Changing environment, learning new language and new culture,being a wife and a mother, living far away from families and friends, I have come to share my views, thoughts, feelings, ideas on so many things that I cherish.

June 03, 2014

Summer Food Fun

This month's issue highlights ideas and tips in creating nutritious meals for your family. June brings us many reasons to enjoy healthy eating including National Fruit & Vegetable Month and MyPlate's third birthday.

A special shout out to Dads!  We hope Father's Day is a terrific family day for you. Thanks for everything you do to raise your children and in a safe and loving family.  Enjoy your day!

Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month
The USDA Economic Research Service posted details of a study titled, "Healthy Vegetables Undermined by the Company They Keep". The results of this study show that many Americans are consuming extra calories and salt when they eat vegetables because of how the vegetables are prepared. Cheesy sauces and deep frying are examples of common cooking methods that are unhealthy and are giving vegetables a bad rap.

Celebrate fresh flavor of summer vegetables this month by going "au naturel"! Try new techniques that offer the best natural flavor without adding extra salt and fat. Here are some suggestions:
  • Choose baking, steaming, or grilling vegetables over frying.
  • Season vegetables with herbs, salt-free seasonings or a light sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
  • Have raw pre-cut vegetables such as carrots, celery, and cauliflower in the refrigerator for snacking. 
  • Toss salad with fresh salsa instead of salad dressing.
  • Serve steamed greens, like kale or spinach, as a bed under grilled meats.

Father's Day - June 15
A family that cooks together enjoys their meals more together! Put Dad in charge of slicing and dicing. Dads know that using the right tool is super important in getting jobs done well. Knives are the tools of trade in cooking and a worthy investment that will make cooking easier and more enjoyable.
Unsure which knife to use? Download our FREE Knife Tip Sheet to find the best blade for the job and more.
MyPlate 3rd Birthday - June 2
Three years and still going strong!  The MyPlate guidelines have made it so easy to develop healthier eating habits for families across the country. Choosing MyPlate is an affordable eating style, too.  Read Shopping MyPlate on a Budget to learn more about saving money while eating healthy. Here are a few budget-friendly tips to help ease your grocery bill: 
  • Fruits/Vegetables: Buy "in season" and "on sale" produce. They are usually less expensive and are at their peak flavor.
  • Grains: Shop the bulk food aisle of your grocery store for the best bargains for rice, pasts, cereals and more.
  • Proteins:  Go meatless more often, beans, peas, eggs and canned fish is often less expensive than the options at the meat counter.
  • Dairy:  Check out the store brand prices for cheese, milk and yogurt, they tend to be the best deals.
                                 National Great Outdoors Month 
June is the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors with a family picnic. Let the kids pick the spot while you plan the menu.

Plenty of great memories have been made over summertime picnics with family and friends. Keep your memories happy by practicing food safety with outdoor dining. Here are some tips to enjoy safe outdoor meals in warm weather:
  • Keep Cold Foods Cold
  • Cleanliness Matters
  • Cook Meats Thoroughly
For more advice on outdoor meal safety in warm weather read Summer Food Safety Tips.

What's In Season This Summer
The freshest summer fruits and vegetables include apples, apricots, bananas, beets, bell peppers, blackberries, blueberries, carrots, cantaloupe, celery, cherries, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green beans, honeydew melon, kiwifruit, lima beans, mangoes, nectarines, okra, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, summer squash & zucchini, tomatillos, tomatoes, and watermelon.

For help shopping, storing and prepping the best of spring's seasonal foods. Download our new What's In Season Guide For Summer.

Celebrate the first day of summer and the longest day of the year on June 21 with a yummy treat made from the season's freshest fruits. Visit Fresh Baby's Summer Recipes for some cool ideas.

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