Summer is the season for families to be outdoors and on the go. It’s also the season of fresh fruits, vegetables and grilling that can make it easy to eat a diet higher in fiber. While most Americans only consume about half of the recommended intake, the recommendation to eat a variety of fibers means recipes and meals can be modified to help you get some of the health benefits of fiber.
In general, we are more active in the summer months, whether it’s swimming, hiking or taking long bike rides. Inevitable we are all hungry after our adventures, so having some appetizers and snacks that are prepared in advance come in handy when we are on the go. A granola bar or granola mix makes a great filling and portable snack. Fresh fruits and vegetables are really easy to slice and store in the cooler. Seasonal fruits will be plentiful and tasty, and will also provide some fiber to help you reach the recommend intake value of 25 grams per day for women or 38 grams per day for men. (To help track your fiber intake use this food calculator.) Dips are always a favorite, so consider using a yogurt with added fiber to make a yogurt dip, like this Pineapple Yogurt Dip. Bean dips and hummus complement vegetables, and are another way to increase fiber while offering something creamy.
When it comes to grilling, try adding quick cooking oats, pureed onions, garlic and mushrooms to your meat of choice to help your burgers stay juicy. Mixing everything together the day before not only saves times, but also helps the flavor of the burgers develop. There are some great recipes for bean burgers that are a vegetarian-friendly option packed with fiber. Regardless of whether you are a whole wheat or white bun person, the fiber content of buns can be very different so check the label.
A day of playing outside may mean you are hungry enough for sides and a dessert. Grill your favorite vegetables and add them to a salad for a quick and easy side. Anything from a German-style potato salad with grilled onions to a grilled corn salad are favorites. By dessert time, some people may be pretty full. Consider baking a reduced-calorie cobbler with crunchy topping or grilling fruits to eat with toppings or ice cream.
All of this is easy to prepare in advance, pack in a cooler with a lot of ice, and enjoy fairly quickly after you’ve been on your adventure for the day.