Favorite Summertime Foods
For many of us, summer is the happiest time of the year. Outdoor fitness, water sports, vacations, family fun, and beloved foods all factor into our enjoyment of this golden season. Speaking of favorite summer foods, what are yours? Long hot days have traditionally called for ice cream, popsicles, lemonade and other old fashioned treats. However, if you would like to expand your repertoire while also striking a healthy note, here are a few additional ideas:
A vine-ripened tomato, straight from the garden, is a wonderful summer gift. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, including cancer-fighting lycopene, these summer gems come in many sizes, shapes and colors. Enjoy them with a drizzle of olive oil/balsamic vinegar, in sandwiches, wraps, salads, salsas, bruschetta, and much more. Here are 5 recipes to inspire you: http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/food/5-fantastic-fresh-summer-tomato-recipes-226899
While hot soup is generally a winter food, chilled versions can be both refreshing and nourishing. And research suggests that people who eat light soups as an appetizer tend to consume fewer main course calories. Delicious cold soup options include gazpacho, vichyssoise, creamy broccoli, zucchini, avocado and more here: http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/cold-summer-soups/detail.aspx
Salads and coleslaw are great main course sidekicks, but hearty, elegant vegetable kabobs fill a special niche. Many vegetables and even fruit can be grilled, including mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, pineapple, bell peppers, green beans, plums, peaches, fennel, endive, etc. Boost flavor with simple marinades like honey-balsamic or soy-ginger. You can intersperse some lean protein in with your skewered vegetables, or grill separately.
Chilled Seafood Appetizers
Cold poached prawns served with spicy cocktail sauce are always a party favorite, and a waist trimmer too, at only 20 calories for each protein-rich, jumbo prawn. Another healthy, tasty, low-calorie option is ceviche─a celebrated Spanish and Latin American appetizer─which can be made from shrimp, scallops, crab and more: http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Appetizers-and-Snacks/Seafood/Ceviche/Top.aspx
Salsa is a perfect summer condiment: fresh, flavor-packed, nutrient-dense and low calorie. Variations abound, from traditional versions, to Tex Mex, to innovative fruit-fusions, and more. Salsa is incredibly versatile too, making a piquant topping for grilled fish and poultry, taco salads, baked potatoes, and nachos. Try it as a marinade or fat-free dressing as well. For a bevy of clever recipes, visit: http://www.great-salsa.com/salsa-recipes.html
Though summer berries are a natural for parfaits, tarts, ice cream toppers and more, this often overlooked fruit lends a sweet, sophisticated note, especially for entertaining. Nutrient-rich figs─which flourish in Mediterranean climates like California─are delicious alone, with brie, nuts and wine, or tossed with arugula, walnuts, goat cheese and port wine vinaigrette for this classy, flavor-packed salad: http://www.valleyfig.com/c_recipes/sides/cal_fig_arugula_a.htm
Add these ideas to your warm weather menus if they appeal. You may start some fabulous new summer traditions. Bon appétit!