Summer is my favorite season for produce: berries, summer squash, melons, sugar snap peas, greens, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers…a salad lovers dream! Each of these foods are nutrient dense without being calorie dense, allowing you to incorporate lots of different flavors and textures into your dish without making you feel stuffed. In fact, I recently packed a tasty picnic incorporating many of these foods and I must say, it was delicious!
Looks good, no? I made guacamole with endive dippers (we loved using the endive lettuce so much we never even opened the chips!), fresh fruit salad with blueberries, kiwis and raspberries, and a quinoa salad with bell peppers, kale, black beans, onions in a spicy dressing. If you’d like any of the recipes, feel free to email me and I’ll send them along!
By eating these kinds of seasonal foods, you are giving your body exactly what it needs during the hot summer months. When the temps reach upwards of 80 degrees (let’s be real, it’s usually around 90), our bodies crave foods that will help us cool down and rehydrate. To reap these benefits, we look for foods that we can usually eat raw and contain a high water content. Do you ever notice during the summer months that you find yourself craving more fruit? That’s your body asking to be replenished with the fluids and sugars we lose when we sweat.
One food that just screams SUMMER TIME!! to me is watermelon. It instantly triggers images of sitting outside on the front porch holding a huge slice with both hands, competing with your siblings to see who could spit the seeds the farthest. This refreshing fruit has only 48 calories per cup, is low in sugar and is high in Vitamins A and C, as well as the amino acid citrulline which help the body produce another amino acid, arginine. Arginine can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s also a great source of lycopene, an essential carotenoid also found in tomatoes that studies suggest can protect the body from UV rays (if you read my last newsletter, you already know this!), cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer. Who knew something so sweet and refreshing could also be such a powerhouse of nutrients!
Below I have included two tasty recipes that are sure to be a hit at your next cookout.
If you are interested in learning more about how eating with the seasons can help you feel at your most healthy and balanced, contact me today for a free initial consultation and start your summer off on the right foot!
Watermelon, Feta, Almond and Mint Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Makes 4-6 servings
Ingredients 1/2 cup sliced almonds (Almond Accents makes a delicious honey roasted version)
6 cups cubed seedless watermelon
8 ounces (about 2 cups) crumbled Feta cheese
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice, or 1-2 limes
Salt and pepper
Preparation Combine watermelon, feta, mint, lime juice and olive oil in a medium serving bowl and stir gently to mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper, Top with almonds before serving.
What You’ll Need:
4 cups watermelon, diced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (1-2 limes) 1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 cup agave syrup
What to Do:
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until fully pureed.
2. Pour the mixture into ice pop molds (If you don’t have a mold, make mini pops in an ice cube tray or use small paper cups)
3. Freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight.
4. Take a break from the summer heat and enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of Kelli Dunn of The Corner Kitchen