Summer really is the best time to get your healthy eating on track. Don’t get me wrong, I love the winter squash and apples and oranges a lot but there is something about summer and the produce that it brings that makes me so happy.
This is a great time of year to try out new fruits and vegetables. Never been a huge fan of zucchini? I bet I have a recipe for you that would make you enjoy it. I can’t guarantee you will love zucchini but at least tolerate it? Peas, green beans, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers…oh man I can’t wait for it all to be at it’s peak!
And fruit, don’t get me started on fruit. I struggle getting my servings of veggies in every day but I NEVER struggle getting enough fruit. I usually eat it with my cereal…75% fruit and 25% cereal is what I often end up with. I eat it with every meal, I pretty much eat it all day long. Whenever I am feeling hungry during the day I often turn to fruit. And a big bowl of watermelon is often the end to my day.
There are so many things you can do to make it fun to try new veggies and fruits. Hit up a Farmers Market. Those of you in Utah County, there is a great one in Provo at the park on 500 West and Center Street. It runs every Saturday from now through the summer. So much produce at great prices and the guy that sells tamales, yum! (The tamales, not the old guy!) Take your family, let your kids help pick veggies out. If they are part of the process they are more likely to try them.
There is also a great one in Salt Lake. It is in Pioneer Park and that one is HUGE! You have to park far away unless you are willing to pay a lot for parking but it is so worth the crowd and the heat. Half the park is food and the other half is artsy crafty stuff. There are great restaurants with booths set up where you can eat an awesome lunch. There are bakeries with breads to try and farms with fresh cheese and honey. And so much produce. Pretty much anything you can think of you can find there. We try to go once a summer and love it! Hit up Bruges Waffles and Frites right across the street on the north side from the park. It’s tiny and there is nowhere to sit in side but it has the best authentic Belgian Waffles and Frites w/Aioli that you will ever eat!
We also live in a great area in Utah County for fruit. There are so many local farms where you can go and pick fruit (and produce) for a great price. We love to go pick raspberries and make our own freezer jam, freeze them in baggies for granola or oatmeal in the winter and just be able to eat them by the handful. I can’t wait to take Olivia this year and make that a family tradition. The best part is you can eat as many as you want while you pick! There are also great places to pick pears, peaches, cherries, pretty much anything you can think of! Yeah it requires a little effort of picking it but it is cheaper than the store, tastes so much better and it is all about the experience! Make it a tradition for your family each summer.
Now don’t think I am telling you to live off of fruits and vegetables because that isn’t what I am saying. Just see how many new things you can try and how often you can incorporate them into a meal. Try to have one at every meal. It can be something as simple as a green salad on the side with lots of veggies. Or fire up the grill and put zucchini, peppers, mushrooms and onions along with steak or chicken or shrimp on skewers and have kabobs. My favorite summer meal growing up was tomato sandwiches, corn on the cob and tomato pepper salad. (Tomatoes, peppers, onions all in chunks and add vinegar, oil and salt and pepper, yum!) Our go to dinner on days when we have had a bigger lunch is corn on the cob and watermelon.
Build snacks for you and your kids around fruits and veggies. Try adding a little protein to make them more substantial. Veggies with hummus to dip them in. Grapes and cheese and pretzels. Apple and peanut butter. Celery sticks with peanut butter. Cottage cheese and fruit. Or my latest love with cottage cheese is cucumber sliced in circles. Use the cucumber like a spoon and eat them together!
So take this challenge and set a goal to try new things this summer. If you need suggestions of how to use things or recipes to try let me know! It really is easy to incorporate more healthy things into our diets, so give it a shot. Do it for your kids if that is what it takes! Let me know if you try anything new and amazing or know of any great places to find produce!