Body Break Healthy Summer Produce
Summer is a great time to get a jump start on eating more fresh vegetables and fruits (with the emphasis on vegetables). On a hot summer day, the last thing you need is a heavy meal in your stomach weighing you down and causing you to feel sluggish. It’s time to keep it light and keep it fresh.
Now that summer produce is at its peak, plan a variety of healthy meals full of fresh vegetables and fruits. These dishes not only taste favourful but they’re also loaded with the nutrients that your body craves to have energy and stay strong.
More choices of fresh vegetables and fruits are available at the grocery stores during summer as well as at local markets and produce stands. We enjoy going to our local Farmers’ Market every Friday between the end of June right through to the end of October.
Food growers and wholesalers bring fresh produce to the market so it’s often cheaper and since the produce changes throughout the summer so does what you eat. There is nothing like the taste of a fresh picked Ontario carrot or strawberry. During the summer, stock-up on quick bites like cucumbers, radishes, celery, carrots, berries, peaches and nectarines. They are perfect substitutions for junk foods on the go.
On a pleasant summer evening, take cooking and dining outdoors. Grill veggies and fruits such as bell peppers, sweet onions, small tomatoes, eggplant, corn, summer squash, mangoes, cantaloupes, pineapples and peaches.
They taste delicious right off the grill and can be served with other grilled items like lean cuts of meat such as sirloin steak, pork tenderloin or skinless chicken breasts. Seafood is also a great option. As a general rule, most vegetables and fruits take about 2 to 5 minutes to cook on the grill.
Here are a few tips for perfect grilled veggies: lightly cover the vegetables with olive oil; depending upon how quickly you want the vegetables to grill cut them in the appropriate size; keep small vegetables from rolling around and falling into the grate by using skewers or a grill basket; and fresh corn on the cob is absolutely the best when grilled in its own husks.
Cold summer soups can be a wonderful addition to any barbecue or picnic. You can easily prepare the soup in advance. Here’s a basic cucumber soup we enjoy:
- 2 large cucumbers (peeled, seeded and chopped)
- 3 green onions (chopped)
- 1 garlic clove or ¼ tsp minced garlic
- 2 cups of low fat Greek yogurt (plain)
- ¼ cup or fresh mint
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- In a blender, add all ingredients. Carefully purée until the soup is the desired smooth, creamy texture. To thin soup, add low fat milk. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Garnish with small pieces of chopped cucumber. Serves 4.
During the dog days of summer, remember to keep it light and keep it fresh.
Until Next Time, Keep Fit and Have Fun — Hal & Joanne • www.bodybreak.com