So, here we are…right smack dab in the middle of summer 2017.
That’s if you want to call it summer…we were in a heat wave last week, and yesterday, while I was cleaning out my garage, it started to hail.
Welcome to Canada!
Anyhoo, I’ve always thought that eating better in the summer was a given…lots of fresh fruits and veg, lots of barbecue which means healthy protein, lots of cold water because everyone is so hot…
Am I right?
Actually, I’m not.
Summer means lots of fruits and veg (and because you’re entertaining, it’s probably paired with some really fattening dips!), lots of barbecue (which means lots of burgers – with buns and condiments – and wings!), and lots of cold water (ugh, who’s kidding who, margarita’s are more like it!).
We are free spirited in the summer months so we throw caution to the wind and party like it’s 1999.
Unfortunately, I was a lot younger in 1999 and could have probably eaten more burgs and margarita’s without paying the price of the “summer 15”.
So, let’s fix this RIGHT NOW!
Nope, I’m no party pooper…I still want ya’ll to enjoy the summer…really!
But, we are going to have to reign it in during the week if we want to be rock stars on the weekend.
So let’s start with some serious meal prep – or, as I like to call it, “clean out the fridge and make some healthy grub with what ya got”…
Let’s do this!!!
First, check out your fruit situation…got some fruit hanging in the fruit drawer that’s looking sorry? Cut it up and throw it in a Tupperware…trust me…you’ll eat that baby for lunch tomorrow way faster if it’s cleaned and cubed!
Have any ripe bananas? Try this freezing trick to clear your counter and have some “frozen gold” ready to use for sooo many things!
Got any juice lurking in the back of your fridge? If your gremlins are like mine, there will always be the teenist bit of juice left in the bottom of the jug. Just make these quick ice pops so you can make some space in the fridge and you’ll have some great flavour enhancers for your daily water intake!
Make sure you have some lettuce clean and ready to eat. When I say “clean”, I mean clean the heads of lettuce you buy at the store (or, if you’re like me and have a summer garden, grab a few heads from the garden)…once it’s washed, wrap it in a tea towel and store in your crisper. Trust me. You will make salad way faster if this step is done!
Did you buy some greens at the store (if you haven’t, would ya get on that??) or picked some from the garden? Now is the time to clean them, chop them (and even saute them if you can…you will use them so much faster!!) and keep it in the fridge. Add this to your morning eggs, your soup (yup, even add it to your canned soup!), your pasta, your frittata, your pizza…like your mamma said, “eat yo greens”!
Have you bought any fresh herbs?? Oh ya, I remember, you were gonna get all Martha Stewart and make stuff, right? Well, you didn’t but, no need to throw them away. Just make them easier to use…de-stem them and clean them. Make sure they are dry and store them in the fridge. You will be adding fresh herby goodness to everything now that it’s easier!!
Want to go one step farther? Why not chop your herbs (I always have parsley like this in the fridge) and cover them in olive oil? If you are adventurous, you can add garlic like this…read here about all the ways this will make you a better cook!!
While you’re at it, boil up some eggs. Trust me…this is a time saver! Want a quick lunch? Add an egg to your salad for a boost of protein. Need a quick breakie? Slather some toast with some healthy cheese, add some sliced tomato, crumble a hard boiled egg on top, sprinkle with salt and pepper and you have a magnificent start to your day!
And as a snack, at under 100 calories for an excellent, belly filling protein rich snack, this hits the spot!!
Do you have some “sorry” looking dates way back in your pantry? These ones are a bit dry for snacking so, the best thing to do is to whip up some date paste – best refined sugar free sweetener around!!
Cut up some carrots. Sound simple? Well, it is. You won’t eat unwashed, unpeeled, uncut carrots…trust me. And those baby ones? Sure, they will do in a pinch, but sometimes I forget about them and their either go slimy or they get that “oh so attractive” white film on them. When you peel whole carrots, their natural skin keeps them moist and sweet forever!
Edamame…the coolest way to eat your protein in veg form! You can get all fancy and broil them but if you just pop them in the microwave (or a quick boil if you don’t have a microwave) and just add a sprinkle of sea salt…honestly the best snack, like evahhhh.
Okay, now let’s talk protein. The one best way to lose poundage. Trust me on this…
If you have protein with each meal, you feel satiated and consume less calories throughout the day (more than I can say for a toasted bagel…but, oh how I love a bagel!!).
Grill up some chicken (I used my sheet pan that I cooked bacon in to roast my chicken…some salt and pepper and this was the most flavourful chicken ever!)…
…or grill up some sausages (try to find some that are lower fat…my dad makes mine so I have convinced him low fat sausage makes you smart…bwahaha!)
Now we need to make a few things that we can grab and go with!!
This is just a can of beans (I always have canned beans in the pantry and I usually have a can or two of mixed beans when I don’t want to open 3 cans to make a bean salad) with some shaved carrots, minced green onions, sliced basil, a spoonful of store bought tzatziki (healthier than mayo!) and a splash of balsamic.
A perfect lunch time add-in!
Here I cooked up some farro (or you can use spelt or barley or even rice) and added some flavourful things I found in my fridge…frozen corn, chopped garlic, chopped black olives, chopped sun dried tomatoes, chopped parsley, some crumbled goat cheese and a vinaigrette to mix it all together.
Feel free to change it up…it’s just a good, complex carbohydrate meal to give you that energy peak throughout the day!
Do you have some roasted peppers? I always keep some in my freezer (because I do this every summer!), but you can use bottled…just slice them, add some chopped parsley, minced garlic and some olive oil and you have a great addition to any of these salads or it will add an awesome layer to your sandwich!
And make sure you throw nothing away….I know I sound like your mamma, but I’m serious!
I found these 3 pretty zucchini flowers in the garden and was about to let them wither because there were only 3 and it was too much work to stuff and batter and fry only 3 flowers. But, I brought them in, chopped them up and added them to my salad…so pretty!
Remember, it’s summer. A time to relax, kick back and share some love with your family and friends. But why not share the love with yourself too? Treat your body with the respect it deserves…you’ll thank yourself later.
I know you will.