Does anyone else ever feel like summer starts to wind down long before it’s really over? For me, it takes a few weeks get into the summer rhythm and actually start, you know, enjoying it. And by then, the class lists and orientation emails have started appearing in my inbox. Instead of panicking, I try to use that jolt of impending reality to remind myself to celebrate summer every day.
We are in the midst of week two of summer vacation, and I’m still trying to figure out the summer. I’m sure I’m not alone in finding that it takes a bit of time to switch gears from the end-of-the-school year mayhem into summer mode. I’ve yet to crack the code on how to slow down while driving one kid to soccer camp and the other to golf practice—and then trying to do something useful with the free hour or two I end up with in between. One thing I do almost immediately, however, is punt the whole meal-planning routine and let our full-on sit-down family dinners take a hiatus for a couple months.
How to Spring-Clean Your Eating Habits
It’s a natural impulse to purge your closet this time of year. Who wants itchy, pilling sweaters when they could be wearing crisp tees and cute sundresses? I also get the urge to clean my windows so I can get a better view of the (sometimes) blue sky and flowers on my trees. And I can’t wait to finally put away the stack of hats, gloves, and snow boots that has overtaken my entryway (since it snowed this past weekend, I’m going to wait a week or two on that one).
Whether it’s trying a new food or attempting a new recipe, the rewards far outweigh the risks.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve urged my kids to try a new food—a food they claimed to “know its disgusting”—only to hear them say, “Wow mom, I didn’t know delicata squash (or kale, pomegranate, clams) was so not gross! Can I have some more?” Sure, sometimes (as with the pureed broccoli-and parsley salad I foisted on them last night), they confirm it to be disgusting. But they don’t gag, vomit, or die.
This time of year, people tend to go in one of two directions, eating-wise: Either they double down on their dedication to a healthy diet and forego every sugar cookie, candied pecan, and cheese plate they encounter—or they say some version of “screw it” and dive head first into the buttered mashed potatoes (or cookie platter).
Learning to love—no, crave—the only non-controversial food group.
I was cooking up some turkey bacon for my kids’ breakfast when my husband read me the headline about the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision to designate processed meat as a “Group 1 carcinogen” (that’s the same category as cigarettes). Up until that moment, I’d been pretty proud of the recent addition of bacon to our morning repertoire and was pleased to cut out carbs and replace them with “healthy” protein. Now I was throwing my hands up in frustration. Was I poisoning my children?
For me, the best part of camping isn’t the rugged hiking trails, swimming in a pristine lake or sleeping under the stars — it’s the food! It’s easy to get caught up in a junk-food rut when packing for a camping trip — potato chips, over-processed hot dogs and preservative-laden packaged foods. But planning campfire meals that are better for you is easier than you might think.
A recent campfire cookout with my family inspired me to make our next camping menu healthier — but still delicious! Try these ideas and easy-to-prepare camping recipes on your next outing.
A mouthwatering Mexican dish from the Gaiam Café. Healthy and vegan, too!
Want a healthy snack that will fill you up without filling you out? Try plain, non-fat (or low-fat) Greek yogurt! It’s super-packed with calcium and live bacterial cultures and it’s low in calories, making it a smart snack choice.
Enjoy this simple yet savory Mediterranean cous-cous salad from the Gaiam Café kitchen. Perfect as a healthy, vegetarian side dish.
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 lb Israeli cous-cous salad
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp tumeric
- 1 Tbsp granulated/powdered onion
- 1 qt vegetable stock
- 1 carrot
- 1 red pepper, small dice