
• Poppy seeds
• Olive oil
• Green cabbage
• Red cabbage
• Matchstick carrots


1. Mix all ingredients together and serve!

Quinoa with Chickpeas and Tomatoes


• 1 cup quinoa
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1 ¾ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
• 1 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas) – drained
• 1 tomato, chopped
• 1 clove garlic – minced
• 3 Tbsp lime juice
• 4 Tbsp olive oil
• ½ tsp. ground cumin
• ½ tsp. chopped fresh parsley
• Salt and pepper to taste


1. Rinse quinoa. Bring the quinoa, salt, and vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the quinoa is tender – approx. 20 minutes.
2. Once done, stir in the remaining ingredients and serve.