Move over old fashioned burgers and dogs – you can nourish your body and embrace the flavors of summer while also keeping planetary health in mind. In fact, the warm summer months offer an abundance of nutritious and delicious seasonal produce that can take your next summertime celebration to another level by including activities and providing nourishing foods that will keep everyone fueled throughout the day. Whether you’re the host or a guest, these tips can help you get the most out of summer celebrations.
- Gather inspiration from the farmers’ market. What better way to celebrate summer than with the taste of local produce? The best part of using seasonal summer produce is cooking doesn’t have to be complicated. Layer bright, juicy tomatoes on a platter with basil and mozzarella for a caprese salad. Or toss chopped tomatoes, cucumber, and onion with lemon juice and olive oil for tasty salad. Fresh ears of corn get toasty and sweet on the grill, and you can finish the meal with a cup of frozen yogurt topped with sweet berries.
- Embrace plant-forward swaps. Substitute vegan mayonnaise for the regular mayonnaise in your potato or pasta salad or use a vinaigrette or mustard base dressing instead.
- Don’t go against the grain. Instead of sides and buns made of refined grains, reach for whole grains first. Bring a farro or bulgur and vegetable-filled salad to enjoy with a vegetarian or meat-based burger served on a whole wheat bun.
- Fill the grill with vegetables. Grilling isn’t just for meat! Make vegetable kebabs or grilled eggplant or portabella mushrooms for an easy alternative to a beef burger. As a bonus, grilling vegetables makes kitchen cleanup minimal.
- Get creative with protein. Skip the beef burgers and dogs for a more planet-friendly option. Think about vegetable-based burgers, fish, chicken, or marinated tofu. If you’re feeling a little adventurous and want to impress guests, try grilling a whole chicken (yes, you can).
- Stay hydrated. Long days out in the sun will increase your hydration needs. Sip on water throughout the day and skip sugary beverages, which can actually be dehydrating. Add flavor to still or sparkling water with fresh fruit, citrus, or herbs. For a refreshing twist, make this infused sparkling water.
- Bring a dish to share. Attending a party where you know nourishing options may be scarce? Offer to bring your favorite vegetable dish or fruit salad, other guests are sure to appreciate the vibrant colors and flavors.
- Stay active. At the beach? Enjoy a walk alongside the waves. Backyard barbecue? Get a group to toss a football or Frisbee. The great outdoors is your playground and the options to add a little activity to your party are endless.
- Be mindful. It’s a celebration after all but remember to slow down and use all of your senses when you eat to recognize your hunger and fullness cues.
- Catch up with friends. You came for the company, right? Take a walk around and catch up with the friends or family you came to see.
Longer days filled with sunshine give us good reason to celebrate. Enjoy all that these warmer months have to offer and use these strategies to nourish yourself and summertime guests while keeping it fun.