While enjoying a holiday, no one feels like spending unnecessary hours in the kitchen if you can rather spend time with family and friends. Maintaining your lifestyle of healthy choices and portion control can also be a challenge during the holidays. A little planning can go a long way to make things so much easier on the healthy cooking front.

Summertime is not only much hotter, but we do spend more time out and about in the sun, so staying hydrated is really important. You may not always realise that a feeling of being hungry, is in fact thirst. Stay hydrated with water and delicious refreshing homemade iced tea, it’s really easy to prepare. Remember that fruit juice can be very high in sugar, so rather dilute it with water and if you struggle to drink enough ‘normal’ water, add lemon, mint, cucumber or fresh fruit slices for some extra flavour.

Summer is also a time when the weather allows us to enjoy outdoor meals, like picnics, on a patio or other outdoor areas. Salads and light meals are popular and whatever you plan to serve, remember the Cooking from the heart guidelines:

  • homemade is best
  • enjoy a variety of foods in every meal
  • manage your portion sizes
  • make sure that each meal is well-balanced and nutritious
  • use a smaller plate
  • focus on not just rushing through your meal, so that you really enjoy the food

A good example of a light and wholesome summer meal is a chickpea salad with lots of fresh ingredients and a homemade herb dressing. Or make a salad with leftover chicken to keep it filling enough. Leftover meat can be added to almost any salad, whether it’s a coleslaw or a basic green salad. Or have all the ingredients in a wrap or pita bread.

Make the most of the time spent in the kitchen and prepare a big batch of roasted veggies. Roasted veggies are wonderfully versatile and can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. Have it in a wrap with cheese or a meat of your choice, as the base for a salad or just as a delicious side to any meat. Leftovers can be tossed with beans for a vegetarian meal or have a fried egg on top for brunch.

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