Your Summer Menu

By: ALEXIS BLANDINE

Edited by: KELSEY CRUZ

The summer has crept up on all of us – skimpy bikinis and short shorts taunt us to throw on our running shoes and go that extra mile to burn off those bowls of ice cream that seemed harmless during finals week. Whether it’s because of the warm weather or the revealing beach wear, everyone wants to eat and look healthier in the summer. What’s on your summer menu? What tastes good after a long day in the sun?

When the weather gets warmer, fruits and vegetables are in their prime season, adding refreshing tastes and color to any summer barbecue. Luscious Jersey tomatoes, mouthwatering grapes, and bright California cherries make summer plates healthier and prettier.

“Blueberries are mostly from North Carolina, but the sweet Jersey blueberries should start to arrive the last week of June,” said Paul Sullivan, a representative of Procacci Brothers Sales Corporation, one of the largest wholesale produce distributors in North America.

With fresh fruits and veggies, picnics and beach trips can easily get heartier and healthier. Try cutting up grapes and adding them to a chicken salad mix for a great Waldorf salad or grilling vegetables and adding them to your meat skewers. To get nice flavors from your vegetables, lightly coat them in olive oil and season them with salt and pepper, garlic powder, or crushed red pepper.

“I often throw a lot of red peppers, green squash, asparagus, and some corn on the grill while I am cooking my chicken or fish for dinner that night,” Sullivan said. “Whatever I don’t use for dinner, I add to my egg white omelet for breakfast and salad for lunch!”

Another great salad or sandwich topping is avocado. High in potassium and vitamin K, avocado has a rich amount of good, healthy fat. Its smooth, creamy texture replaces mayonnaise in sandwiches and dips, melting those last few pounds off your bikini body.

“Look for avocados with skin that is all the same color and is somewhat soft when you press it,” Sullivan said. “Different skin color can mean the entire avocado is not ripe.”

With all this talk of summer veggies and fruits, I decided to take a lap around the kitchen. I recently made a tortellini salad with broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, and peas. With an Italian dressing marinade, salt and pepper, and garlic powder marinade and some fresh mozzarella, I made a delicious, healthy salad that I enjoyed on the beach.

As you hit the market this summer, pick up different produce you haven’t tried before. When you get home, research what you bought and find recipes that include your new treasure. Your palate (and waistline) will thank you.

“Buy locally!” Sullivan said. “Not only will you supporting the farmers in your area, but you’ll also be saving money. What’s more, you may even stumble upon produce that is native specifically to your area and be able to create a new recipe of your own.”

 

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Categories: Your Health News, Your Nutrition

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