Tips for Lighter, Brighter Summer Eating
Simple, fresh and delicious – that’s summertime eating at its best. Less time in the kitchen means more time to enjoy the bright delicious flavors of just picked berries, peaches, greens and other vegetables.
It also makes sense to eat lighter in the summer. Hot weather slows down the digestion and heavy foods are harder to digest. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Buy local and seasonal – or grow it yourself
Summer brings locally grown specialties – berries of all types, melons, lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, sweet onions and more. Visit farmers’ markets and ask what’s in season. Lastly, nothing tastes better than tomatoes from your own garden.
Process produce as little as possible
The fresher the produce, the less preparation needed. The longer the time between preparation and consumption, the more flavor is lost. Try cutting up peaches and a honeydew melon, add fresh blueberries and a squeeze of lemon or lime. Serve immediately for an instant refreshing dessert.
Cook fresh veggies using the grill (see below). Or stir fry them. Cut vegetables small. Cook briefly with grapeseed oil in a wok or large saute pan over medium high heat (put it on your grill). A little coarse salt and freshly ground pepper – it’s the perfect side dish for a simple roast chicken or steak.
Try this salad: Cut zucchini into matchstick strips. Combine with wedges of ripe tomato, finely sliced fresh basil, thin slices of sweet or green onion. Add a splash of red wine vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and serve on a bed of lettuce, spinach or other greens. Add feta or bleu cheese crumbles if you like.
Keep flavors simple
Cook chicken, fish and shrimp as well as burgers. Swordfish, salmon or tuna – fish with a little fat – work best on the grill. Grill chicken with the bone in (it’s more flavorful). First marinate for a few hours in a simple vinaigrette (red wine vinegar, olive or walnut oil, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper). Try these tasty marinades: buttermilk, lemon juice, salt and pepper; tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, chopped onion; lime juice, grapeseed oil, fresh thyme or rosemary (dill is great with fish).
Use that grill
Grill eggplant, zucchini, onions and peppers. Brush with olive or walnut oil if you like. Put directly on the grill, use a griddle or wrap in a single layer in foil. Grilled peach halves and pineapple rings are also delicious.
Soup is for summer, too
In winter, we crave soups for their warmth and comfort. In the summer, we crave cold, thirst-quenching foods. Why not combine the two? Make yourself a spicy tomato gazpacho, or a delicious spinach-based blended smoothie. These cool soups and smoothies will quench your thirst and give you a huge does of vegetables. They will keep you full, and help you stay away from the snack bar this summer.
Finally, the following 5 steps are of importance and will help guide you to health, well-being and weight-loss throughout the summer.
- WATER: Is essential for normal functioning of the human body. As much as 100 calories can be burned by drinking 16 oz. of water 4 times a day. Water also helps to flush toxins out of the body.
- PROTEIN: Lean proteins will help speed up your metabolism, heal your body, satisfy your appetite, and stimulate fat-burning. 21-28 grams of protein is an average recommendation. Protein powders and protein bars are a quick way to add protein to any meal.
- FATS: Don't confuse ESSENTIAL fats with hydrogenated or fractionated fats found in margarine, shortening and fried foods. Those fats disrupt the natural process of the cells in your body, are directly stored in fat cells and are hard to remove.
- FIBER: Fiber cleans out the intestines, improves digestion, reduces serum cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar and helps to transport sugar and fats th through the body so that they don’t get absorbed and added to the waistline. Good sources are whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, root vegetables, fruits and green leafy vegetables.
- VITAMINS, MINERALS & ENZYMES: Enzymes are found in raw or live foods that have not been over-processed or cooked over the 118 degrees. They help to break down foods so that excess food does not hang around in the system waiting to turn into toxins and fat. Eating from many different food sources ensure getting vitamins and minerals into the body.