Light Summer Eating

Summer is here, and we're all more active, enjoying the outdoors, and probably wearing less clothing than we'd wear the rest of the year. In addition to all the BBQs and ice cream cones, you're probably looking for some lighter meal ideas for yourself or your family. I'm going to share a few of my favourite "light but flavourful" food recipes.

A quick salad can be made with one of those pre-packaged coleslaw bags from the grocery store. Whisk a simple dressing: 1/4 cup vinegar (apple cider or red wine), 1 tsp dijon mustard, 2 tbsp apple juice or maple syrup, 1/8 cup olive oil and salt&pepper to taste. Put the pre-cut coleslaw mix in with your dressing and let sit 1-24 hours. Makes a great side dish/salad, or a tasty filling for rice wraps.

Rice Wraps (often used in cold rolls at Thai restaurants) are inexpensive and a great gluten-free summer snack maker. They come dry in a round disc in the international section of the grocery store. Take out the number you'd like to use, and soak in a larger bowl of water for a minute. Once softened, take out one at a time and lay on a dry cutting board. Fill with your favourite ingredients and wrap tightly like a burrito. If you leave them a couple minutes once wrapped, they stick together. Try using the leftover coleslaw, lettuce or other greens, last night's grilled chicken or other protein as fillings. Perfect for lunch or hot sticky summer nights!

Mexican night is one of my favourites. It's filling, flavourful and can have as many items as you like. Start with rice and beans (maybe cooked together, maybe separately). Dice veggies into a salad (romaine, cilantro, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado). Your protein could be white fish, simply baked, or ground turkey stirfried with lentils or onions/garlic/ginger. Top with salsa and you have a tasty dinner for everyone!

Finally, summer dessert is best served cold. But too much ice cream might not be good during bathing suit season. Why not turn your protein shake into "popsicles" using a simple popsicle mold. You could make a little extra at breakfast and pour it into the popsicle tray for later, or just blend up your favourite fruit or juice and any other ingredients you might want. Try frozen banana, strawberry, peaches, mango, spinach with some juice, water or almond milk. Add some protein powder and or vege greens if you wish.

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Enjoy your summer, and in between the ice creams and BBQs, try some tasty fresh dishes that feel light!

Taia Spencer-Yap