Seems as if it was just yesterday that we were bundling up to protect ourselves from those winter winds and storms. Now we’re rolling out the red carpet to greet summer’s sunny days. The challenge for cooks: What to make when it’s hot outside. It’s so tempting to head to the fast food drive-through for something easy and quick ““ but you know better than that! So what to do? We’re glad you asked. Here are our favorite tips for warm weather menus:
Breakfast: Hot oatmeal is great when it’s cold. But it’s downright unappetizing when it’s already hot outside at 8 am! We’ve got great grains to fill the bill in the cereal category. For example, gluten-free Enjoy Life Perky’s Crunchy Flaxâ„¢ Cereal is delicious and filled with fiber. Try with almond milk and fresh strawberries. Another favorite: Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9 ® Cinnamon Raisin Sprouted Grain Cereal, which is so delicious that it also makes a great before-bed snack.
Snack time: A milkshake or iced cappuccino at that cafÃ© is tempting you? Bypass that cafÃ© and have an even more delicious option at home by making your own delicious smoothie! Just blenderize two cups of almond milk, like Blue Diamond Natural Almond Breeze ® Smooth & Creamy Unsweetened Chocolate flavor; one cut-up banana, two tablespoons of chocolate whey protein powder, such as MRM 100% All Natural Whey Protein Powder and ½ cup of Greek lowfat yogurt. Add more almond milk if you like it thinner or add ice. Experiment with adding protein powder or different fruits. Don’t you love summer?!
Lunch: Bring on the leafy greens! Romaine, butter lettuce, green lettuce, spinach leaves and escarole make a fabulous salad base. Pile on the sliced tomatoes and mushrooms and top with olives, which ontain healthy fats, such as Mediterranean Organic Pitted Kalamata Olives. And for protein, top with delicious beans, such as Eden Foods Organic Black Beans. On the side: Munch happily on Boulder Canyon Rice & Bean Snack Chips.
Dinner: Here’s the time of day when you’re tired and really don’t feel like cooking. And when it’s hot outside, it’s even more tempting to go for that bucket of fried chicken. Solution: Keep what you need on hand, so that you don’t have to head out to the store after a long, hot day. For example, keep pre-cut salad greens in the refrigerator and serve with Simply Asia Rice Noodle Soup Bowls. Choose a healthy salad dressing, such as Bragg Healthy Salad Dressing. Another option for dinner: Tuna or salmon with sliced tomatoes and steamed vegetables topped with delicious Tillen Farms Pickled Crispy Asparagus. For your fish, choose a sustainably caught choice, such as Wild Planet Wild Albacore Tuna.
Dessert: Screaming for ice cream? Here’s a trick that we love. Use gluten-free ice cream cones, such as Let’s Do Gluten Free Ice Cream Cones and spoon in vanilla Greek yogurt. Freeze until yogurt is the consistency of soft ice cream. Tastes like the real thing, but with more protein and half the calories!
Joanne Eglash, Vitacost.com’s Diet Diva, has a master of science in holistic nutrition and more than 15 years experience as a nutrition consultant, blogger, author and journalist. She has written for a wide range of publications and websites, including ediets.com,Natural Health magazine, Shape magazine, Success magazine, Energy for Women and Chefs. Joanne is currently the national Diets columnist for the online news and entertainment site, Examiner.com, and a features food columnist for Yahoo.