By Joanne Gardner, MS, RDN, LDN and Jocelyn Weiss, PhD, MPH
Once we have settled into our mid-summer routines, it is common to lose touch with our good intentions to lighten up and eat well. With the abundance of activities, family gatherings, and social outings, we can easily be swept up with the temptation to pick up quick meals that are missing healthy supportive nutrients. The summer offers a wide array of colorful and nutritious fruits and vegetables, which conveniently form the base of quick and easy meals.
The challenge is to have fresh produce when you want it, and to use it while it is still fresh. This takes some advance planning and an understanding of the storage life of the produce you buy. When you finally do make it to the farmer’s market, your enthusiasm for being there (and seeing all the freshly picked, colorful fruits and vegetables) can prompt you to over buy.
Here is a useful strategy to guide your purchases at the farmer’s market or in the grocery store:
Now for a recipe to make it easy to use your summer bounty…
Salads are an obvious option to make use of fresh produce. One way to keep them interesting and portable is to create salads-in-a-jar. By layering salad ingredients in the right way, you can prepare them the night before and not have the dreaded sogginess that comes with dressing a salad too early. To eat the salads, you can either dump them into a bowl or (if using a wide-mouthed jar) turn the jar upside down for a few minutes to allow the dressing to filter through and then use a fork to eat straight from the jar. When you eat them straight from the jar, you also have the added benefit of saving time and water from washing additional dishes. It’s a win-win.
The general guide for layering goes with (starting from the bottom of the jar):
To get you started, here’s a recipe for Spinach-Lentil-Sweet Potato Burgers that you can either eat whole or break apart into a salad-in-a-jar.
Notes: You may need some extra time depending on your oven, but patties will initially be soft in the middle when first out of the oven. Do not worry if they are soft when you flip halfway through baking – just flip and use spatula to reshape, if needed.
Recipe Adapted from: http://healthyhelperblog.com/spicy-kale-lentil-burgers
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