Freshen Up Summertime Eats

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Tomato BoyWant to start off the summer by eating better so you can not only enjoy the dishes you love but maintain that summer slim all year around?

There is no time like the present and taking a few small steps to updating your meals prepared at home and setting up your kitchen so you can get the most of it year round. Here are three fast solutions, for seasonal weeknight meals.

Break the Recipe Rut

  • Take five minutes out of your day to browse the internet or ask a trusted friend for a healthy recipe recommendation. If you’re at a loss for healthy options, I have plenty for summer like my quinoa risotto, enchiladas, and chipotle shrimp to choose from. Switching up your recipes can make meals more interesting and provide you with more complete nutrition because there is no one ingredient that contains all the nutrients we need.

Tinker with Time

  • It’s tough to take time out to plan weekly meals when you’re always on the run or ready to have some summer fun, but taking twenty minutes on a Saturday or Sunday will be worth its weight in gold throughout the week. Print out at least four dinner recipes for the week and jot down your grocery list directly from the recipe ingredient list. Organizing your shopping list the way your local grocery store is organized can make shopping twice as fast. For example, list all your produce items first, then on to dry goods, meat and then dairy. You’ll thank yourself throughout the week when you rush home from work and your recipe is printed, all the groceries on hand, and you don’t get that sinking “what’s for dinner” feeling.
  • Want to shave off more time from cooking. Make better use of those handy kitchen appliances, by placing the ones you use most in a basket or onto the most accessible shelf.

Kids and Cooking, Beyond Just Setting the Table

  • So many children I teach cooking lessons to, or meet at school presentations, are passionate about cooking. Having your kids set the table every night is great, but getting kids more involved with cooking is crucial. It’s the best way to help them not only become independent when they get old enough to make their own meals, but it also helps them to appreciate food more. I’ll admit that it can take more time to have kids help out with meal prep, but why not have them help with one small step each night that is less time consuming? Trimming veggies and herbs with kid-safe scissors, mixing dressings, tossing or composing salads, and washing vegetables are all things that take minimal supervision.

Become a Collector

  • When I was a kid, I picked through Granny’s recipe box when I was tall enough to cook on the stove top. It was stuffed full of recipes that she clipped from newspapers, magazines, and even hand-written cards covered with her even, cursive script.
  • Recipe boxes are quaint but impractical because they can become easily unorganized, so I use a three ring binder with partitions and clear plastic page holders that can hold all sorts of clippings and cards. Once you have a hefty collection of healthy go-to recipes, you won’t have to wonder “what’s for dinner” or worry if the recipe is healthy for you and your family.
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