Summertime Treats: Popsicles, Salads, and More
Ah, Summertime! A fun-filled season with lots of parties, family adventures, and treats. Teaching and modeling a balanced, healthful lifestyle is a key role for parents, but it can be a challenge getting nutritious foods into those little bellies! Food can be a fun learning opportunity for those growing brains. For instance, using a variety of colorful fruits and veggies for your smoothie or salad is a great way for toddlers to learn colors and shapes. Here are a few of our favorite healthy recipes that the whole family can enjoy!
Fruit and Veggie Popsicle Recipe
- 1 Cup frozen mango
- 2 Cup spinach
- 1 Cup frozen pineapple
- 1 Cup carrot juice
- 2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
- 1 Cup goat milk kefir or yogurt
Directions: Blend all ingredients together. Pour into muffin cups or popsicle trays, insert popsicle sticks, and freeze.
Salad in a Jar Party Recipe
- A mason jar and lid
- A variety of your favorite veggies, proteins, legumes, grains, or other salad toppings
- Salad dressing or olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Enjoy building your salads as a family, or go potluck style with friends.
Layer 1: The Dressing
The first layer of a mason jar salad is always the dressing. You can use any type of dressing you like. I prefer an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing, which will come out of the mason jar more easily. If you use a thicker dressing, you will have to give the jar a good shake and probably need to use your fork to scrape it out. Use about 2 tablespoons of dressing.
Layer 2: Hearty Vegetables and Legumes
This layer is very important because it shields the dressing from the lettuce and other vulnerable ingredients. In this layer, you should use vegetables that can hold up to being in dressing for up to a week. Choose raw vegetables like tomatoes (small, uncut tomatoes like cherry or heirloom), red onion, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, celery, carrots, peppers, beets, and any other hearty vegetables you like. Chop as desired.
Next, sprinkle cooked legumes like black beans, kidney beans, lentils, or edamame, and less hearty raw vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, sprouts, cucumber, and green beans. If you are using an avocado, then add it in this layer as well (sprinkle it with lime juice to keep it fresh). Basically, this layer acts as a second barrier between the dressing and the lettuce.
Layer 3: Pasta and Grains
This layer is for pasta and/or other healthy whole grains, such as couscous and/or quinoa.
Layer 4: Protein and Cheese
In this layer, I put eggs and cheese. I like to keep these ingredients away from the dressing because they do not do well when they sit in dressing for a couple of days or more. If you are using shrimp or other seafood, add those ingredients to this layer. For cheese, I have used blue cheese, feta cheese, goat cheese, shredded parmesan cheese/cheddar, and various cubed cheese in my mason jar salad. Each of them has worked fine. Cheese tip: Generally, the harder, the healthier. For example, Parmesan is a good choice. Remember to limit the amount of cheese or skip altogether!
Layer 5: Lettuce, Nuts, Seeds, and Dried Fruit
In this last layer, you want to put ingredients that would wilt or become too soft and soggy if exposed to dressing for too long. This definitely includes any type of lettuce or greens. I also include nuts in this layer because I have found that they sometimes lose their crunch if they are too close to the dressing layer. My favorite greens to use are arugula, baby spinach, kale, romaine, and mixed greens. Put nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in last.
After you fill the mason jar with the different layers, just put the top on and close tightly. There’s no rule for how much to put in each layer. You can even skip a layer or two. The layer you always want to include is layer 2, the hearty vegetables, and legumes. Just make sure you have enough other ingredients to keep the dressing and lettuce away from each other until you’re ready to enjoy your salad.
Now, you have a healthy and hearty salad all in a convenient to-go jar! Just shake and enjoy!
Chicken Meat-za Recipe (Serves 4)
- 4 organic chicken breast sliced thin
- 1 Tsp. Italian seasoning
- 2 Tsp olive oil
- 1 Tsp. Garlic power
- 4 medium mushroom
- 1 sliced green bell pepper
- 4 Tbsp. black olives
- 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/4 onion sliced
- Marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush sliced chicken with olive oil, add seasonings, and salt/pepper to taste. Place on lightly oiled foil-lined baking sheets. Bake for about 15 minutes. While chicken is cooking, chop or dice vegetables to add as toppings to chicken. Spread marinara sauce over chicken, then top with cheese and veggies. Bake for another 10 minutes (or until cooked through).
Crispy Chocolate Almond Butter Energy Bites Recipe
- 1/3 cup chocolate protein powder. We love the Complete nutritional mix
- 1/3 cup Vanilla protein mix
- 2 cups organic rice cereal
- 1/2 cup honey or agave syrup
- 2/3 cup almond butter
- 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- Optional additions: chia seeds, hemp seed, or shredded coconut
Directions: Simply mix all the ingredients, roll into a ball, place on parchment paper or a plate, chill in refrigerator or freezer, and enjoy! These should only take about 20 minutes to chill.
For more summertime meal prep recipes, click here.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy summer season!
The Sears Family