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Spring into Summer Meals!

June 30, 2015 by HealthyFamilies BC

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Warm summer days always remind me of fresh cut grass, family barbeques and beach outings. With all those activities it’s no surprise that healthy eating can sometimes take a back seat. You’re likely spending less time indoors (which is a good thing!), planning, preparing, and cooking meals. And really…Who can turn down the outdoor barbeques and gatherings of family and friends?!

Here are a few tips to help make healthy eating easy so you can spend your time enjoying the great outdoors.

  1. Make salads into meals: Salads can be so much more than just lettuce and spring greens. Start by mixing in some whole grains such as quinoa, barley or wild rice for a source of energy, fibre and antioxidants. Add your favorite protein source– whether it’s chicken, lentils, black beans, eggs or salmon. Top it off with some fresh or dried fruit for a hint of natural sweetness. Lastly, sprinkle nuts and seeds for an added crunch, some fibre and healthy fats. Serve with a light dressing and enjoy! Click here for some great greens recipes!
  2. Grill your way to health: This summer, branch out beyond burgers and hotdogs. Why not try grilling some vegetables and fruit? Make your own Italian veggie skewers with a skewer and some mushrooms, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers marinated in a couple tablespoons of Italian vinaigrette. One of my favorite summer desserts is grilled peaches with Greek yogurt and honey dip– they are as easy as the name suggests and super tasty! For more ideas on vegetarian-friendly grill ideas click here.
  3. Reach for cool treats: Hot weather calls for cool treats! Homemade smoothies can be turned into popsicles. Frozen fruits and Greek yogurt can form the base to homemade “ice cream”. These treats are yummy, low in calories and full of vitamins and minerals! Make a strawberry banana “ice cream” by combining 1 cup each of frozen strawberries and bananas with ½ tsp of vanilla, and 2 Tbsp of Greek yogurt. Blend using a food processor until smooth and serve! Also try these recipes for kid-friendly popsicles adults can enjoy too!
  4. Take your snacks to go: Being active while enjoying the outdoors can make you hungry; and having a healthy snack on hand can prevent you from running out of energy. Why not take advantage of nature’s ‘fast-food’ and pack some fresh fruits like strawberries or plums? They’re an easy grab n’ go snack that can be eaten on their own, or paired with nuts, plain yogurt, or cheese and crackers. Fresh fruits provide a ton of vitamins, minerals, fiber and help keep you energized! For more easy snack ideas look here.
  5. Quench your thirst with water: A meal isn’t complete without a refreshing beverage. But be aware that juices and flavoured beverages can contain lots of sugar and calories, which can contribute to weight gain. Excess body weight can increase the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Water is the best beverage to satisfy thirst and stay hydrated, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with it. Try these simple fruit and herb combinations for a fresh take on hydration (adjust the amount based on personal preferences). You can also try these combinations with sparkling water for a bubbly alternative:
    • Strawberry & mint
    • lemon & raspberries
    • watermelon, cucumber & basil
    • grapefruit & rosemary

Got a healthy summer meal to share? We’d love to read about your favourite salad, snack and barbeque recipes.

Author's Bio: Today's blog is written by Nancy Chen. Nancy is currently completing her training to become a Registered Dietitian through the University of British Columbia and Provincial Health Services Authority. She has a passion for nutrition and health with a BSc in Nutritional Sciences and MSc in Human Nutrition. In her spare time, Nancy loves to try new recipes and enjoys the many outdoor activities Vancouver has to offer.

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Eat BC’s Best This Summer
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Recommended resources

Healthy Canadians: Healthy Summer Eating
Healthy Canadians: Eat Well Recipes (Summer)
EatRight Ontario: Recipes

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