Posted by: Lynn Beattie, WIC Nutritionist
Springtime is in full swing – and with the weather getting warmer it’s time for barbecues and other fun outdoor festivities! Events like these can mean lots of different foods and desserts – here are a few simple, easy-to-follow suggestions to help make healthier choices when we’re out and about.
If I am invited to a gathering, I usually bring a specialty dish to share. I find this to be a great opportunity to make sure that there are healthy options available to eat. For example, take along a healthy dish that includes a fruit salad or vegetable side dish. Farmers’ Markets are beginning to open in the month of May. Check out what is in season, such as salad greens and asparagus and incorporate them into your dish. A well prepared vegetable salad is full of nutrients and can be a part of any celebration. To top your greens, choose a variety of options to pack it with flavor such as dried cranberries, walnuts, and crumbled cheese. If your specialty involves a pasta salad, try using whole wheat pasta and add a variety of vegetables including bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes and sautéed asparagus.
Interested in making a delicious dessert? Try freezing bite-size banana chunks. Then, melt chocolate (try heart-healthy dark chocolate) and stir it until smooth. Dip the frozen banana chunks in the chocolate and then roll in chopped nuts if you’d like to add a topping. Place the banana bites into the freezer on wax paper and freeze again until the chocolate sets. If you are crunched for time, cut up fresh fruit and serve with toothpicks and yogurt as a dipping sauce.
Here are some other ideas for staying on track since the summer months are approaching.
· Have a quick snack before attending the party. Reach for something healthy such as vegetables and hummus, a piece of fruit, or a handful of nuts. Don’t allow yourself to be too hungry before the celebrations!
· Stay active. This is the best time to get outside and move. Go for a walk before or after the festivities.
· Practice self-control during the parties, BBQs, and gatherings. Feel good about the food choices you’re making and portion sizes of treats.
The fun events often don’t stop at the turn of the seasons; keep these ideas in mind for your summer celebrations! What do you plan to bring to the next BBQ you attend?