Culinary experts and dietitians offer simple tips for a healthy, delicious seasonTomatoes (90% water) are most flavorful and abundant in the summer.
With the summer season in full swing, Aramark), the largest U.S.-based food services provider, and the American Heart Association (AHA), the nation’s largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke, are working together to improve the health of people, and are sharing tips to help everyone have a healthy summer.
In support of their Healthy for Life® 20 By 20 initiative Aramark tapped into its network of more than 750 registered dietitians and 1,600 chefs and the AHA leveraged its national network of experts, to compile the following summer menu tips and health ideas to make the most of the season.
LIGHTEN UP YOUR SUMMERTIME LUNCH
Cool crisp salads, made from fresh in-season ingredients, make for the perfect lunch on a hot summer day. Lighten up by dressing salads with light vinaigrettes or lower calorie dressings, instead of calorie laden creamy options, like Caesar or Ranch, and think outside the salad box, by incorporating fresh summer fruits, or unexpected combinations, like walnuts or raisins.
SPICE UP YOUR BARBEQUE
Spices and summer herbs are a great way to add flavor to grilled meats, fish, vegetables and fruits. Try any of these for flavorful options:
Ginger: Add to iced tea or summer smoothies (but remember, a little goes a long way!).
Ground Cinnamon: Sprinkle on everything from yogurt and cereal, or even fresh fruit salad.
Basil: Add unique flavor to fruit salads with basil. Delicious with sweet ripe peaches, strawberries, watermelon or mango, and thinly sliced basil and a little crumbled feta cheese to your favorite summer fruits.
Cilantro: Mince fresh cilantro and add to your favorite salsa for a burst of fresh flavor.
REFRESH AND REJUVENATE WITH FRESH SUMMER PRODUCE
It’s important to stay hydrated when enjoying the outdoors during the summer months. Many summer fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, melons, zucchini and cucumbers, are natural refreshers, since they contain more than 90% water.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes (90% water) are most flavorful and abundant in the summer. Take advantage of this summer staple, by cutting into wedges and marinating with light dressing, or slicing and placing atop a sandwich.
Melons: Watermelons and cantaloupes (90-95% water) are perfect in-season thirst quenchers. Serve chilled watermelon squares or cantaloupe on Popsicle sticks; top with a little yogurt for an added treat.
Zucchini: Zucchini and squash (95% water) are perfect for grilling. Cut squash into thick slices, brush lightly with olive oil and/or preferred spices, and grill for a few minutes.
Cucumbers: Cucumbers (95% water) are a great addition to many summer meals. Try a cool, refreshing cucumber salad:
Thinly slice a cucumber and top with rice wine vinegar and sesame seeds.
Combine with tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, onions & celery.
Marinate in a light vinaigrette, chill and enjoy.
A LEANER TAKE ON BARBEQUE CLASSICS
Burgers and hot dogs reign supreme during the summer months. For a healthier alternative and twist on the traditional favorites, swap out beef burgers for turkey or black bean burgers, and traditional hot dogs for a turkey sausage or veggie dogs. Top both with diced tomatoes, cucumbers or onions, for some added texture and crunch.
CHILL OUT WITH DESSERT
Sweet frozen treats offer great escape from the summer heat. Keep a healthy balance, by choosing options like sugar free water ice or popsicles, or stay cool with frozen yogurt or a fruit parfait topped with fruit and granola. Fresh fruit smoothies are full of flavor and can also satisfy hunger, quench thirst and cool you down. If indulging in ice-cream, choose a reasonable portion and top with fresh berries.