10+ Ways to Enjoy Fresh Produce and Be Healthy This Summer
Healthy and Fun Summer Time For Everyone
There are several reasons why I think summer is a great time for us to focus on establishing healthy habits. There is an abundant supply of affordable, fresh produce. The weather in most areas allows us to enjoy many outdoor activities, such as walking, hiking, biking and swimming. Vacation time makes it possible to be more flexible with schedules, which means we have more time to relax, de-stress and do physical activities for staying fit.
There are a lot of things that we can do during the sunny months. Setting a health goal can help us find more opportunities to eat healthy and be fit. To give you a headstart, find below 10+ quick ideas that you can ponder on to get some healthy inspirations.
What to Do With All the Fresh Summer Produce
1. If you haven’t visited the farmer’s market, now is the perfect time to pick up the freshest produce. Buy leafy greens, corn, green beans, tomatoes, zucchini, stone fruits and berries. Fresh fruits and vegetables taste so good that you and your family can enjoy eating a whole lot more.
2. Instead of sugary desserts, such as cookies and chocolates, choose to eat the seasonal fruits. Serve fresh and ripe berries, cantaloupe, watermelon, apricots, plums and peaches. For sure, you’ll love the natural sweetness and the dose of healthy nutrients.
3. Make salads with farm-fresh lettuce and serve them more often. You can be more creative by topping the salad greens with sweet corn, avocado, diced tomatoes and bits of feta cheese.
4. Sometimes, it’s too hot and you don’t feel like cooking. Why not just have a healthy picnic-style meal; toss together raw veggies including cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, zucchini and serve them with sliced whole-grain bread, cheese, olives, hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruits and hummus.
5. Grill some vegetables to enjoy a simple meal. After grilling the zucchini, eggplant, summer squash, mushrooms and bell peppers, you can chop and toss them together with pasta, brown rice, quinoa or farro. If you prefer to have tasty vegetarian-whole grain sandwiches, arrange the grilled veggies on the bread and use goat cheese or hummus as dressing.
6. Who doesn’t like fruit smoothies? They’re the perfect coolers to beat the summer heat. You just need some fresh fruits, such as apple, pineapple, banana, and berries, yogurt and milk. Make them even healthier by adding vegetables, such as spinach, carrots, ginger and beets. With all the natural sweetness, there’s no need to add sugar or maple syrup. The smoothies can also be made into frozen desserts that kids love. Just pour them into ice pop molds and freeze.
7. Charge up with a healthy breakfast made up of overnight oats topped with fresh fruits like cherries, nectarines or peaches, yogurt, chopped nuts or ricotta cheese. This is a hearty and refreshing alternative to a bowl of hot oatmeal.
8. Whip up great-tasting dips using fresh summer produce. Try making dips by mixing fresh herbs, artichoke pesto and Greek-yogurt. You can also make variations of hummus by adding beet, carrot-based blends, roasted red pepper and edamame.
9. Are you familiar with vegetable spiral slicers? With this $15 to $25 kitchen gadget, you can make low-calorie pastas and salads out of fresh summer produce, such as cucumbers, summer squash, carrots, beets and zucchini. You can look for delicious spiralizing recipes from the blog Inspiralized.
10. Keep yourself hydrated during the summer season. Make iced tea from scratch by preparing the unsweetened version and keeping one or two pitchers in the refrigerator. You can vary the flavor of your iced tea from mint to something fruity by adding maybe raspberry or pomegranate.
Go on a Fun Summer Adventure
You don’t have to wait for the apple picking season. You can go with your family and friends to a local orchard and have fun picking what’s ready for harvesting. Picking your own fruits, including berries and stone fruit, is fun and you get to pay less for them.
Not having any experience with planting should not stop you from starting a simple garden. Plant anything you want beginning with something easy to grow, perhaps a fresh herb like basil or a vegetable like cherry tomato. You will need a pot or planter, potting soil and a potted plant.
Make plans to eat outdoors in your very own backyard or at a local park. A barbecue party is great but it requires more preparation. You can keep your family gathering simple by bringing easy-to-prepare food like fruit salad. If you can spare some time to make something else, a quick pasta salad that includes red pepper, purple cabbage and other vegetables is a great addition.
Be more active by engaging in walking, hiking or biking. Since summer days are longer, including a 15 to 30-minute walk in the morning or evening in your daily schedule is very manageable. It’s a good break from the usual routine of watching TV at home and making the effort to be more fit.
Photo source: Pixabay, Public Domain