Friday, April 30, 2010

Healthy Snacks for an Active Summer in the Northwest

As the days get longer and warmer with summer approaching in the Northwest, we look forward to camping trips, hikes in the Cascades, picnics by the lake and beachside BBQs. With all these wonderful summertime activities, we often find ourselves needing to pack snacks and meals on the go. Fortunately, summer offers plenty of nutritious foods to help make your excursions memorable as well as healthy.

The wide variety of berries grown locally are packed with many vitamins and fiber. High nutrient, low calorie berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries add beauty and taste too many meals and snacks. Whether eating fresh berries by the handful, adding berries to your smoothie, throwing some blueberries in your salad, making berry pancakes, or putting a handful of berries on your cereal or oatmeal in the morning, summer berries are sure to please the crowd and add needed nutrients to your diet. Most berries can be packed in plastic bags and frozen to be used later in the fall or winter.

Peaches: Not much tastes better on a warm day than a juicy, ripe peach or nectarine. Enjoy some of the Northwest grown peaches and nectarines this summer by slicing them up for a snack, grilling them on the BBQ, blending them into a smoothie, chopping them up with some granola into a yogurt parfait, or just bite right in to get all the fiber and vitamins without any worry for calories. Like berries, peaches and nectarines give you nutrients in a sweet and juicy package all for about 50 calories!

One of the most common home garden items in Seattle is the tomato. Like berries and peaches, tomatoes are also a nutrient dense food without a lot of calories. While many of us like to just pop them in our mouths, try them sliced with some mozzarella cheese and basil drizzled with a dash of olive oil and vinegar, chopped with some onions and cilantro for a salsa, or diced on top of any salad to add color and sweetness.

Take advantage of the chance to eat a wide range of fresh, local produce this summer. There is no better time to improve the nutrients in your diet while moderating the calories with all the sweet, juicy summer choices coming to your grocery or farmer’s market soon.

Written by Karen Woo MS, RD
Seattle Athletic Club Northgate

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