Monday, July 11, 2011

Make Summertime Cravings Work For You

Have you found yourself craving cool-temperature meals and water-laden foods, like fruits?  These are the signs of a summer appetite.  Luckily, many of these choices are healthier for you and probably include more fruits and veggies.

Eating more fruits and vegetables should be a year-round goal.  So why not make summertime a jumpstart into healthier habits for you?

Here are some tips and ideas --

  • Pick seasonal fruits and vegetables that you crave and build a meal around them.  For example, you start with sliced strawberries and nectarines, along with cooked squash, and then you tack on rice with organic edamame and a slice of whole grain bread.  Get thinking fruits and veggies first.
  • Use online recipe sites to think of new and better ways to use vegetables.  While fruits are often exciting and tasty all by themselves, many times veggies need a boost.  Try new ways of presenting them to your palette that will leave you wanting more -- either as a side dish or part of the main entree.  Some favorite sites to peruse -- epicurious.com and allrecipes.com
  • Visit your local farmer's market.  Most communities have a local farmer's market once a week during the summer months.  If you haven't visited yours yet, try it -- visit localharvest.org for schedules.  Fruits and veggies tend to be really fresh and tasty, leaving a sense memory in your brain that healthy food tastes great too.  
  • Get creative with salads.  There are so many ways to make salads beyond lettuce and tomato.  Other fruits can replace the tomato, making for exciting new tastes -- like strawberries, nectarines, plums, and peaches.  Add avocados, onion slices, cucumbers, corn kernals, zucchini, snap peas, cooked beets.  Try new combinations.  And, all-fruit salads are wonderfully easy to make.
  • Layer veggies in sandwiches.  Who wants to come home and cook up a warm meal on a warm day?  Sandwiches are a delightful alternative, especially when you can layer in thin-sliced vegetables to add variety.  Try cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, radishes, mushrooms, avocados, and spinach. 
  • Make fruit drinks.  Instead of purchasing flavored drinks, make your own.  It's a bit old fashioned but easy.  Fill a blender with water, leaving enough space for some cut-up fruit and a bit of sugar.  Liquify.  And you've got a natural fruit drink.  The more fruit you add, the more smoothy-like it becomes.  Try strawberries, melons, peaches, raspberries -- basically any fruit.  
  • Have fun with homemade popsicles.  Pour the same make-your-own fruit drink (above) into a basic popsicle mold.  Freeze.  And you've got a cool treat.  Kids love doing this, especially when they get to experiment with flavors. 


 

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