Hydrate with Food

All we hear during the summer months is “Stay hydrated!” So we automatically assume to grab a glass or a bottle of water and start chugging. Well we don’t just have to drink to stay hydrated, we can eat too (yes!) No more feeling water bloated (and having to run to the bathroom all the time) this summer to just stay hydrated! Let’s look into the top 5 hydration foods to add to our everyday meals.

Cucumbers Cucumber_and_cross_section

This summer veggie has a 96.7% water content. Add cucumbers to a salad, puree it with a non-fat yogurt with some herbs and make a cucumber soon, or just dunk them in your favorite hummus. Simply adding cucumbers to a meal will help you keep hydrated.

CeleryCelery-Stalks

This stalk packs in fiber, folate, Vitamin A, C and K. 95.4% water content, celery can help us all keep hydrated when we are sweating a lot of our liquids out. Remember that rumor that celery had negative calories? Well that isn’t entirely true since it does have 6 calories per serving, but this low-calorie veg helps maintain and balance our stomach acids. A few celery stalks a day can help with blood pressure, asthma, and helps keep the urinary tract clean. Celery is a perfect beach snack to dip in peanut butter, chop into a salad, or to throw into a light tuna salad.

Radishesradishes-02

Still high up there on the water content with 95.3% ranking, radishes can pack a punch for this summer. Radishes can had a sweet and spicy flavor to any dish you make this summer. Every crunch packs on the antioxidants found in radishes. Radishes can help with sinuses, stimulates appetites, and cleanses the kidneys. A simple radish coleslaw made with olive oil and lemon juice is a perfect side dish, or radish can be garnished on any salad this summer.

Tomatoes29tomato1-superJumbo

For those of us that live in the Philadelphia area, we all know that summer time is the perfect time for Jersey Tomatoes. Tomatoes have 94.5% water content. Ripe and in season tomatoes are easy to put into any dish: putting a few slices on a sandwich for the beach, cut into wedges for a salad, or sliced and ready to eat with a little salt a pepper YUM! Not only are tomatoes a great hydrating food they contain so many vitamins and antioxidants in them. Tomatoes can also help to prevent cervix, bladder, and pancreas cancers.

Green Peppersgreen-pepper

Green for go! Load up on the green peppers at your local farmers markets and grocery stores. Though all bell peppers contain high water content the green pepper comes in at the top of the list with 93.9% water content. Green peppers make the perfect snack for anytime, on kabobs, or stuff them up with your favorite quinoa recipes. Getting your daily dose to peppers can help improve your hair, skin, and nails!

These are just 5 simple fruits and veggies that can help us keep hydrated when our water gets a little bland. They also pack in lots of nutrients and vitamins, along with other added health benefits. Remember to also make sure the kiddies that you’re spending time with keep hydrated while they are in and out of the water, building sand castles, and riding bikes. You can also add your favorite fruits, veggies, and herbs to water to add a little flavor without added sugar. Some of our favorites: cucumber and strawberry, lemon and ginger, or mint.

There are plenty of ways to stay hydrated this summer – be creative and have fun with it!

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Summer’s Bounty

Did you know some of our staple summer produce holds some of the most nutritious vitamins? Here they are right in front of us, in bulk, at our grocery stores and farm stands! They are as fresh as can be and less expensive compared to the colder months. Now that we have all of these fresh and nutritious options at our finger tips lets gobble them in before it’s too late! Some things to keep in mind when buying produce is to consider organic. We can understand that buying 100% organic can be expensive. The “Dirty Dozen List” is a list of fruits and vegetables that are at the top 12 pesticide infested fruits and vegetables, and therefore should be priority when choosing which foods to purchase organic.  Going organic for these 12 are definitely worth your pretty penny!

The Dirty Dozen

Apples Strawberries Grapes Celery Peaches

Spinach

Sweet bell peppers Nectarines Cucumbers Potatoes Cherry tomatoes

Hot peppers

If there is produce available that is organic and locally grown, that’s a double whammy! Buying local doesn’t only benefit you, but the people around you. Your produce will taste better if it is locally grown because it doesn’t have to go through being picked before being ripe and shipping. Local food also promotes energy conservation by decreasing our carbon foot print by traveling miles to grocery stores. Buying local helps local farmers and builds the community as a whole.

One of my favorite summer fruits are BLUEBERRIES. I could go through a carton all by myself, no shame. Blueberries are low in fat with only 80 calories per serving. They are also full of dietary fiber, which helps keep your body regular during digestion, keeps our heart healthy and keeps our cholesterol in check. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help with cardiovascular disease, cancer and other age related diseases. These small little blueberries carry a lot of Vitamin C on their shoulders; Vitamin C helps with collagen formation, maintains healthy gums and capillaries and boosts that immune system. Manganese can also be found in blueberries which aids with bone development and with converting proteins, carbs and fats into energy. Who would have thought blueberries came with such a punch?!

