The warmth and energy of summer is upon us. This season presents many opportunities to make healthy choices and is the perfect time to take your health and fitness to the next level. There’s no need to go without your favorite summer treats, just modify to follow post-surgery guidelines and enjoy. Seasonal activities are bountiful and make it easy to get in movement without formal exercise. Break free from TVs and computers as you put newfound post-surgery energy to use getting out to enjoy the world. Read on for some great ideas to inspire you to celebrate summer while enhancing wellness along the way.
“I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanket.” –Kellie Elmore
Take advantage of fresh summer produce. Load up on leafy greens, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, green beans, berries, peaches, cherries, watermelon, and more. Find produce from local farms at your grocery store or head to the farmer’s market.
Make salad the main course. Salads are an easy and delicious way to get in more fresh plant-based food. Pile on fresh produce with a lean protein source. Bonus–a new study found that when people consume fresh wholesome foods, they eat 500 fewer calories than when eating highly processed foods.
Swap out your protein drink with delicious protein ice cream. It is a yummy summer treat that’s hard to beat and has a meal’s worth of protein to boot. How cool is that? You’ll need an ice cream maker; a nice kitchen gadget to have.
Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen thawed
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 cup skim milk
1 scoop Matrix Simply Vanilla Protein Powder (or another vanilla protein powder)
Strawberry slices for garnish if desired.
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Use an ice cream maker and follow the instructions for freezing. Makes 2 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 169 calories, 17 grams protein, 5 grams fat, 13 grams carbohydrate, 98 mg sodium
Put together a healthy picnic style summer spread when it is too hot to cook. Include deli meats, raw veggies, light cheese, hummus, hard-boiled eggs, and other tasty bites.
Move the cooking outdoors and fire up the grill. Marinate meat in low fat Italian dressing for moisture and flavor. Go traditional with burgers, dogs, steak or chicken or try a plant-based sweet potato and black bean burger (see recipe on page 3) for a healthy change. Don’t forget to grill up veggies along with your protein of choice.
Start your day with a good protein source. Make ahead egg bites (see recipe page 3), Greek yogurt, deli meat and string cheese or a protein drink are a good morning meal options.
Try skinny-dips to dip fresh fruit and veggies. Search online for low fat veggie dips and low sugar fruit dips. After all, carrot sticks by themselves are delicious, but dipped into a tasty creation can give them even more wow.
Summer gatherings are coming. Master a few new recipes so you’ll be prepared. Take a healthy dish to pass and you’ll be sure to have at least one food item to feel good about eating.
Mix up a batch of sun tea to keep in the refrigerator. Use green tea with all of its health benefits or switch it up with fruit flavored herbal teas. Sweeten with stevia or erythritol.
Keep a pitcher of infused water in the refrigerator. Add cut fruit like berries, melon, tropical fruits, citrus, apples, pears, or grapes. Sliced cucumber, celery, fennel or carrots add a fresh flavor. Spice it up with cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, fresh ginger, cloves, mint, basil, cilantro, or parsley.
Smoothies can be a year-round favorite treat, but really hit the spot as the temperatures soar. Here are some ideas to make your smoothies extra special:
- Freeze your favorite calorie free beverage in ice cube trays and then add to your blender for a little extra calorie-free flavor.
- Use yogurt and milk (Fairlife is a higher protein milk option), rather than powdered protein.
- Powdered whey or plant-based powders work great in blended smoothies.
- Don’t shy away from adding in some greens—you’ll never taste them, but they add a multitude of nutrients.
- Frozen fruits make a thicker, shake-like consistency. The fruit doesn’t spoil quickly like fresh, so keeping it on hand is cost-effective. Keep an eye on portions: ½ cup of fruit per smoothie.
- Pour any extra smoothie into small paper cups; add a stick and put in the freezer for a frozen treat to enjoy later.
- If you’re not a fan of pills, you can add some of your supplements, such as powdered calcium and liquid vitamin D to your daily smoothie. Supplements without a strong taste work great to turn your smoothie into a nutritional powerhouse.
We’ve waited months for warm weather. It’s time to unplug and enjoy the beauty and buzz of summer. There are so many fun activities to participate in–outdoor concerts, art fairs, county fairs, walking trails, water parks, zoos…the list goes on and on.
- Enjoy eating outside at every opportunity. That may mean sipping coffee on the deck, taking your lunch to a grassy spot at work, eating dinner on the patio, packing a weekend picnic or asking for outdoor seating at restaurants.
