Cooking over a hot stove doesn't appeal much when you want to make the best of the great outdoors. Whip up lighter, easy-to-fix healthy meals and keep your energy for more fun things.
Step 1: Make light fare Make light summer fare in the dog days of summer with linguine from whole grains mixed with eggplant, or pasta with chicken or shrimp.
Step 2: Barbecue everything Barbecue more than hot dogs and hamburgers. Prepare kebobs or put shrimp and plank-grilled salmon on the barbecue with assorted vegetables or fruit. Shortcut the effort with grilled vegetables on Focaccia for a healthy meal in minutes.
TIP: Fruits and vegetables are best for certain seasons -- use strawberries in spring, peaches in summer, and sweet potatoes in winter.
Step 3: Fix fresh snacks Fix fresh fruit and homemade trail mix snacks. Save time with pre-washed bagged lettuce, and cut up some cucumbers, tomatoes, grapes, and apples to grab on the run.
Step 4: Make salad the meal Make salad the meal, with garden veggies and chicken, dried fruit, almonds, and nuts. Make fruit salads to accompany meals all summer.
TIP: Insist the family drink water instead of soda to stay properly hydrated.
Step 5: Go exotic Go exotic. Make gazpacho with lime chicken or throw together tomatoes, various colors of bell peppers, red onions, and baby spinach for a gazpacho salad with red wine vinaigrette.
Step 6: Blend slushies Blend up seedless watermelon and freeze it to treat the family with slushies later. Try putting together a frozen limeade pie for a nice surprise. Be cool and stay well fed.
FACT: From 2002 to 2008, farmers converted to organic systems and increased organic cropland at an annual rate of 15 percent.