Summer picnic with fruits and veggies
June 22, 2015 | by The Polyclinic

No one wants to turn on their oven to roast up vegetables in the summer heat. And getting your family to eat raw broccoli might be a challenge. Here are three options to make sure you and your loved ones reach the suggested amount of 4 to 5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day.

Blanch It!

Blanching is a process where you take a very fibrous vegetable (broccoli, carrots, asparagus, to name a few), place it in boiling water for 2-4 minutes and then stop the cooking process by placing the vegetables in an ice bath. Drain and serve. The result -- you have a sweeter, brighter colored, cold-cooked vegetable that can be added to salads, eaten plain, or smothered with a healthy dressing. To get you started we recommend this blanched asparagus recipe with red onions for added flavor.

Blend It!

While blending a large portion of fruit can result in an excess amount of sugar consumed at one time, blending a small portion of fruit with some non-starchy vegetables can be a healthier option. Don’t forget to add an element of fat or protein like Greek yogurt, protein powder, avocado, or nuts/seeds to provide good balance.

This pineapple green smoothie is rich and sweet with a healthy serving of baby spinach.

Think your blended broccoli won’t fit in your sweet smoothie? It might be a good savory addition as a hot or cold soup instead. Keep it simple and blend cooked vegetables with a low-sodium vegetable broth to make a savory soup.

Try this broccoli soup recipe with fresh thyme and parsley, high in fiber and low in saturated fat.

Don’t be afraid to take your blended vegetable or fruit soups to the next level by eating them cold. This cold cantaloupe gazpacho is perfect for the summer season.

Barbeque It!

Many think of adding vegetables to your BBQ rack, but why not fruits? Halved pears or peaches, pineapple slices, and even watermelon can be delicious when roasted on the grill. Fruit can also be added to your favorite kebab recipes for a sweet twist. This spicy pineapple glazed shrimp kabob is the perfect mix between sweet and spicy.

Using a grill rack for your vegetables enables you to use all varieties of large and small cut vegetables on the grill. Don’t just think inside the vegetable box either, grilled cucumbers and Portobello mushrooms can be great vegetarian alternatives to a beef burger.