- Notice the sights and smells of summer—squirrels playing in the yard, the wind in the leaves, the clouds as they float across the sky, the smell of fresh mowed lawn, and the beauty of flowers unfolding.
- Long days are meant for evening activity, not the couch. Put on your flip flops and go for a stroll, play with the dog, or walk the kids to the park.
- Start a simple garden and grow some fresh herbs or produce to enjoy.
- Watch the sunrise to greet the day and the sunset leading you into quiet night hours.
- As the temperature heats up, schedule an early morning or late evening walk when it is cooler.
- Seek out local walking and hiking trails in your area for a change of scenery.
“Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly.” Van Morrison
There’s only one Summer of 2019. What are you going to do with yours? Make a bucket list. Include some activities that take you back to childhood, some simple joys, fresh foods you don’t want to miss, and maybe an item or two that take you out of your comfort zone—just for fun!
2019 Summer Bucket List
Play tag or hopscotch
Ride a roller coaster
Play miniature golf
Win a prize at the fair
Catch fireflies at night
Build a sandcastle at the beach
Eat fresh seafood
Pick berries at a local farm
Buy a sugar-free ice cream treat
Roast sugar-free marshmallows
Make sugar-free lemonade from scratch
Eat corn on the cob
Sip a glass of iced tea
Eat a slice of watermelon
Buy fresh produce at the farmers’ market
Have a barbecue
Nap in a hammock
Have a picnic in the park
Sit on a porch swing
Stargaze while lying in the grass
Watch the sun set
Dangle your feet off a dock
Go to an outdoor concert
Swim in a lake
Ride a bike
Go for a hike
Take a last-minute road trip
Read a book—just for fun
Walk barefoot in the grass
Go on a camping trip
Take an epic hike
Pitch a tent in your backyard
Go to a county fair or carnival
Take your dogs to a dog park
Visit a flea market
Make sand castles
Host a cookout with healthy foods
Pick fresh fruits
Start a garden
Go on a picnic
Visit an amusement park
Visit a street fair
Enjoy your backyard in a lawn chair
Light sparklers to celebrate freedom
Volunteer at your local homeless shelter
Plant a garden
Host a board game night
Take a ride in a hot air balloon
Fly a kite
Plan a daily act of kindness
Treat an elderly shut-in to a summer visit
Have a water balloon fight
Write someone an encouraging note
Deep clean your home one room at a time
Be a tourist in your hometown
Dance a summer rainstorm
Make a summer music playlist
Breathe in the smell of freshly-cut grass
Feel the sun on your face
Wade in a lake
Go to a baseball game
Have a bonfire
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burger
1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes (smaller potatoes cook faster)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup old fashioned oats, dry
1 can (15 ounces) organic black beans, rinsed and drained
½ small red onion, diced
½ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Optional burger fixings—buns, avocado or guacamole, tomato or pico de gallo, lettuce, sprouts, ketchup, hot sauce, mustard, pickles, cheese.
Poke holes in the potatoes with a fork. Place on microwave safe dish and cook in microwave on high until soft. Cool, remove skin and roughly chop the insides.
Use a food processor or blender to grind the oats until the flakes are broken up, but not as fine as flour.
In a large mixing bowl combine sweet potatoes, black beans, onion, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, chipotle or paprika, cayenne and salt. Use a potato masher to mix really well. Sprinkle the ground oats over the mixture and mix well with a big spoon until the mixture holds together when you shape a portion into a patty.
Cover and refrigerate the mixture for 20 minutes or more. Shape into 8 patties using about ½ cup of the mixture each.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the patties with olive oil, then place them on the baking sheet and bake until the patties are deeply golden on the outside, about 35 minutes, flipping halfway. Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 205 calories, 6 grams protein, 4 grams fat, 37 grams carbohydrate, 392 mg sodium.
1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
3 Green Onions, diced
6 Mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon Butter
1/4 lb. Ham, extra lean, diced
1/4 teaspoon dried Basil
1/4 teaspoon dried Oregano
a few twists of Black Pepper
1/3 cup Tomato, diced
1 cup Shredded Cheese, Italian Blend
Preheat oven to 350 F. Sauté onions in butter till golden. Add mushrooms and sauté 1 minute more. Add chopped ham and sauté another minute more. Set aside to cool.
Mix all ingredients together. Be sure veggies and ham mixture has cooled slightly before adding to egg mixture. Spoon into 24 lightly greased mini muffin tins. Bake for 30 minutes or until centers are firm. Makes 12 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 86 calories, 7 grams protein, 7 grams fat, 2 grams carbohydrate, 222 mg sodium.