The weather is warming up, and we are thankfully able to gather with friends and family again safely. While this is an exciting time for all of us, we’ve all learned over the last year that it’s more important than ever to keep us as healthy as possible and our immune systems in peak condition.
You know the saying, “Pay the farmer now or pay the doctor later.” So, why not make a solid effort to offer healthy options for your loved ones while entertaining this summer. Below are a few suggestions of things to serve during your gatherings that are sure to satisfy and are full of health benefits for all.
There’s no denying the many health benefits of eating a whole foods plant-based diet. However, not everyone is ready to make a transition to committing to that type of lifestyle. It’s a good idea to ease in, and one way to do this is by eating plant-based meat alternatives. The good news is, your options are virtually limitless.
Would you usually serve fried chicken? How about chik’n nuggets instead? Hot dogs or hamburgers are easily swapped out for their plant-based counterparts. You can throw together a traditional barbecue gathering and serve everything you usually would, just vegan options instead. Everyone will be satisfied, and the fixings will still be familiar.
Nothing says summer like juicy, fresh fruit. The beautiful thing about seasonal fruits is you can transition through the spring and summer months, enjoying each one as they peak in season. From ripe red strawberries in late spring/early summer to peaches when it’s blazing hot outside.
Consider swapping out your “convenience” processed snacks like chips for fresh fruit. You can even swap out your sweet treats with fresh fruit or just make your homemade desserts with what’s in season. Making your own treats is also a fun activity for the whole family and a memory that the kids will cherish when they’re older.
Just Veg Out
Just as many fruits are in season all summer long, so our veggies and they are bountiful! You still have time to start your own home garden, too, so you can save money and get some exercise in growing your own. Whether you store to buy your veggies or grow your own, there’s no better time than the present to transition your junk food to healthier choices like fresh summer vegetables.
Instead of salty chips, opt for carrot sticks. Try switching out some heavier sides made with dairy for a simple baked potato. And, when your kids are running inside for a quick afternoon snack, who doesn’t love ants on a log? Just spread peanut butter inside a celery stick, garnish with raisins, and voila! A fun snack time story! If you have younger children (or maybe even older) that protest eating vegetables, make them fun for them.
Pretend broccoli is a tree, and your child is the giant who needs to eat all the trees. Cauliflower becomes magical broccoli. Whatever you need to do to get your kids interested in healthy foods, just do it. It will pay off in the most impactful way – their lifelong health.
There are still tons of healthy ways to enjoy dessert in the summer too. Nice Cream is a fantastic and super quick homemade ice cream you can make. The best part about Nice Cream? You don’t let your browning bananas go to waste. Simply slice some bananas and put them in a Ziploc bag in your freezer.
When your family is ready to enjoy ice cream, merely throw bananas and any other fruit that sounds good to you into a food processor, and you’ve got a healthy, no additive, dairy-free ice cream. Making changes like this, however small, are nothing but beneficial to your family.
You don’t have to go vegan; you don’t even have to go vegetarian, but swapping out several meals a week and making fresh seasonal desserts will go a long way in keeping you and your loved ones healthy, and that keeps everyone happy. So, enjoy the summertime and spending time with loved ones in continued good health!