Healthy Summer Sides

Thursday December 17, 2015

Kale citrus salad

This is the year to bust out of the summer sides blues and be more adventurous. Whether your meal is around a BBQ, on a sandy beach or under a shady tree, there is no better time to create healthy and nutritious sides for your summer meals. Impress your guests at your next BBQ by using the tips below to whip up some of these fresh, healthy recipes.  

Traditionally side dishes are loaded with bad fats, sugar and salt. Using these easy and simple tips by creating new spins on old favorites you will serving healthy side dishes in no time.

  • Make the fruit and veggies take center stage when it comes to side dishes. In-season fruits and vegetables are your biggest nutrition allies during the summer months. Fresh produce is not only packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water, but most varieties also taste best at this time of year, which means that you don’t have to dress them up with a lot of extras to make them taste good.
  • Most of us opt to make a traditional pasta or potato salad. Swap the mayonnaise for a yogurt or vinaigrette type dressing and add extra veggies. There are so many more nutrients without the added calories. If you really like potato salads switch up and use yams or sweet potatoes instead. If you do decide to make a pasta salad try whole wheat or quinoa pasta for extra fiber and protein.
  •  Often side dishes and be bland and without flavor so we rely on salt. Why not boost the flavors of your side dishes with herbs and spices instead. Use dill, nutmeg or oregano on green beans, basil or parsley on cucumbers, use rosemary or thyme on carrots or cumin, fennel or tarragon in a potato dish. With all this flavor you won’t need the salt.
  • Stay away from the white and opt for whole foods based side dishes. It is simple but not so nutritious to offer up white buns, baked potatoes, potato chips and French fries as sides.  Look instead to complex carbohydrates such as whole grain buns, baked sweet potatoes, veggie chips and just plain avoid the process snacks all together. Your guest will appreciate the healthy options and they taste better too!
  • Use the “add in” principle when it comes to revamping your summer sides. Make what you usually make but make it more nutritious by adding nuts, seeds, veggies, dried fruit and herbs to boost flavor and interest. For instance take a regular old fruit salad and add hemp seeds and mint for a boost in favor and nutrition. Add sunflower seeds and dill to your coleslaw and add cranberries and apples to your chicken salad.

Some of our favourite summer side recipes are:

Yam and Sweet Potato Salad with Walnuts and Raisins

Greek Quinoa Stuffed Pepper

Kale Salad with Citrus Dressing

Zucchini Boats with Ricotta Basil Mousse