For our family, summer is the most difficult time to eat healthily. Enjoying the beach, swimming in the pool, camping, etc., make eat-and-go, fast food, sugary frozen treats all the more tempting.
Here are a few tried and true favorites from our family that help eliminate the urge to eat fast food and sugary treats.
I pack a cooler full of food: sandwiches, fruit, organic popcorn, beef jerky, a big bottle of Trader Joe’s organic pink lemonade, water and cookies. I try to focus on snacky foods that can easily be eaten out of hand.
We often host pool parties, inviting all the kids’ friends, and I like to have a complete meal available, to encourage our friends to stay until sundown. I serve foods that pack a protein punch, can be easily prepared ahead of time, and can sit out on the deck for hours. Favorites have included: chili, quinoa pilaf with vegetables, make-your-own bean tacos, Greek pasta, and a baked dessert made with almond flour.
One dish dishes is my goal with camping, and I prepare as many things beforehand as possible. For example, I make my pancake recipe, without the liquids, in a big plastic bag, and then, at the campsite, I add the eggs, oil and water in the same plastic bag. No mess to clean up! I also stock up on extra frozen meals, like Annett’s once-a-month cooking, which just need to be heated through at the campsite.
By far, this is the biggest temptation in our house. It is so easy to jump in the car, and pick up an Icee, or to stockpile popsicles when on sale at the market — but all that stuff has zero nutritional value, and is made with high fructose corn syrup. Instead, we just stock up on ice, and make our own treats at home.
We have an ice shaver, and use organic juice concentrate to make natural snow cones. We blend orange juice concentrate, ice and milk for a homemade Orange Julius. We blend ice and juice concentrate, and enjoy natural Icees. Even a milkshake made at home — with organic ingredients and fresh fruit — is far healthier than a fast food version.
We also keep all manner of fruit frozen, for icy treats. My favorite frozen fruit is bananas– just peel and freeze a whole bunch in a plastic bag. My kids prefer frozen blueberries, cherries, mango cubes, and even peas and green beans. This is a great way to have an icy treat and eat your produce, too!
Enjoy your summer, stay cool, and stay healthy!
1 package of organic penne pasta
1 bunch (or 12 oz. frozen) organic spinach
12 oz. Feta cheese
1 pound organic cherry or grape tomatoes
1 cup of pine nuts
Cook pasta, according to directions.
In a large pan, heat 1T of olive oil, and toast pine nuts until golden. Remove from heat, and keep nuts on a separate plate.
Wash and chop spinach. Wash and chop tomatoes. Crumble feta cheese.
Toss all ingredients together, plus another 1-2T of olive oil to coat. Salt and pepper to taste.
Can be eaten warm or cold.
Photo of Lori by Weslie and Chelsey Totten