Nothing says summer like a juicy peach. Taking the first bite of a perfectly ripened peach is a force to be reckoned with. You are bound to get peach juice all over your cheeks and then it starts to drip down your hand and then it somehow ends up on your lap, but…it’s all worth it. When there is nothing but the pit left you could go in for another peach. Not only are they delicious this time of year, they benefit our bodies. Peaches contribute to our eye health because they have beta carotene in them which improves eye vision by increasing circulation of blood. Peaches can make our skin glow! They are packed with Vitamin C, which can help with dark circles and wrinkles. Hallelujah. Peaches are a rich source of antioxidants and fiber. Antioxidants help with the immune system and fiber keeping our digestion regular.

watermelonA slice of watermelon is always a special treat during the summer because we all know winter watermelon and summer watermelon don’t even compare. Watermelon helps with cardiovascular and bone health because it improves blood flow and  it’s also rich in potassium which holds onto calcium in the body, therefore promotes healthy strong bones. Watermelon is known to reduce body fat with its partner citrulline that reduces the accumulation of fat in our fat cells. Along with the other fruits, watermelon contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support.

 These are just a few of summer’s special treats to us. Whenever you feel a sweet tooth craving come in, give in with fresh fruit! Looking for something a little more complex on your tastebuds? Check out some simple healthy recipes using our favorite summer treasures!

 

Blueberry Peach Cobbler 

Ingredients

  • 5 lb peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup organic cane  sugar or coconut sugar, divided
  • 3/8 tsp salt, divided
  • 6 3/4 oz plus 2 tbsp 100% whole wheat flour, divided (or brown rice flour for GF + 1/4 tsp xantham gum)peach
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup organic butter or EarthBalance soy-free vegan butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk (or dairy free with 1/2 tsp lemon juice)
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a large bowl, toss peaches with lemon juice, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/8 tsp salt and 2 tbsp flour.  Arrange peaches in a 9×13-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and remaining 1/4 tsp salt.  Place the butter and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed.  Add in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Add the flour and buttermilk, alternating between the two, starting and ending with the flour.  Stir in the blueberries.  Pour the batter over the peaches and spread evenly.  Sprinkle the top with the turbinado sugar.
  4. Place pan on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until topping is golden and filling is bubbly.

 

Watermelon Blueberry- Mint Popsicle 

Ingredients

  • 6 heaping cups diced seedless watermelon (or remove the seeds)
  • 3 tablespoons agave or honey
  • ½ tablespoon lime juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced mint leaves
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries

Instructions

  1. In a blender, puree watermelon along with sugar, lime juice, and salt until smooth.
  2. Add mint and blend briefly to finely mince the mint and get it mixed in.
  3. Pour puree into popsicle molds. (You should be able to make at least 10, but it will depend on the size of your molds.)
  4. Freeze until hard.

 

 

Whole Wheat Strawberry Walnut Loaf

When in season we love going to local farms that allow you to pick your own fruits and veggies.  A few weeks ago we went strawberry picking, which left me with an abundance of fresh strawberries. We were supposed to drop off a bag at my parents but never made it up there. So after using my favorite summer berry in smoothies, salads, and preserves, I decided to bake something with the remaining cup or so I had left.

I wanted to make something light, but also add some nutrient rich ingredients to get some nutritional benefits while indulging in a sweet snack.  Although I would not replace this with your breakfast or eat half the loaf in one sitting,  it does contain some heart healthy fats and added protein with the walnuts, as well as added protein by using plain greek yogurt. It’s a perfect guilt-free summer snack to satisfy those sweet cravings.

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Lightly sweetened with turbinado sugar, this loaf has a light crunchy crust, is moist inside laced with crunchy buttery walnuts and fresh tart strawberries. So good!

farmers market quinoa salad

 

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Ingredients: Red and white quinoa, kale, spring peas, zucchini, apples, scallions, toasted almonds, avocado,  and sunflower seeds.

This is one of my favorite summer quinoa salads. Made fresh with local farmers market veggies and full of fresh herbs, tossed in a light lemon-basil vinaigrette. It’s also vegan and gluten free.  

Light, but filling, this nutrient-dense salad will keep you energized and full throughout the day, without weighing you down. It’s a perfect lunch and will add to your daily dose of fiber, protein, omega 3’s, antioxidants and B vitamins… and much more!   

The Farmers Market Quinoa Salad is on the summer menu at the Galley Cafe,  come and get it!  

The Galley cafe is located in the Vincera Institute at 1200 Constitution Ave, Philadelphia.

 Opening soon!