Ripe for Change
A Fresh Take on Enjoying Summer Meals
Adapted from Abby C. Sauer, MPH, RD, LD
This time of year, when picnics and braai’s abound, many of us enjoy foods like grilled steaks, burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and ice cream. There's nothing wrong with that — in moderation! But this summer, why not add a fresh touch to meal planning by exploring farmers' markets, growing your own herbs, and trying new fruits and vegetables?
Go to Market
Farmers' markets are great places to find locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Many markets even let you pick your own produce. Look for farmers' markets in your local paper, and make it a fun family outing!
Grow Your Own Herbs
When you grow them yourself, you can easily add fresh herbs to summer dishes. Place a little mixed herb pot on your patio or windowsill. Or, if you have the space, plant an entire herb garden. Try flavourful herbs including parsley, rosemary, oregano, and dill.
Ever Had a Mango?
Try new produce or a new way to serve old favourites. Top waffles with luscious peaches ...toss strawberries on a spinach salad for lunch ...skip the ice cream and have exotic sliced mangoes for dessert instead. Consider the variety of interesting summer vegetables, too, including asparagus, eggplant, artichokes, and baby marrows. Dice them into salads or grill with your favourite meats.
Eating outdoors? Warm weather requires special precautions. Store perishable food in a cooler and keep it in a shady spot. Don't let perishable food sit unchilled longer than two hours. After that, it's not safe and should be discarded.
Celebrate the season by trying something new. Farmers' markets, herb gardens, and mangoes are a great place to start!
Good to Go
Take These Nutritious Foods Along
Whether you're hitting the hiking trail or running at full speed through your day, sitting down to a meal may not be an option. That's when you'll want portable foods on hand. When stored safely and portioned wisely, these are "fast foods" at their nutritious, convenient best. Learn more about our Ensure® nutritional drinks.
Muffins travel well. Look for ones that are low in fat and sugar, and try to avoid the huge ones. Choose fibre-rich whole grains and nutrient-dense ingredients such as nuts and raisins.
Got Good Old Peanuts and Raisins?
Good Old Peanuts and Raisins —easily-stored, energy-rich and high in vitamins and minerals. Combine nuts, dried fruits such as raisins and cranberries, granola, and sunflower seeds in a packet for an even tastier snack.
Cut Up and Carry
Place cut-up carrots, celery, and other vegetables into small packets and store in the fridge. Just grab and go.
Fruit? "Can" Do!
Small cans of fruit packed in juice (not sugary syrup) offer nutrition and satisfying sweetness. Apple sauce, peaches, and pineapples are great choices. If you'd rather have fresh fruit, choose apples, bananas, and grapes, which are portable and also good sources of fibre.
Low-fat mozzarella sticks, small containers of yoghurt, Ensure® nutritional drinks, peanut butter and jam sandwiches, and baked tortilla chips. If you can pack it, you should pick it — and you'll be eating smart while you're on the go.
Store Food Safely
- As a general rule, meat and dairy products should not be left unrefrigerated for longer than two hours.
- Some food containers include freezer packs to keep your fruit, raw vegetables, or yoghurt cool for extended periods.