I partnered with the Almond Board of California to create this post and recipes.
After what seemed like an endless winter, the sun is finally out and it is t-shirt weather! I thought I was going to have to wear my winter jacket forever.
Warmer weather means outdoor activity, road trips and long-anticipated summer vacations. For me, Spring means I’m ditching the car to walk everywhere and it’s also the start of travel season. Just like I’m changing to lighter clothes in the Spring, I’m also craving lighter meals and snacks, and I’m taking advantage of the fresh, colorful seasonal produce.
Looking for some healthy eating tips and ideas to own your everyday this summer? Look no further. Here are some of the things to consider for your summer meals and snacks.
I think the first thing on most peoples’ agendas is taking advantage of the nicer weather by getting outside. As things heat up though, don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated! The average person’s fluid needs vary with their size and their lifestyle, but whether you’re planning on being active or just taking in the sun, you’ll need to drink up. I always recommend plain water over any sugary beverages, since it hydrates perfectly and is calorie and sugar-free.
If you’re not into plain water, try flavoring it with the following boosters:
Cucumber and fresh mint
Raspberries and lemon zest
Blueberries and fresh basil
Orange and lemon slices
Foods can also hydrate us – about 20% of our daily water intake comes from solid foods. Juicy fruits like watermelon and strawberries, and vegetables like cucumber and lettuce, contain high percentages of water. As a bonus, fruits also contain potassium, which you lose through sweat. Nutritionally, no fruit is better than another, so choose the ones you love, and eat them often!
Choosing in Season Foods for Meals and Snacks
Plant-based eating is perfect for warm days and evenings. Choosing whatever produce is in season and basing a meal from it is the best way to get more vegetables and variety in your diet. I love lightly steaming or roasting fresh green beans, and then topping them with sliced cherry tomatoes, Italian-style tuna, hardboiled egg, toasted sliced almonds for texture and crunch, and a vinaigrette.
For a fresh snack, choose a pear or peach spread with almond butter! The combination of sweet and salty is addictive.
Check your local farmer’s market for the freshest options of brightly colored fruits and vegetables.
One of my favorite things to make for summer snacking are almond milk-based fruit or cold brew coffee frozen pops, which are light and delicious. My kids love my frozen banana almond bites (recipe below). They’ve got chocolate and toasted almonds, and they freeze super-fast! Best of all, they’re a healthier alternative to sugary popsicles. Both the pops and the bites are the perfect after dinner treat, too!
Eating Healthy on The Road
Highways and airports rarely have an abundance of healthy options, and once you’re hungry, you’re more likely to pounce on whatever food is available. Avoid the situation altogether by packing portable, easy-to-eat snacks that don’t need to be refrigerated. Combining a food that contains healthy fat and protein, like almonds, with a carbohydrate, like dried or fresh fruit, makes a satisfying, filling combination.
My Almond Fudge Energy Bites (recipe below) are packable, nourishing, and delicious. They’re also a fantastic pre-sports snack that will provide lasting energy for all your adventures!
Some of my other favorites for travel are homemade trail mix with almonds, unsweetened dried cherries, whole wheat pretzels, and mini chocolate chips; sandwiches made with hummus and vegetables; frozen yogurt tubes; and even mini peppers stuffed with hummus.
Whatever your plans are this summer, have fun and stay healthy.
Frozen Banana Almond Bites
2.5 ounces dark chocolate, melted
1/3 cup toasted almonds, crushed
Slice bananas and place on parchment-lined baking tray.Drizzle with chocolate and sprinkle with almonds. Freeze until chocolate sets.
Almond Fudge Energy Bites
Makes: 14-16 bites
1 cup whole, unroasted almonds
1 cup soft Medjool dates (around 12 dates), pitted
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a high-speed blender or food processor, process almonds until they are the texture of sand. Add cocoa powder and salt, and process, occasionally scraping down the sides of the blender, until the mixture is completely blended.Add dates, processing until all ingredients are incorporated. The mixture should be slightly sticky.Roll into balls (or, press into a parchment-lined square pan) and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until set, around 20 minutes.Keep in an airtight container.