By: Dr. Keith Kantor
Our eating habits for the summer months compared to the rest of the year should change a little. Summer is a great time to eat fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Always try to eat foods that are in season, watermelon and cucumbers are hydrating, tomatoes, peppers, and fresh herbs can be incorporated into salads for a light and cool summer meal. Summer tends to be a time when we get lazy and may end up eating more unhealthy convenient foods like ice cream, hot dogs and fast food, simply because we are busy outdoors and not on our regular routine of eating dinner at the same time each day.
Healthy snacks should be offered to children in the summer promoting healthy choices. Offer them fresh fruits and vegetables; make homemade smoothies with yogurt, fruit, leafy greens and coconut water. Since kids tend to eat similar items in their school lunches during the school year get them involved with cooking during the summer and try new healthy recipes to give them an opportunity to get exposed to new foods.
Avoid sugary sweets like Italian ice, ice cream, sodas and fast food. These options will deplete energy, and may cause weight gain or decreased performance if they are involved with summer sports.
It is important to eat meals at regular times in the summer when possible but, I think as long as the options are healthy the schedule can be loosened up. Toddlers and preschool age children may need their normal scheduled snacks and meals but older children can eat when they are hungry or break from outdoor activities. Due to increased activity expect for your kids to be hungrier then normal!
Water intake should increase during the summer months. Aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day. Avoid sports drinks, juice and sodas; these are loaded with unhealthy sodium, sugar and in some cases dyes. I prefer Hydroxide quality water. Here the OH- ion (hydroxide) will combine will the H+ ion which causes the acidity and form water, eliminating the acid instead of just buffering it. I prefer elimination to buffering. The best Hydroxide Alkaline water I found through my research is AQUA OH! It is all natural and made from limestone.
Encourage your kids to aim to consume at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, limit sugary foods, and stay hydrated in the heat. Plan healthy meals ahead of time to avoid making unhealthy decisions on the go.
Recipes for healthy summer treats…
This is a healthy grilled snack or meal free of refined sugar and high in protein.
Use fresh pineapple and chemically pure ham.
Prep: 5 min.
Cook: 5 min.
Serving Size- 1 skewer
1 lb. Nitrate free deli ham
3 cups fresh pineapple cut into large chunks
2 cups of red onions and bell peppers cut into chunk slices
6 long skewers for grill
Poke ham, onions, peppers and pineapple onto skewers leaving approximately 1.5” on each end. Each skewer should have approximately 3 oz. of ham and ½ c pineapple. Grill until marks appear and serve right away.
GRILLED BANANA BOATS
This is a healthy alternative to s’mores. Same great flavor with a little less guilt.
Prep: 5 min.
Cook: 5 min.
Serving Size- 1 banana
¼ c shredded coconut
1 c dark chocolate chips and/or peanut butter chips
1 c mini marshmallows
Peel banana and slice down the middle. Stuff with approximately ¼ c marshmallows and chocolate chips. Wrap loosely in aluminum foil and place on grill for 3-5 minutes or until chocolate melts slightly. Eat with spoon and ENJOY!
ALMOND BUTTER APPLE SANDWICHES
Prep- 5 min.
Serving Size- 1 apple sandwich
Sneaking in an extra serving of fruit will not be hard with these treats, this is perfect for a might lunch or snack option.
- 2 small apples, cored and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick rounds
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
- 3 tablespoons peanut or almond butter
- 2 tablespoons dark semi sweet chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons shredded coconut
Spread one side of half of the apple slices with peanut or almond butter then sprinkle with chocolate chips and granola. Top with remaining apple slices, pressing down gently to make the sandwiches. Transfer to napkins or plates and serve.
The Hulk Smoothie
Prep- 5 min.
Serving size- 1 shake (12-16 oz.)
This is a great way to sneak in both veggies and fruits.
1 handful spinach (fresh)
1 kiwi (peeled)
¼ – ½ cup berries
½ cup coconut or organic yogurt
½ c unsweet vanilla almond milk
¼ c pure pomegranate juice
5 ice cubes
Directions: Blend till smooth and serve
Mandarin Orange and Spinach Salad
- Prep time: 10 min.
- Cook time: none
- Number of servings: approx. 8
- Serving size: 1-2 cups
- Difficulty: easy
- 3 c peeled and sliced mandarin oranges
- 1 bunch of mint leaves (approx. 10 large leaves)
- 5 c fresh baby spinach
- 1 large chopped cucumber peeled and seeded
- 1 chopped red pepper
- 1 chopped fennel bulb
- 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- Combine all ingredients in large salad bowl and serve, the juice from the grapefruit acts as dressing, no need for extra dressing.
Cool Broccoli Salad
2 strips turkey bacon
½ cup ice cubes
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup coconut milk
1/3 cup plain coconut yogurt
¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1-tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6 ½ cups/ 16oz. Broccoli florets (about 1 pound) cut into bite-size pieces
1/3 c craisins
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1. Cook the bacon in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until crispy, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain, and reserve 1teaspoon drippings for the dressing. Finely chop the bacon strips and reserve.
2. Combine 1-cup water, the ice cubes and onions in a small bowl. Let the onions soak for 10 minutes while preparing the rest of the salad, and then drain and pat dry.
3. Whisk the coconut milk, sour cream, lemon zest and juice, reserved bacon drippings, 3/4-teaspoon kosher salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Add the broccoli, onions and golden raisins to the dressing. Toss well, cover and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.
4.Before serving, toss well and season with additional salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the chopped bacon and slivered almonds.