There are a thousand reasons to smile this summer, and West Maple wants to give you a few more!
Many summer treats can be a bit hard on the teeth. Ice cream, popsicles, and sodas are packed with sugars, unnatural dyes, and artificial flavors. These potentially hurt not only your child’s teeth, but lead to sugar crashes, sluggishness, and can be a factor in children acting out of character.
You still want to be sweet to your children, and indulgent treats are fun once in a while! Now that summer is here, temptation is everywhere, but thankfully, so are seasonal fruits and vegetables that are easily transformed into sweet treats the whole family can get behind!
The Skinny on Lycopene
Lycopene is an antioxidant found in many red-skinned fruits and vegetables. Most doctors recommend increasing your daily dose, but why?
In addition to promoting healthy skin, hair, teeth and bones, lycopene aids in cell turn around and keeps your heart healthy! And as we’ve discussed before, a healthy heart and a healthy mouth go hand in hand!
So how do you get more lycopene in your diet? Easy, with a few fun recipes from West Maple!
Tomato and Feta Salad
Omaha is lucky to be right at the center of dozens of family farms! Whether you have a home garden, enjoy a trip to the Farmer’s Market, or simply pop by your local grocers, tomatoes are in season! It might get tricky finding new ways to introduce tomatoes to your family. From spaghetti sauce to blts, tomatoes are delicious and packed with vitamins! This summer salad is a fun and fresh take on the tomato!
4-6 fresh tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
2 ounces of crumbled Feta
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 sprig of fresh mint, bruised and chopped
¼ tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Gently smash your crumbled feta with your salt, pepper, and garlic. Fold in your diced veggies, dress lightly with balsamic, and top with mint. Serves 6.
Whether you use fresh or frozen fruit, these popsicles will feel like a decadent treat to the whole family! This is an easy recipe your little ones can help you with, and it’s a great opportunity to show your children that healthy can be fun, and delicious!
Fresh or Frozen Fruits including
- PineappleYou’ll need a popsicle mold, which can be found at any dollar store and most grocery stores this time of year! Chop your fruit and let your little one add them to a blender, food processor, or smoothie maker. If your mixture is too thick, adding water is a better option than adding juice, which adds a lot of unneeded sugar! If you want a creamier popsicle, using plain or vanilla Greek yogurt or kefir will result in a fun, fruity creamsicle!
Moroccan Watermelon Salad
Watermelon is a perfect summer snack, all on its own! Sweet enough to consider a treat, it’s packed with vitamins and nutrients, and even helps hydrate in these hot summer months! With just a few touches, you can make this summer staple a perfect soiree side dish!
4-5 cups of seedless watermelon, cubed and chilled
one cucumber, seeded and diced
2 ripe avocados, cubed
¼ cup of sliced red onion
½ cup chopped mint
½ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
pinch of ground clove
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup toasted pistachio
½ cup of feta, optional
I personally suggest you chill your watermelon overnight. When the watermelon is very cold, the whole dish has a more fun texture and mouth-feel.
In your serving bowl, add cubed watermelon, cucumber, avocado, onion, mint, and parsley. In a separate container, mix olive oil, vinegar (balsamic or red wine), clove, salt and pepper. Once dressed, top your salad with pistachios and feta for a sweet, tangy, crunchy, and vitamin packed side dish your guests will never forget!
Let’s Talk Turmeric
Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric has been the star of dishes in many cultures since the dawn of the passed-down recipe. What you may not have guessed is that adding anti-inflammatory ingredients to your diet may help with the symptoms of the dreaded gingivitis. Many people have taken to ingesting turmeric capsules, but with a few delicious recipes you can reap all the benefits of this delicious ancient spice as it was meant to be enjoyed!
Roasted Red Pepper Curry
This recipe benefits from both Lycopene in it’s star ingredient, red bell peppers, anti-inflammatory from turmeric, and the most important feature: It’s so delicious you won’t have to fight your family to eat it!
6 red peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded
2 Tbsp curry powder
2 Tsp Turmeric
1 cup Greek yogurt
Blister your red peppers under the broiler and place them in a bowl with a towel over them to rest. Once cooled, use the back of your knife to carefully remove the skins, which you will then discard. Remove seeds and place in a food processor or blender with your spice mix. Blend until the peppers are broken down, then add yogurt, continuing to blend until smooth. Pour over grilled chicken, pork, steak, or rice. For an extra kick, use 2 roasted jalapenos and ¼ tsp of cayenne.
We hope we were able to add some fun inspiration to your healthiest summer yet!