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Easy, healthy summer eating

Maria Cunningham

With the warm, humid weather upon us, it's obvious that summer is here.  Summer means many things ....swimming at the pool or at the beach, riding bikes, gardening, vacation, picnics and much more.  Whenever the weather gets warmer I also find myself wanting to eat lighter and healthier. The variety of available fresh produce makes it easier for the entire family to enjoy well-balanced, delicious summer meals.
 
Starting with fruits and vegetables … shop for summer fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets for the best flavor (and greatest value) in season. You’ll be sure to find apricots, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries.  Better yet, find a local farm and go berry picking for strawberries and blueberries.  Start a vegetable garden at home.  Whatever the source of your harvest, be sure to incorporate it into all your meals.  

For breakfast, add some fresh berries to your favorite cereal.  Throw in a few fresh vegetables in your morning omelet.  Try a fruit smoothie.

For lunch and dinner, make the perfect salad with a large variety of vegetables.  Vegetables are a good source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.  Instead of hamburgers and hotdogs, try grilling chicken and fish, which have less saturated fat than red meat.  Make kabobs with vegetables marinated in salsa or low-calorie salad dressing.

Desserts can be light and healthy, too.  How about a bowl of fresh berries topped with a spoonful of Cool Whip?  Try a bowl of melon for a refreshing end to a meal.  For the kids, try homemade popsicles by freezing 100 percent fruit juice.

And for snacking, keep fresh berries in the refrigerator. Serve carrots and celery with yogurt dip or low-fat cottage cheese. Vine-ripened tomatoes can be eaten straight, or with a touch of salt.

What are your favorite summer foods?

Topics: Family , Health , Nutrition

Maria Cunningham lives in Fairfax, Virginia with her husband Chuck, and their ten children.   Maria provides a look into her life as a "mom-of-many" at her blog Home Sweet Heart.

View all articles by Maria Cunningham

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