Nothing screams summer more than having a cookout while enjoying a warm summer evening and bonding time with family and friends. Even though when we typically think of a cookout we think of cheeseburgers and hot dogs, a cookout can actually be a fun opportunity to incorporate fruits and veggies into your family’s diet. Grilling fruit will enhance the sweetness by caramelizing the surface of the fruit. If you prefer additional flavor, sprinkle cinnamon or nutmeg over the fruit to evaluate the flavors. Keep in mind that depending on the fruits you decide to grill, some may heat up faster than others – softer fruits such as bananas will heat up faster than firmer fruits such as apples. Grilling vegetables can also be an excellent way to incorporate more color and flavor into your stereotypical cookout. Virtually all vegetables can be grilled – onions, portabella mushrooms, corn on the cob, eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, etc. To add additional flavor to your grilled vegetables, you can marinate them for about 1 hour prior to grilling (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, herbs) or you can brush them with some olive oil and your favorite seasonings. Check out these articles by Nourish Interactive which gives hearty lists of fruit and vegetable grilling recipes!
Community farmers markets can present wonderful opportunities to get fresh produce and local ingredients. Planning ahead can go a long way in helping you make the most of your visit. Start by setting appropriate expectations as farmers markets differ significantly from place to place. Many farmers markets focus mainly on fresh produce while others may even have ready to eat food vendors set up. Check out vendors ahead of time by visiting the market’s website or plan more of an exploratory first visit. If you have specific needs, take a list and don’t hesitate to ask for help as you browse the offerings.
A slight shift in perspective can be the foundation for life-long healthy eating habits. Big changes happen through the small steps we take on a day-to-day basis. Whether it’s adding 20 minutes of family biking to your day or getting your kids to try a bite of a new food, take the time to appreciate the small wins in your journey towards better health! Finding alternative approaches to kitchen challenges can be especially helpful. While your kids might be opposed to meatloaf, they might be thrilled to make a giant meatball! From breakfast sundaes to fruit and yogurt dippers, there are many recipes to help you reimagine and reintroduce foods to your family.
While nearly 85 million Americans have food allergies, it is important to understand the difference between food allergies and food intolerances. Food allergies are actual immunoglobin E (IgE) antibody responses to counteract an actual food allergy. Symptoms of food allergies can include itchiness, hives, swelling, trouble breathing, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting or gagging. Some reactions to food allergies can be more severe or life-threatening. Food intolerances do not elicit IgE mediated responses, although the symptoms of intolerances may be similar to that of allergic reactions. In addition, things such as abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea also mimic symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, which makes identifying food intolerances that much more frustrating. If you suspect your body is having a reaction to a certain food, it is recommended you visit an allergist and/or a registered dietitian where you can receive more objective information as compared to something like a food sensitivity test.
Spring and summer are wonderfully easy seasons to adjust recipes for added freshness. Try making a traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich but substitute fresh strawberry slices and a touch of honey in for the jelly. Instead of fruit juices, use an ice cube tray to make fruit filled ice cubes that any kid will love! Use frozen cauliflower in lieu of ice in smoothies for a touch of added nutrients.
Strawberry-Cauliflower Smoothie Recipe
Combine 1 cup frozen cauliflower florets, 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, ½ fresh or frozen banana, 1 cup milk of choice, 1 Tbsp nut butter of choice and 1 Tbsp sweetener of choice (e.g., honey, stevia, coconut sugar). Blend ingredients together until smooth. Additional liquid may need to be added depending upon how many of your ingredients were frozen
The list of online social media outlets is extensive with Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok just to name a few. Topics streaming across these platforms encompass a wide breadth that includes food and nutrition. From more traditional food product advertising to unsolicited novice nutrition advice from nutrition “influencers,” the information trends toward having the ability to influence food making decisions. Studies report that social media can and does influence food choices with one in ten individuals noting social media effecting their buying behaviors. While these platforms can be seen as a more accessible way to share beneficial information, there are some downsides. The extensive amount of information from numerous resources makes it more difficult for consumers to sort through what is useful to them. Haphazard nutrition advice may be more detrimental in the long run. Posts highlighting “what I eat in a day,” for instance, encourage followers to follow a plan built for someone else when nutrition is highly individualized. This example post also encourages online comparison that can reduce self-esteem.
Cheyenne is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist located in the Charleston, SC area.