Simple Summertime Dinners



It's summertime and the livin' is easy...so the lyrics say.  With the hustle and bustle of summer activities, getting a healthy family dinner on the table sometimes is not that easy.  Beat the heat this summer and save time with these stress-free tips!

Make it Easy
Consider meals that do not take a lot of time to prepare.  Serve a protein with a vegetable and fruit for a healthy and light summer dinner. Prepare your meal outside on the grill where time can be saved on cooking and cleaning up.  Follow recipes like the Vegetable Variety Pack below.  Your children will enjoy helping you prepare meals!   Use your crock-pot or slow cooker for ease in preparing food.  This time saving device will have food ready at the end of the day with little clean up and added heat in your kitchen. 

Make it Fresh 
Hot days call for cool meals.  Use fresh fruits and vegetables in salads, sandwiches, chilled soups, and smoothies.  Visit your local farmers' market or your local grocery for fresh produce.  Invite your youngest family members to choose a new fruit or vegetable for the family to try.  This can be a fun experience for the whole family.

Make it Ahead
When grilling, roasting or using your crock-pot, prepare enough for a second meal to freeze.  This will allow you that "vacation day" from the kitchen. Try to do this as often as you can.  Almost any food can be frozen.  Label the food container with the name  of the food (example: Vegetable Variety Pack), date the container (example  June 29, 2015) and serving portion (example: serves 5).  Writing the name, date, and serving size will help you to use the food in a timely manner.

 Try this healthy veggie side dish this summer!

Vegetable Variety Pack
Serves:  5

Ingredients: 
2 small zucchini, washed and sliced
2 small yellow squash, washed and sliced
4 small potatoes, scrubbed, washed and sliced
1/2 onion, peeled and sliced
1/2 red or green bell pepper, washed, seeded and sliced
1/4 cup light Italian salad dressing

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven or grill to 350 degrees.
  2. Stir vegetables and dressing together in a large bowl.
  3. Spread vegetables in the center of a sheet of aluminum foil.  Bring foil edges together and seal to make a packet.  Individuals packets may also be made.
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes or cook on the grill until veggies are tender.

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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall