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From Harley Pasternak: Four (Healthy!) Summer Recipes That’ll Make You Feel Like You’re on Vacation

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Harley Pasternak is a celebrity trainer and nutrition expert who has worked with stars from Halle Berry and Lady Gaga to Robert Pattinson and Robert Downey Jr. He’s also a New York Times best-selling author, with titles including The Body Reset Diet and The 5-Factor Diet. His new book 5 Pounds is out now. Tweet him @harleypasternak.

Everyone knows that fruits and vegetables are healthy, but if you follow my blog or have read my books, you don’t frequently hear me recommend tropical fruits, which include bananas, mangoes, papaya, pineapples and several others. For one, I mostly recommend eating fruits with edible skin like apples, pears, and berries, as they have more fiber and as a result are more filling. Most tropical fruits don’t have edible skin.

The second reason is that tropical fruits are typically high in sugar. Even though we’re talking about natural sugars in the fruit and not added sugars, a ton of sugar isn’t beneficial to your body, no matter the source. Plus, they’re usually more calorically dense than other varieties.

That being said, variety is never a bad thing, especially when it comes to fruits and veggies. Tropical fruits can be a delicious and nutritious addition to our diets and also have a ton of benefits, especially when they’re in their peak season as most are now. Tropical fruits are also loaded with a variety of vitamins, antioxidants and beneficial enzymes.

Here are some delicious and healthy recipes to incorporate these seasonal stars into your diet.

Caribbean Kale Smoothie
Serves 1

If you’re not a fan of leafy greens, this one is for you! The sweetness of the banana and mango and the tropical aroma of the coconut mask the kale. Plus, mango is loaded with vitamins A and C.

1 cup chopped kale
1 small frozen banana, chopped
1 cup frozen mango chunks
2 tbsp. unflavored protein powder
½ tsp. coconut extract
1 cup ice cubes
½ cup unsweetened almond milk or nonfat dairy milk

Place all ingredients in blender and blend. Add water if necessary to achieve desired consistency.

Black Bean and Lime Mango Salad
Serves 1

Between the avocado, lime and mango, this salad just tastes like summer. The black beans are full of protein and fiber, the creamy avocado provides some healthy fat, the mango some sweetness and the lime a citrus tang. For added color and presentation, serve on a bed of chopped lettuce or baby arugula.

1 tsp. grated lime peel
3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup rinsed and drained canned black beans
½ cup chopped cucumber
½ cup chopped fresh mango
¼ cup chopped avocado
Salt, black pepper and ground cumin to taste

In medium serving bowl, whisk lime zest, juice and oil until blended. Add beans,
cucumber, mango, and avocado; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cumin.

Hawaiian Chicken Skewers
Serves 6

These skewers are easy and crowd-pleasing. Pineapples are the only fruits that feature power-enzyme bromelain, which has health and functional benefits. Bromelain has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, and acts as a digestive enzyme. That same digestive enzyme also tenderizes meat, which is why you’ll find it’s so welcome in marinades and at barbecues.

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (some stores have pre-cut to kebab size; that’s fine, too)
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 fresh pineapple
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk together soy sauce, olive oil and garlic in a large glass bowl. Peel pineapple and chop into 1½-in. chunks. Set aside three chunks and refrigerate the rest. Chop and crush the pineapple (and any remaining juice) and add to the bowl. Set aside 3 tbsp. of the mixture for brushing. Do not mix this with the chicken, as it will be used for basting.

Chop chicken into large chunks — as close to the size of the pineapple chunks as possible. Place in bowl and cover (or transfer to a large Ziploc bag) to marinate for at least four hours.

If using wooden skewers, soak for 20-30 minutes. Heat outdoor grill. Remove chicken and pineapple from the refrigerator and skewer, alternating chicken and pineapple; season with salt and pepper. Cook on the grill, basting and flipping occasionally with set-aside mixture until fully cooked. Serve.

Pina Colada Smoothie
Serves 1

A healthier (and alcohol-free) spin on the classic blended cocktail featuring America’s favorite fresh fruit, the banana. Perhaps most famous for their potassium content, bananas are also chock-full of free-radical fighting antioxidants, vitamin B6, and magnesium.

1 orange, peeled
1/3 cup lite coconut milk
1 scoop whey protein powder
1 banana
1 cup pineapple chunks (fresh, not canned)

Place all ingredients in blender and blend. Add water if necessary to achieve desired consistency.

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