Posted on 06/18/2013
Summer is in full swing and with it comes summer eating. Summer eating contains all the beautiful bounties of fresh produce, which are in ample supply from June to August. Cookouts and picnics fill our mealtimes. Meals are lighter and easier to prepare...you can throw a few things together and suddenly you have a meal in just a few minutes! One of my favorite “go to” items for summer gatherings at my home is big, mixed greens salads with a variety of vegetables and freshly made dressing with my garden herbs. I also enjoy serving guests roasted vegetables with my fresh herbs. I like to serve guests fresh berries and mint for dessert.
Along with summertime also comes some not so great foods...ice cream, hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages and ribs to name a few. But, no food should be entirely off limits, as long as it is enjoyed in reasonable moderation. Moderation and portion control is key in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you consume a great deal of fresh fruits and vegetables, it is okay to have a hamburger once in a while. It’s just not something you want to eat every day.
Fresh is best and there’s not a better time of year than summer to experience it in the Midwest! The following produce is popping up and can be enjoyed with minimal preparation: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, rhubarb, salad greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn, peaches, melons, squash...the list is nearly endless.
If you have children at home, you can make mealtime fun and educational by including them in preparing and shopping for food. Try new produce at each grocery store visit, go online and learn more about the history of it, as well as the nutritional profile of it. Include that information during mealtime or during preparation. Kids love information and crave it. They also love to help. Help continue their learning outside the classroom while on summer vacation and expose them to new foods as much as possible. You can even search for new, healthy recipes together online. Make it a family affair and include the little ones as much as possible. This will foster a lifelong interest in healthy food.
Another fun activity you can do as a family is to go to your nearest farmer’s market and pick up some delicious produce. It’s a great time and you’ll be glad you went. Meals can be easy with not much preparation. Often the farmers have recipes for you to pick up and try.
One of my favorite summer activities is going to our garden and picking fresh herbs, tomatoes and cucumbers...I’ve been known to eat them right out of the garden. If you have room for a small garden or container garden, plant a few herbs, tomato plants; you’ll be so glad you did. The kids can water them and pick the bounty for mealtime. It also costs much less to have these all season long than buying them at the store or farmer’s market.
The next play date at your house, freeze some blueberries and grapes, they are delicious treats and beat any store bought snack (grown-ups like them too). Kids also enjoy flavor infused water, so cut up a few ingredients like peaches or lemons and put them in a pitch to serve along with the frozen fruit. You can even serve fruit kabobs for lunchtime or snack, they are fun, colorful and tiny hands find them easy to make and eat.
If you’re not sure what to have for breakfast, lunch or dinner...then consider us, we use a great deal of fresh produce in our meals. Something we’re very proud of, and frankly, we wouldn’t have it any other way! It also saves you a trip to the grocery store...just some food for thought. Enjoy your week and get out there and enjoy some fresh produce!
She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.