Healthy and Simple Summer Meals
Summer is HERE!
Your schedule is packed. Your days are full. And you have absolutely no idea what you’re cooking for dinner tonight.
Sound familiar? This was my biggest struggle while trying to create a healthy lifestyle that sticks. It’s just so simple to speed through a drive-thru on the way home from work, and not have to worry about cooking. Right?
Clearly, fast food isn’t going to help us reach our health goals — this, we know! So something else has to happen… something more permanent.
It took awhile, but I finally hacked the kitchen confusion and figured out how to plan healthy, simple meals without spending hours in the kitchen daily.
And I’m going to teach you those simple strategies! Go ahead, take that deep sigh of relief.
Below we are going to talk about Summer Snacks, Summer Cookouts and some delicious Summer Drinks.
This is a good one, FULL of yummy stuff, so bookmark it or save it to Pinterest so you can come back to it over and over again!
Okay, Ready to dive in?
Here we go!
Summer produce boasts various delicious fruits and veggies that we wait all year to enjoy. Watermelon, juicy cantaloupe and berries bursting with flavor are a few of my favorite summer treats. The summer months are often filled with loads of outdoor activities which leave your schedule jam-packed. For good reason, these summer months are what memories are made of and what your children look forward to as they dredge through the cold winter months.
But a lot of time outside can leave less time in the kitchen, which is precisely why I commit to choosing a few simple, healthy snacks for the kids (and myself) as we are out and about, and rotate them through the season. Healthy eating doesn't have to be complicated, and a quick
snack doesn't have to be a bag of potato chips. It can be much, much more delicious...
Here are a few of my favorites:
Fruit Kabobs. Slide any of your favorite fruits on a kabob stick, and you've got a portable snack with no guilt. Some delicious fruit in season during summer include: blackberries, cherries, strawberries, and melons. All of these are excellent choices for fruit kabobs
Apple Donut. No, not really a donut (sorry) -- but it's quite delicious. Slice apples into rounds that resemble a donut and top with your favorite nut butter. You can even make a sandwich out of it by putting the nut butter between two slices of apple rounds.
Cucumber Rolls. Thinly slice cucumbers into long slices that you can then use to roll toppings inside. Use toppings such as tuna salad, cherry tomatoes, guacamole, whatever your heart desires. These are great little bite-sized snacks for when hunger strikes.
Granola Bites. There are an endless amount of energy ball recipes you can choose from. They typically involve almond butter, raw cacao powder, granola, and dates. It's not quite that simple, but the energy
balls are a perfect little snack to carry along, and with the cacao in it, it tastes like an absolute treat. Two or three energy bites later, and you're most certain to be tied over until dinner.
Celery, Nut butter & Grapes. An oldie but a goodie. You can bring along celery sticks with almond butter on the side for dipping, or you can fill the inside of your celery stick with almond butter and chopped grapes. It's always a crowd pleaser.
Preparation is the biggest factor in eating healthy, in my opinion. If you have healthy food around (and the absence of junk food), you'll make healthy decisions. Setting yourself up for success is the biggest gift you can give yourself and your family, so make a plan each week of what healthy snacks (and meals) you'll have ready for a moments notice, and enjoy your time living and enjoying your life!
One of the best parts of summertime is gathering outside with your friends and family to enjoy delicious food and conversation. The fireflies, warm, dewy air and longer days are the perfect equation for gathering to experience the essence of summer. Cookouts are a staple of summertime, but if you're trying to eat healthy, you may be left munching on the veggie tray as everyone else fills their plate with hotdogs and coleslaw.
You don't have to be stuck with just the veggie tray. There are numerous healthy options to choose from during the summer cookout months, so you there's no need to be left out of the fun or go home hungry.
Here are a few of my summer cookout staples...
1. Veggie Burgers
Whether you make them from scratch or buy them premade, veggie burgers give you that summer BBQ feel, while avoiding the red meat. These taste great if you put them on a whole grain bun, or even a lettuce wrap if you are gluten sensitive. Dress it with the typical toppings and condiments, and you won't even notice the difference. Delicious!
2. Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
We all love mashed potatoes, but many don’t like the calories or nutrient profiles of potatoes. You can now get the texture and love of this summertime favorite, for far fewer calories with some mashed cauliflower. Just add some garlic and olive oil for a delicious flavor profile that mimics the real deal.
3. Sweet Potato “fries”
The perfect companion for your veggie burger! Skip the regular french fries and lean towards the healthier option -- how about some baked sweet potato ‘fries?’ They have a higher nutrient profile, and since you are baking them, fewer calories! You can even toss them on the grill for a crispy option to sweet potato fries.
4. Shish Kabobs
Shish kabobs taste great during the summer. Adding zucchini, squash, red onion and mushrooms make this a deliciously healthy and easy to hold meal. If you desire animal protein for your shish kabobs, try tossing some organic chicken or wild caught shrimp in between your veggie layers. Drizzle your favorite BBQ sauce on, and you've got yourself a delicious and healthy meal.
Eating healthy through the summer months does not have to be har. With just a few minor adjustments, you can turn pretty much any dish into a delicious and healthy meal without skimping out on the flavor at all! So give these a try at your next BBQ, you will not be the only one who enjoys these dishes.
One of the best ways to beat the heat this summer is with a refreshingly tasty beverage in hand. Pure water is, of course, the drink of choice and should regularly be consumed to avoid dehydration. By adding a squeeze of fresh lemon to your water, you can pack even more of a beneficial punch.
But on those occasions you want a little something extra, or you’re looking for the perfect summer beverage to serve at your weekend gathering, there are some delightfully refreshing options to choose from. Whether you want to add a dash of rum into your drink or leave it kid-friendly, these drink options are sure to please (and are oh-so-easy to make)
Here are my favorite soothing summer beverages that you can enjoy with or without alcohol for more summer sunshine in your glass with no guilt:
- 1 cup organic cherry juice
- ¾ cup organic orange juice
- ¼ cup cold filtered water
- Fresh orange slices
- Alcohol option: 2 ounces of vodka
Combine all ingredients in a pitcher. Fill glasses with ice and pour the drink mixture in. Garnish with the orange slices.
Passionate Pineapple Punch
- 1 cup organic passion fruit juice
- 1 cup organic pineapple juice
- ¼ cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
- ¼ cup coconut water
- Lime seltzer to taste
- Lime wheels for garnish
- Alcohol option: 3 ounces of rum (note: you can use a flavored rum like coconut, mango, or anything else you desire)
Mix everything except the seltzer together in a pitcher. Fill your glasses with ice and pour the contents of the pitcher in. Top off each glass with the seltzer. Add a lime wheel garnish.
- 4 cups of watermelon chunks
- 6 to 8 large basil leaves
- Pinch of sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1 quart chilled water
- Alcohol option: 6 ounces of vodka (regular or watermelon)
Puree the watermelon in your food processor or blender. Season with salt and vinegar, then strain into a pitcher. Add the chilled water (and vodka if you’re using it). Add the basil leaves and stir in.
And finally, we’ll end with one just for the adults. Sangria is a true summer delight, especially this citrusy version!
- 1 bottle (750 mL) chilled medium-dry red wine (like a Malbec or Rioja)
- 2 cups chilled lime seltzer
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 limes, sliced
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 2 oranges, sliced
The hardest part about this drink recipe is waiting! You combine everything into one large pitcher, cover it and chill it until it’s time to serve.
Don't forget to consume a glass of water regularly throughout the day to avoid dehydration in the summer heat. Eating a lot of water-filled foods can help, too, such as watermelon, cucumbers, celery, etc.
What are YOUR favorite Summer pasttimes? My favorite thing about Summer is the long days, going barefoot, spending time in nature and eating outdoors.
Share with me your favorite things!
Gaylene Gomez, NNCP, C.H.N.
A little bit about me! I'm Gaylene, a Holistic Nutrition Coach for women. I work with busy, professional women to help them learn about healthy, simple lifestyle changes they can easily implement to reduce belly bloat, lose weight and get through their day with sustained energy. My clients are committed to their health and excited to learn about healthy eating and natural living. I feel proud of them for taking charge of their health and I'm so lucky to work with these amazing women.
Learn more about me here: About Me