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Eating light for guiltless summer entertaining

Family Features | 5/16/2013, 5 p.m.

Counting carbs for swimsuit season doesn't mean you have to miss out on the sun and fun. Savor every moment with these tips for summer entertaining on a diet.

Ambiance -- Lighting and décor are an essential part of any festive gathering. Keep ambient lighting simple with scentless candles, paper lanterns or luminaires. Another easy way to set the mood is with a party playlist. Invite guests to RSVP with their favorite songs and include them on your soirée soundtrack.

Light and Simple -- One of the benefits of summer entertaining is being able to take advantage of gorgeous weather during the day and evening. When dining al fresco, it is important to keep meals light and simple, especially when watching your figure. A low-carb diet, such as the Atkins Diet, inspires great meal options that are diverse and flavorful for summer months.

Beverages -- Summer means sunshine and longer days, so it's important to hydrate. Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day, especially when outside. Add a festive twist by infusing water with different flavors like mint, lemon and orange. If you're looking for something a little more exciting, try white wine sangria, which is a light, low-carb drink option.

Seasonal -- When entertaining, consider using plenty of seasonal vegetables and flowers, such as avocados, cucumbers and hydrangeas. Sticking to seasonal ingredients and décor will help keep your budget down and play up the natural tastes and smells of summer.

These delicious, Atkins-friendly Summer Rolls are a great recipe to serve during summer soirées becasue the traditional rice paper wrapping is replaced with lettuce leaves and incorporates fresh seafood and vegetables.

Summer Rolls
Servings: 4, active time: 25 minutes, total time: 50 minutes

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon dark (toasted) sesame oil
1 small red chile pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 large green or red leaf lettuce leaves
1 medium carrot, julienned
1 small daikon radish, julienned
1/2 cup mung bean sprouts
1/4 cup peanuts, toasted and chopped

Combine lime juice, sesame oil, chile and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add shrimp; simmer until pink, about 3 minutes. Drain; add to lime juice mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate until cool, about 10 minutes.

Set lettuce leaves on a counter with stem ends toward you. Press against the "spines" until you hear a crunch to make it easier to roll.

Divide carrot, daikon and sprouts among leaves, setting them in the centers toward the bottom. Divide shrimp among leaves; sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Roll lettuce from the bottom up.

Place each roll, seam side down, on a sheet of plastic wrap; wrap tightly and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Remove wrap; cut rolls in half and serve.

Per Serving: Net Carbs: 4 grams; Total Carbs: 6 grams; Fiber: 2 grams; Protein: 15 grams; Fat: 7 grams; Calories: 150

For more recipes, tips, ideas and free tools, visit www.atkins.com.

From "The New Atkins for a New You Cookbook" by Colette Heimowitz. Copyright (c) 2011 by Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. Printed by permission of Touchstone Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.