(BPT) - Summer is possibly the easiest time to stick to a healthier lifestyle. It’s warm outside so we’re more likely to be active, plus there’s plenty of good, fresh produce available. With the recent focus on organic ingredients and the farm-to-table approach, home cooks and anyone interested in a healthier lifestyle are looking for ways to boost their health through better food choices.
Fortunately, there are more ways than ever to eat healthier.
Grow your own vegetables, fruits or herbs
Summer is a great time to get into gardening. Even if you don’t have much of a yard or a lot of time, you can grow just one vegetable, or even herbs like basil or oregano, in a planter, indoors or out. Some neighborhoods even have communal garden spaces available. Plenty of fruits and vegetables are not that difficult to grow, depending on where you live, from berries and melons to lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and beans. Whatever you decide to grow, you’ll feel good knowing exactly where your food came from.
Use farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture
You can support your local, organic farmers by shopping at farmer’s markets or signing up for community-supported agriculture (CSA) in your area. The benefit to you is that the quality of the produce will be high, and you’ll have access to all kinds of fresh, organic ingredients for your cooking.
Buy your cooking ingredients from companies certified as organic by the leading third-party organic certifier, Quality Assurance International (QAI). For example, Simply Organic offers a wide variety of delicious organic spices, seasonings, sauces, cooking mixes and packets for making marinades and dips that are all certified organic products.
When you’re preparing meals, using fresh, organic ingredients means that you’re providing the best quality, healthful food for yourself and your family. Cooking food with plenty of nutritional content, like high-quality proteins, fresh vegetables, fruit and legumes, along with organic spices and flavorings, will ensure that every meal you make contributes to the overall health of your family. Look for recipes that are not only delicious, but that use lots of nutrition-packed ingredients.
Try making these Spicy Guacamole Stuffed Potato Skins for your next party.
1/2 teaspoon Simply Organic Black Pepper Medium Grind
8 medium-sized yellow potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 ripe avocados
1/2 cup quartered grape tomatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Wash potatoes to remove dirt from skins. Cut potatoes in half. Using a melon baller or small cookie scoop, remove center flesh from potatoes.
Place potato halves on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and rub oil over flesh and skin of each one. Sprinkle with salt, coating the flesh and skins. Sprinkle on pepper.
Bake, flesh-side down, for 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork.
In a medium bowl, mash avocados. Add guacamole mix sauce and stir to combine.
Let potatoes cool for 5 minutes, then fill each skin with guacamole (about 1 teaspoon per potato). Top with tomatoes, sour cream, green onions and cilantro (if desired). Serve warm. Makes 16 servings.
Whether by growing some of your own food or becoming more selective about the sources of your food, everything you cook and eat will be more nutritious. By putting extra thought into the quality of ingredients you use in your cooking, you can ensure that you and your family will be eating healthier not just this summer, but throughout the year.