It’s summer and one of the best times of year to start eating healthier! As a physical therapist I see the amazing results that a healthy diet can produce. Even better, those who are overweight often see weight loss results simply from changing their everyday eating habits. Weight loss then helps your overall health. Needless to say, you can see the ball rolling with one simple change… healthier summer eating!
Summer means farmers’ markets and fresh fruits and vegetables. Often you can buy fresh produce grown locally and enjoy the inexpensive freshness on your tables. Picnics aren’t picnics without fresh fruits like watermelon and vegetables like corn on the cob. Think about eating from your local growers before buying from large markets that buy from as far away as half way around the world. Spending time in transport definitely influences the freshness of some of your super market type stores. Everyone knows that the fresher the better when it comes to your produce and summer time gives you the opportunity to not only get fresh from the local farmer but have variety too as each fruit and vegetable has its own season.
So let’s share some great picnic favorite recipes we’ve created ourselves or found for you to get you enjoying more fruits and veggies this summer.
For the Fourth of July we have some great Red, White, & Blue recipes to celebrate your freedom. Some of our recipes are simple and easy to prepare for those who may be limited in their abilities to cook for themselves. Here’s some of our favorites!
Firecracker Fruit Sticks
Creating a red, white, & blue themed treat can make eating your fruit fun and cooling with this simple recipe. To make the recipe easier we use organic frozen fruits; however, if you are up to it you can buy fresh produce to wash & freeze ahead.
1 bag frozen organic red raspberries or strawberries
1 bag frozen pineapple chunks or cut & freeze banana circles
1 bag frozen organic blueberries
1 pack wooden skewers
The trick is to keep the fruit frozen so it is easy to work with. Simply push the skewer through the middle of each piece of fruit in the order listed; created red, white, & blue colors. Place in a zipper locking freezer bag and freeze until you are ready to serve.
- Serve with a store bought fruit dip
- Drizzle with organic honey to add a little sweetness
- Sprinkle with just a touch of real sugar
- Squirt a small dollop of real whipped cream on top of the firecracker
Or our favorite way to eat them…. Just like they are, cool frozen flavor on a stick!
Fruit ‘n Pudding Parfait
1 Cup from a 6pk. of refrigerated pudding cups, any flavor you want (choose an organic style, low fat, or sugar free – whatever you prefer)
½ Cup Fresh Berries (or organic frozen berries)
1 slice of store bought or fresh baked Angel Food Cake
Crumble 1/3 of your angel food cake in the bottom of a parfait glass or any clear glass (even a Mason™ Jar works). Layer berries across the cake, then layer ½ of your pudding cup on top of the berries, add another 1/3 of your cake across that, add the rest of your pudding cup, and the rest of the berries (save 3 or 4 for the top of your parfait). Top with the last 1/3 of your angel food cake and a small dollop of real whipped cream (from a can is fine… just remember to limit the amount). Place the remaining 3 or 4 berries on top for a special looking delicious parfait.
What a great way to combine grilled pineapples & lean hamburgers off the grill for a touch of amazing flavor. If you’re not grilling out you can bring out the caramelized sweetness of fresh pineapple slices on the stovetop too. Simply spray a little nonstick cooking spray and place the pineapple slices on a hot griddle/pan. Cook your burgers and add those amazing fresh toppings.
1 lb. 90% Fat Free Ground Beef or Turkey
1 Tbl. Worcestershire Sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 Pineapple Slices
4 Thin Slice Bagels or Sandwich Thins or Whole Grain Bun (toasted if desired)
Teriyaki Sauce (if desired)
Combine ground meat, Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper. Form into patties and cook thoroughly. Place pineapple slices on an olive oil sprayed hot grill or pan. Cook until pineapples get golden brown on one side, then flip over. Grill until both sides are golden brown.
Prepare your hamburger by placing burger on bottom of thin bagel or sandwich thin or bun. Put a little teriyaki sauce on top of burger, add fresh lettuce, and add grilled pineapple slice. Place top of bagel/sandwich thin or bun on burger. Easy & delicious!
Add a side salad for a complete and delicious Hawaiian flavored dinner!
Looking for some great recipes online?
- Try this NY Times favorite of mine – Throw Another Melon on the Barbie – for a great alternative to your typical burgers!
- Breakfast with a total twist on healthy – Triple Layered Apple Breakfast Sandwich. Warning these may take a few ingredients you will need to purchase on your journey to a healthier lifestyle but they’re ingredients that will become totally addictive and healthy! Yes, that is possible.
- Sure, salad is healthy; but have you ever made a Watermelon Salad? This is so chuck full of flavor your mouth is going to do a happy dance all day!
- Check out these 4th of July recipes to get your patriotic juices flowing. Most of them are healthy and if it’s not, it’s a holiday. Sneak a little and move around a little extra on the 5th of July to make up for it!
So let’s make this summer a summer of great grillin’ and totally healthy fillin’ eats! If you’re taking better care of yourself this summer, share some of your favorite healthy recipes! Remember, they don’t have to be difficult, they can be “semi-homemade” and definitely easy is great for everyone right?
Dedicated To Your Health & Well-being (and safety),