A plate of crab cakes with lemon and cucumber.

Healthy Summertime Eating — Not as Easy as it Appears

Enjoy patio time with friends in a masterful and healthy way.

Although we feel like it should be easy to eat better in the summer and we have a variety of farmers markets offerings colorful fruits and veggies, I argue it’s actually HARDER to consistently eat well in the summer. Factor in busier schedules, impromptu mid-week patio get-togethers and all of the other mid-week activities (baseball games, concerts, etc.) that lure us out of our normal weekly routines, and eating clean becomes a struggle.

Especially post-Covid. We are all starved of socialization and in a mode of saying YES to all kinds of plans, making us busy week in and week out. What does this do to our diets? Whatever your preferred eating plan is (vegetarian, vegan, paleo, Mediterranean), it makes it A LOT harder to get into a rhythm of planning, prepping and cooking with seasonal whole foods.

And because we aren’t as focused, we aren’t as consistent. When we lose our habits, we tend to grab more prepared and packaged food, which causes unintended fall-off-the-wagon consequences.

Traditionally in the winter, we are more likely to keep our weekly routines and plan social outings for weekends (weekend get-togethers and/or ski weekends). When the weather gets nice, we go outside and bring friends, snacks, take out and booze. Let’s get creative to save our healthy selves from our devilish selves this summer. Enjoy the patio time with friends in a masterful and healthy way.

What You Can Do

A bit of planning goes a long way. Use all of the in-season fruits and veggies to keep your impromptu get-together colorful and delicious. Resist the urge to pick up chips and dip and choose something more thoughtful and interesting.

Here are some quick and easy ideas:

Mini Avocado ‘Toasts’

Use nutty seedy gluten-free crackers instead of bread. Trader Joe’s makes a great one. Mash avocado and top with lemon juice and a dash of salt. Garnish with red pepper flakes and thinly sliced radish. Super simple, fresh and delish.

Everything Bagel Cashews

Modified from Clean Plate, G. Paltrow

1 cup raw cashews
1 tbsp avocado oil
2 tsp crushed dried onion
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp crushed dried garlic
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp coarse salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine cashews and oil in a medium bowl. Spread the nuts. Bake the nuts for about 15 min. In another medium bowl, combine the seasoning. Toss the nuts with the spice mix and let them cool before serving.

Thai Crab Cakes

Modified from It’s All Easy, G. Paltrow

1-pound cooked crabmeat, large pieces broken up a bit
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 tbsp mayo
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 large egg
1 tbsp fish sauce, tamari or coconut aminos
½ tsp sriracha or other hot sauce
½ cup GF breadcrumbs (toast a piece of GF bread and chop or blend)

½ cup mayo
2 tsp finely grated minced lime zest
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
Salt to taste & olive oil

A quick crowd-pleasing throw-together! Mix crab patty ingredients by hand in a large bowl. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 20 min or more. Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients in blender or food processor and process until smooth. Form crab mixture into 8 patties. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Cook the crab patties for about 5 minutes total or until crispy on both sides. Eat with sauce.

Watermelon, Cucumber, Corn Salsa

From Eating Well

2 1/2 cups finely diced watermelon
3/4 cup finely diced cucumber
1 ear corn, kernels removed
5 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/2 – 1 small jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Stir watermelon, cucumber, corn kernels, onion, jalapeno to taste, cilantro, lime juice and salt together in a medium bowl. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

White Bean Dip

Giada De Laurentiis

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons
1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
6 pitas (or any GF cracker will do)
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Place beans, garlic, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, and parsley in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mixture is coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pitas: This recipe works beautifully with veggies and GF crackers, so no need to fuss with making pitas unless you want to. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut each pita in half and then into 8 wedges. Arrange the pita wedges on a large baking sheet. Pour the remaining oil over the pitas. Toss and spread out the wedges evenly. Sprinkle with the oregano, salt and pepper. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until toasted and golden in color.

Use these recipes and other Healthy Nest favorites to keep energy levels up this summer. For more info on feeling your best through smarter food choices, contact our holistic nutritionists. It’s a personal puzzle, but we can assist in figuring out what’s best for your body.

Book a free 20-minute consultation with Healthy Nest Nutrition owner Robin Hutchinson to see if our programs are right for you.