July is National Picnic Month! We all have favorite memories of childhood and one of mine is a simple picnic with my family. We did a lot of car camping in the Pacific Northwest and western Canada then and our adventures took us to many beautiful places in North America.
With a family of 5 on a budget, our summer vacations included lots of picnic meals and they were totally simple, yet healthy. Our favorite picnic choices were bread with natural cheese, blueberries, huckleberries, crackers with smoked salmon, carrots, and apples. Lemonade or milk was our drink, kept cold in the camping/picnic cooler. Enjoy a simple and nutritious picnic this month with your family and friends – at the park, pool and beach, or on a mountain hiking trail. Here are some slightly fancy and very healthy picnic recipes to get you going.
4th of July is a Perfect Time to Enjoy Local, Seasonal Fruits!
When America has her birthday on July 4th, we all love to celebrate. Will you have a party? Will you go to a baseball game? Will you relax at a swimming pool or lake? Whatever you choose, it’s easy to put together a delicious spread of seasonal fruits for great nutrition. Here are some ideas to help you keep it simple:
- Mix late season strawberries with early season blueberries and add a dab of vanilla yogurt for a patriotic red-white-blue platter.
- Cut local peaches in half, remove pits, and grill lightly alongside your burger, salmon filet or pork kebob
- Find all your local fruits such as peaches, plums, blueberries, cherries, early season apples and mix them into a most colorful, fruit salad.
Hamburger Day is July 28!
There’s no doubt about it – grilling is hot! And, for many of us, a natural meal for the grill is a beef hamburger. If this is yours and your family’s idea of a tasty summer lunch or dinner cookout, then try to keep it healthy with these tips:
- Buy lean ground beef that’s labeled as 90% lean or higher.
- Mix in some ‘extra nutrition’ to your hamburgers such as shredded carrots, minced onions, minced fresh herbs and/or garlic.
- Use a whole wheat hamburger bun to add the nutrition of the whole grain.
- Load on the veggies such as lettuce, sliced tomato, sliced onion and sliced avocado.
- Pay attention to safety as you prepare and cook beef at your grill. Tips are here!
Salad Week is Coming Later this Month!
Have you ever made a ‘salad meal bowl?’ Summer is a season for quick and healthy so a salad meal definitely fits in! Most of us start a salad with leafy greens such as spinach, Romaine lettuce or soft leaf lettuce. There are also more ‘exotic’ leafy greens to try such as arugula and frisee lettuce. On top of your greens, a layer of shredded red or green cabbage adds some powerful nutrition and crunch. Then, on top of that, go for nutritious veggies you love such as cut-up tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet Bell peppers, radishes, fennel and carrots. Finally, add a lean protein layer to your salad. Great options include tuna salad made with light mayo or nonfat yogurt, cooked cold salmon, flavored tofu, quinoa, black beans, natural cheese and nuts. As your final topping, try adding cut-up cantaloupe or blueberries. You will be amazed at the flavors, crunch and enjoyment in your creative ‘salad meal bowl.’
Hydration, Hydration, Hydration is Essential to Summer Health!
We hear a lot about staying hydrated, especially in the summer heat. There is actually a very good reason for it ….because hydration is essential to feeling good and staying well in the summer. If you stop and think about your body being about 75%, or ¾ water, then it all comes into perspective. We need lots and lots of water and other healthy liquids flowing into our bodies – for our brain, our vital organs, our blood, our skin, and everything. Summer kicks up that need up a notch. Here are some great resources for hydration including a personal hydration calculator, insight on what counts as a hydrating beverage, and tips on staying hydrated with healthy foods.