Collage Top Summer Eats

Summertime calls for fresh, delicious, and healthy food, and there’s so much out there! If you’re in an inspiration rut and trying to keep an eye on your figure, these are my five go-to meals  for the summer. Some are simple, some are more complex, but all are satisfying and good for you.

1. Yogurt, Cocoa Nibs, and Raspberries/Strawberries – I like a snack between my breakfast and lunch. Yogurt has always been a staple for me. It’s rich in protein, it’s creamy and satisfying in a similar way to ice cream, and it’s so easy to “accessorize.” Top your yogurt with anything! To keep it on the healthier side and still get my chocolate fix, I love to pair it with some fruit and crunchy cacao nibs. Cacao nibs are unsweetened, so you’ll only get a sugar hit from the fruit. It’s the perfect summer snack.

2. Greek Pork and Greek Salad – Summertime screams salad. However, I struggle with creating flavorful and mouthwatering leafy concoctions. Greek salad is an easy and tasty staple. The hint of red onion, the tart vinaigrette, and the salty feta cheese combined with summer tomatoes and fresh cucumber are impossible to beat. The pork, seasoned with some lemon, salt and pepper, garlic, and oregano, adds umami and protein to flesh out this meal. I love this recipe.

3. Matcha Green Smoothie – This list would be incomplete without a smoothie, and a green one at that. In the afternoon I crave a caffeine hit, but I don’t want a warm cup of coffee or tea. Matcha powder is rich in antioxidants, regulates blood sugar and pressure, and helps boost the metabolism. And, it’s got the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. Since the flavor is bitter, I only add one tablespoon of matcha powder to a smoothie. I mix in one cup of plain yogurt, one banana, one scoop of vanilla protein powder (sweetened with stevia – I like this grassfed whey from sfh), and spinach. This high protein and low sugar drink gets you energized and keeps you full with a healthy dose of greens. I highly recommend it!

4. Banana Pancakes – Pancakes are decadent, but they don’t have to overload you with grains and sugar. Mixing up a simple batter of one banana, 2-3 eggs, and a tablespoon of coconut flour takes two minutes, and the sweetness of the banana eliminates the need for syrup when eaten. I love to cook these up in lightly salted butter and serve with fresh fruit. They are full of protein with a crispy crust and totally delicious.

5. Vegetable Noodles – You don’t need to hit up a fancy health foods store to get these noodles, but you will need a somewhat fancy appliance, a veggie spiralizer. I highly recommend this one from Amazon. This device looks scary, but it’s so easy to use! Take your favourite summer squash, peeled or unpeeled, or sweet potato, or white potato, or any other vegetable that will hold up against the blades. Stick it onto the end of the spiralizer and begin to crank away. This thing is impossible to mess up. It produces beautiful, smooth noodles in no time with no fuss.

Then, the seasoning journey is up to you! I love to get them in a pan and add onion, garlic, butter or ghee, salt and pepper, and maybe some parsley and mushroom to create a delicious aglio et olio pasta dish. The noodles come out really well when made with zucchini. They’ve got a nice starchiness that’s almost indistinguishable from noodles and definitely as satisfying. And I’m saying this as a pasta addict. Otherwise, adding them to a traditional spaghetti and meatballs is so good! The possibilities are endless.

Summer is time for lighter fare, but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice taste. These five meals are healthy, filling, tasty, and easy to replicate with something for all chef-skill levels. I hope they inspire you to get cooking!