By Hayley Bridges
No school. Sleepovers. Beaches. Pools. Camps. Flip Flops. Barbecues. Lemonade. Sunscreen. Sand castles. Warm air. Sun. Fun. Memories. Summer is one of the best seasons of the year and it’s just around the corner! Whether you have the summer filled with fun vacation plans or just plan on spending time with your kids at home there is no way you can go wrong. Or so you thought…
During this fabulous time of the year it is often hard to stick to a healthy lifestyle. This seems strange since summer is a perfect time for fruit and lighter meals. Even so, sometimes it’s hard to say no to yummy chips and dip, barbecue and sweet treats. And it’s not only a challenge to make sure you stay on track, but since your kids may not always be with you, it’s hard to keep track of what they eat too. So when you are invited to a birthday, barbecue or pool party etc., go ahead, be the parent that brings the delicious and nutritious food and beverage. Also, be sure those summer cocktails aren’t wracking up your calorie count by looking for healthier versions and substitutes.
Here are a few of our summer secrets to help make sure you and your family stay healthy!
Ice, ice baby! If you and your kids have a favorite hot beverage, instead of turning to sugary soda, just add ice to your favorite and hopefully healthier drink. Ice is also great for making shaved ice, which is a perfect alternative for ice cream. Iced tea, iced coffee, frozen hot chocolate or low-fat chocolate milk.
Smoothies are your best friends! Smoothies are one of the best ways to satisfy hunger and a sweet tooth at the same time. The possible ingredient list is endless…from milk to juice to fresh fruit to honey to Greek yogurt. These are a great addition to breakfast or a great midday snack and kids love them!
Hummus! Hummus is a perfect alternative to chips and dip, whether its store bought or homemade it is healthier than most other dips and super yummy. The best thing about this is that if you make your own, you can create your own flavors; all it requires is garbanzo beans, a food processor (or blender), olive oil, seasoning (garlic, pepper, cumin), lemon juice and Tahini. The flavor options are endless… avocado, sun-dried tomato, jalapeño, black olive and roasted red pepper to name a few.
Eat fresh fruit! With summer comes all different kinds of fruits in season: peaches, apricots, blackberries, boysenberries, honeydew, cantaloupe plus many more, check out a full list at http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/whats-in-season-summer. There are so many great ways to use these fruits, add them your salads, make grilled peaches for dessert, make a fruit glaze for your meat, make fruit salad or add it to your drinks!
Substitute! A great way to make dishes healthier is to substitute the unhealthy ingredients for healthy ingredients. For example potato salad calls for mayonnaise so go ahead and switch that out with Greek yogurt. Pinterest is a great tool for finding healthier substitutions. So, the next time you are invited to a summer BBQ and you need to bring something, look at the ingredients and see what you can do to make it healthier. There is almost always something that can be substituted!
Here’s a great summer salad recipe to get you started! Click on the image below.