The sun has arrived. We can gather with friends and family to eat, drink and be merry. That is until we realise that some of our summer socialising isn't very healthy and can leave us feeling bloated, uncomfortable and heavier.
Whilst a little indulgence is fine, if there are healthier ways to enjoy our food that doesn't detract from the enjoyment and flavour, then why not?
This week we take a look at some healthy alternatives to summer food.
Instead of reaching for the crisps and fatty dips why not try:
- Vegetable crudites: carrots, celery, pepper and cucumber all have a fantastic crunch.
- Dried fruit and vegetable crisps: pineapple crisps are lovely and naturally sweet. Beetroot crisps have an earthy flavour. And apple crisps can be sweet or savoury. Simply slice thin and dry in the oven between two pieces of baking paper.
- Use low-fat yoghurt or kefir as a base for a dip. This will give the texture you need but without the added fat. Adding crushed garlic, chopped mint and coriander will make it fresh and flavourful. Alternatively, you could make homemade salsa. Simply chop tomatoes, add garlic, basil and seasoning and enjoy on top of a celery stick.
- Try replacing crackers with leaves: prawns, cream cheese and houmous all go well when wrapped in lettuce, spinach and baby kale leaves.
The great thing about the summer is that we tend to feel like eating lighter dishes. It's a great time to eat salads and raw veggies, however, keep an eye on the dressing, which can contain some unhelpful additives. So instead of lots of meat and bread consider:
- Cauliflower steaks: fantastic on the BBQ with Mexican seasoning.
- Miso Aubergines: simply slice the aubergines in half prick holes in and season with miso and mirin and BBQ, serve with toasted sesame seeds.
- Barbecued avocado: simply cut in half and grill, remove the stone and you have a perfect place to add corn salsa, mushroom tapenade, or another filling of your choice.
- Lettuce buns: cook your favourite veggie burger and instead of a bun, use a lettuce leaf to wrap it in.
- Veggie kebabs: mushrooms, sweetcorn, courgette, halloumi, onion, aubergine, pepper and many more all BBQ well and keep the veg content high and the fat content low.
We all know alcohol adds calories but so do a lot of the mixers. Why not try healthy mocktails instead?
We like our Beetroot sling. Beetroot is known to be a good energizer and is a great source of fibre. Mixed with the vitamin C benefits of the orange juice, the antioxidant-rich honey, and the digestive qualities in the ginger ale, you can enjoy this drink in comfort. Simply mix all of the ingredients:
- 2 Britt’s Superfoods beetroot and maqui sachets
- 1 orange squeezed
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- Ginger ale to mix
Sticking to natural mixers such as cucumber water, melon juice, apple juice and good old-fashioned water is a great way to stay hydrated. By adding natural flavours such as fruit and vegetables or superfood juices you get a great taste but none of the additives.
Everything in moderation is great but during the summer when the possibilities of naturally sweet fruit are endless, it would seem a waste not to stock up on the fruit puddings:
- Homemade ice lollies: you can control the contents, adding fruit and flavourings as you wish and controlling the sugar level.
- Fruit salad is naturally sweet in the summertime to satisfy any sweet tooth.
- Baked bananas: put them on the BBQ and when soft open and add marshmallows and a little chocolate, you'll wonder why you've never tried it before.
- Yoghurt bark is a great healthy alternative. You control the sweetness by deciding which fruits you add and which sweetener you chose.
One of the most important points to remember during the summer is to stay hydrated. Eating hydrating foods such as watermelon and cucumber and staying away from dehydrating ones such as caffeine and salt, will help fill you up without adding calories and of course adding a superfood juice to your water will add taste nutrients and vitamins.