Life Food

Healthy summer snacking made easy

By Marilou Yampolsky, Special to the Camrose Canadian

A quick and healthy summer-time meal is as easy as combining your favourite seasonal veggies in a salad. Metro News Services

A quick and healthy summer-time meal is as easy as combining your favourite seasonal veggies in a salad. Metro News Services

Summer is filled with camp outs, road trips, and afternoons at the beach or in the sun.  

It’s a great time to bring back some old favourites — instead of ordering take-out and eating bags of chips by the campfire, enjoy fresh fruits and garden veggies. 

Here are some simple recipes that’ll keep you cool all summer. 

Fruit kabobs are a fun hands-on snack that even the kids can help you prepare, look great and yet are an easy self-serve snack. Chop fruits like cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, or strawberries into chunks then layer them on a skewer for a fun beach snack. Keep them chilled in the cooler for the kids to just grab ‘n go. The secret to success for these fun treats is to alternate the fruits as well as the colours.  Add a fruit dip side dish of whipped topping mixed with flavoured yogurt and you’re set with a low-maintenance, high-chill snack for summer fun.   

My kids love freezies but I don’t love the sugar intake that comes out of a plastic tube of frozen juice and calories. We love to make homemade popsicles instead and they are so easy to make. Fill your food processor with frozen fruit, process then add  yogurt or unsweetened fruit juice. Fill up your popsicle holders and the next day you’re ready to treat the kids to a refreshing cold snack while they’re basking in the sun in your backyard pool.   

One of our favourite splurges on camping trips is buying ice cream. My boys could have a cone every day and still be asking for more. Have you made your own ice cream? There are so many variations of what you can make, and it is such a treat to have ice cream that’s not full of preservatives and fake ingredients. My go-to is a simple vanilla and then change it up by adding fruit or other toppings.  Homemade ice cream sounds difficult I know, but if you have an ice cream maker, all it takes is four ingredients to make a basic vanilla. All you need is whipping cream (two cups), whole milk (one cup), sugar (1/2 cup) and vanilla extract (one tsp). This basic recipe is a good starter, ready to be tailored to your families preferences. I love adding chopped strawberries while it’s churning for a sweet treat. Or make your own variation of a summer fair snow cones with a sorbet with fresh pureed garden raspberries. 

Fruit infused water is such a refreshing treat in the summer.  Fill your pitcher with water then float some berries, oranges, even cucumbers and mint leaves to make a tasty and refreshing drink that is an easy substitute for sugar drinks or soda. We bring water bottles everywhere we go in the summer, it keeps us hydrated, and saves us stopping to pick up drinks on our many road trip adventures.   

If you’re entertaining this summer, take advantage of your fresh produce by making a fresh fruit or veggie salsa. Fruit salsa can be so refreshing made with strawberries, apples, oranges and kiwi all chopped or processed in a food processor. The secret ingredient is lime juice and don’t forget to add orange or lime zest to give it a fresh kick of flavour. This treat gets served just like a regular salsa except instead of taco chips bake your own tortillas cut into triangles and covered with olive oil, a bit of sugar and cinnamon. 

For a spicier side dish pick your fresh-off the vine tomatoes and pair them with jalapeños, onions, garlic and peppers to make a fresh salsa ready to dip homemade tortilla chips.   

An old staple we often forget is the joy of just rummaging through the garden and grabbing peas and carrots and eating them raw. Grab a handful of favourites before your next trip and keep them chilled on the road for an on-the-go snack. No hassle and no mess, and nothing makes a better crunchy snack then just plain and simple raw veggies.      

If you can’t decide which veggie to feature with your barebecue cook off on the deck, then toss em’ all in to a layered salad. You can’t go wrong with fresh veggies and all the favourites. Layer in a glass bowl then top with a dressing of choice. I often mix my favourite greens with spiralized carrots and cucumbers then for a sweet garnish add fresh, sliced strawberries and a nice olive oil and vinegar dressing. The combination of greens, veggies and fruit make it a fun summer side dish.   

No one wants to be in the kitchen when you can be out enjoying the sun in these short months of summer.  Keep it simple, keep it fresh, and keep it cool and fun for summer meals and snacks at home or on the go! and please “like” Marilous pampered chef on facebook  

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