If you're like us, you spend a lot of time dreaming of the beaches of Cozumel or Cape Cod, where you'll while away the afternoons with your toes in the sand and a tropical drink at your side. But even those of us stuck at home can still get into vacation mode by slowing down to enjoy the lazy days of summer-and sampling the world's best beach food. From grilled fish tostadas to slimmed-down banana splits, our recipe collection will send you to the seaside, even if you're just picnicking by the pool.
Summer should always be a break from routine, but there's no need to stop eating well. While those people on the next beach blanket are gorging on greasy French fries and double-chocolate shakes, you can indulge in refreshing ceviche, a tropical shake (make it even healthier by swapping the whole milk in the recipe for skim and omitting or cutting back on the sugar), or an easy, low-cal paella that'll transport you and your guests to Barcelona. Longing for a lobster roll? Shellfish goes hand in hand with summer; most varieties are low in fat and, like all fish, packed with protein. Just keep an eye on preparation (mango takes the place of mayonnaise in our light lobster salad).
The Beachside Seafood Grill
The Boardwalk Drink Stand
The Dessert Cabana
A couple of tips for a beach blanket bonanza:
Befriend Your Local Fishmongers
Their catch of the day can be the star of your dinner table tonight. Remember that many recipes can easily accommodate substitutions. Revel in the bounty of farmers' markets. And, as always, buy local and buy fresh: The healthiest meals start with the best ingredients.
Choosing Safe Seafood
While seafood can be an integral part of a healthy diet, it is important to choose it carefully, both for one's own health and the health of the environment. A great resource for information on buying and eating seafood is the Environmental Defense Web site, Oceans Alive.
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