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30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 22: Switch up your appetizers with something healthy

We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.

30 Days to Summer Fit

It’s day 22, and those healthy habits are starting to stick. Let’s take it further by tackling one of the toughest health hurdles: appetizers. Step aside, onion rings. We’ve got insider tips from Chef Jessica Albertson to tease that appetite with fresh and flavorful foods sure to satisfy to help with today’s challenge: Switch up your appetizers with something healthy!

Recipes for easy weeknight meals don’t have to be one pot wonders or 3 ingredients or less, though this is a bonus. A little commitment goes a long way. Make that weekend trip to the farmers market worth it and buy the best and brightest from the season. The colors and smells will keep your cooking and eating inspired through the whole week.

30 Days to Summer Fit, Day 22: Switch up your appetizers

Another aspect of Adaptable recipes is having a few stellar recipes that you know aren’t one-trick ponies. Spring Pea and mint dip has many more functions than just a vehicle for pita chips! Put some love into these functional, unfussy bites and let the ingredients speak for themselves.

Spring Pea and Mint Dip

Serves 2

  • 2 Cups fresh shelled Peas, rinsed
  • 4 TBS Olive oil
  • 1 TSP Lemon juice
  • 1 TBS Chopped Mint and/or Basil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring a medium pot of water to boil, and add Peas. Cook 4 – 5 minutes, until tender but still bright green.

Drain peas and shock in bath of ice water for 5 minutes. This will stop the cooking and preserve the color.

Drain peas again and let dry out for a few minutes.

Place peas in a food processor or in a medium bowl and use a stick blender.

Add the olive oil to the peas and lightly crush them in the processor. Do not puree!

Scrape out the peas into a bowl.

Stir in lemon juice, chopped herbs, salt and pepper.

Serve chilled or room temperature.


  • Use as dip with veggies and pita chips.
  • Use as a sandwich spread.
  • Spoon over warm whole wheat noodles with olive oil and parmesan cheese.
  • Stir in some Crème Fraiche and use to top fish tacos.

What’s the best part about a super adaptable recipe? It’s perfect for anything from a workday slump to a big family bash. Father’s Day is fast approaching, signaling another day of BBQs, beverages and sweets. Don’t fret, rise to the occasion and do what you do best, new healthy you, and infuse your summer BBQ with a fresh, light appetizer, perfect for a party.

Share your nourishing nibbles with us in the comments below or use #30DaysToSummerFit.

Jessica Albertson trained at The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, and has worked in NYC restaurants Aquavit, The James Beard House, Public Restaurant, and Braeburn Restaurant. In 2011, she began working with the non-profit companyWellness In The Schools, teaching children’s nutrition education and cooking classes, and working with the NY School Food System to bring fresh foods and scratch-cooking into public schools.

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  • I love this idea and will be trying this tonight. I may even try subbing out edamame when I can’t find the peas.
    This morning, I made my own fresh smoothie using farmer’s market peaches, a fresh banana and a small container of non-fat vanilla yogurt. By measuring out my ingredients (yes, I went and bought a counter-top scale…) and looking at what I was putting in calorie wise, I left out the usual high-calorie suspect of a cup of oj and added a tablespoon of almond butter to get some added protein to keep me full. The fresh ingredients make me feel better about what I’m eating and I don’t have to worry about the processed food stuff.

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