The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


July 13, 2014

WVU Extension: Healthy summer eating tips for all occasions

Skip the calorie-dense ’tater salads

Summer and early fall are the times of year for family reunions, potluck picnics, pool parties and various other celebrations where we like to share food.

Bring something delicious and healthy the next time you are invited to attend an outdoor event. By skipping the calorie-dense potato or macaroni salad and the potential for food-borne illness due to the hot weather, you can try some easy new offerings and change some eating habits to encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some suggestions:

- Cut up melons and other firm fruits, such as nectarines, and skewer them with red or green grapes and arrange on a large platter.

- Make a colorful vegetable tray of carrots, squash, celery, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower and broccoli florets, mushrooms and sugar snap peas. Just before serving mix a packet of ranch dressing into some low-fat yogurt and settle it into the middle of the tray (remove any leftover dip after two hours).

- Freeze grapes and banana slices ahead of time and kids (and adults) will enjoy them as snacks as they are thawing; they are very sweet and more nutritious than candy and other sugary snacks.

- Make a big bowl of healthy trail mix with delicious ingredients — probably better to avoid peanuts and use almonds, sunflower seeds or walnuts due to possible allergies of those at your party. You can find a recipe on the website.

- Offer a meatless main dish like Confetti Grain Salad (also on the website above) to provide protein and a variety of vegetables in season which makes it very economical.

Tweak the lemon juice/olive oil dressing with another non-mayonnaise dressing like non-fat Italian salad dressing if that is a taste your family enjoys.

I would love to hear your comments about these ideas, and any other suggestions you have for healthy, delicious, safe foods for promoting good health.

Contact me at the Raleigh County Extension Office in Beckley at 304-255-9321 or Gail.Kinsey@mail.wvu.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               edu.

— Gail Kinsey is the Raleigh-Summers WVU Extension Service Health Educator.

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    Summer and early fall are the times of year for family reunions, potluck picnics, pool parties and various other celebrations where we like to share food.

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