It’s Summer Vacation – a time for burgers on the grill, ice cream and popsicles in the park, alfresco drinks – isn’t summer the best? This Summer, soak up as much as you can and “Go Rogue” with produce using these fresh and tasty ideas.
Up in Your Grill
Burgers are a cookout classic so rather than deny yourself, give it a plant forward boost. Blend burgers like this Mushroom Beef Burger are everywhere and for good reason. Mixing finely chopped vegetables into the patty not only gives burgers a nutritious plant-centric boost, it adds flavor and juiciness. For more garden goodness look to your toppings and sides. Lettuce, tomato and onion are classic burger toppings, but don’t hold back, try avocado, peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers, microgreens, etc. Fruit works too like this Teriyaki Chicken Burger or Grilled Peach Salsa. Go ahead and put the side salad right on the burger with Sesame Ginger Slaw.
Go Rogue – Try a portobello mushroom cap in lieu of the burger, or make your own veggie burger like this Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger or this Bean and Oat Burger.
Nothing says summer like a lemonade stand, or maybe, it’s an extended afternoon happy hour with friends, that’s more your style. What is more refreshing than a cool drink on a hot, humid afternoon? Remember, those hot summer temps make it even more important to hydrate responsibly. Look to summer’s bounty for some creative ways to make your drinks interesting, without added sugar. Berries, melons, cucumbers and fresh herbs are delicious ways to flavor and infuse water, seltzer or iced tea. Make it mocktail hour with this Tropical Ginger Punch or try this Coconut Watermelon Slushie for a frozen drink for the whole family.
Go Rogue – Eat some water too! Load up on fluid rich goodies from the garden like cucumbers, peppers, watermelon and more.
Summer days call for frozen treats. Topping your favorite fro-yo with fresh fruit or opting for freezer pops made with real fruit or 100% juice are simple plant-based boosts. Go further with homemade frozen novelties like these hydrating Coconut Water Berry Pops. If ice cream is a must, homemade plant-based ice cream is easier than you probably think with this banana-based Chai “Nice” Cream.
Go Rogue – Double your smoothie recipe and put the extra smoothie in a popsicle mold for a delicious afternoon snack.
Focus on Fun
Vacation should be restful, but it should also be fun. Get out of the beach chair to take a walk in the sand or jump in the surf. Step away from the picnic table to play kickball with your kids. Host a neighborhood foursquare tournament. Show off your roller-skating moves (knee pads, elbow pads and helmet highly recommended). Learn something new like tai chi, surfing, waterskiing, snorkeling or whatever else you have always wanted to try.
Go Rogue – Get in the garden. Fresh plants to eat and some activity for you.
Savor the Season
If there was ever at time to eat in-season, it’s summer. We wait all year for juicy tomatoes, crisp corn on the cob, sweet peaches, and more, so eat them while they are at their peak. Serve extra watermelon at your cookout. Try cucumber rounds and pepper strips with your favorite dip. Round out your charcuterie with some cherries, apricots or even peppery radishes.
Go Rogue – Challenge yourself to incorporate different fruits or vegetables with every meal and snack.
Making healthy choices all summer long can be easy and fun. Garden fresh fruits and vegetables are something to look forward to. Starting this summer, think of eating your fruits and vegetables as something you GET to do, not something you HAVE to do. And, have fun – you are on vacation.