Summer Survival Tips

Written by: Taylor Dyer

I have to say, I am so tired of hearing about the "lazy days of summer". Really, who gets to just hang out? Certainly not I or any other working parent. Although fun-packed, summer is the busiest season of the year. Not only do you still have to do all the usual chores and errands, but you have to find time for summer fun too! 

Really, I swear I’m not whining.  I love the trips to the zoo, picnics in the park and attending our neighborhood’s street fairs.  I just don’t want to miss my 2 year-old’s absolute glee at her first toe-dip into Lake Michigan or how cute my 4 month-old looks in her flapper-inspired bathing suit because there is supper to make or laundry to fold. So instead of relaxation, my summer requires fine-tuned schedules, quick and easy food prep, and a militant march toward fun.  

For me, food preparation and planning are the most time consuming chores.  In summer I want to do as little as possible, so I use all my organizational skills to streamline dinner and snacks.

To make my days as easy as possible I always:

  1. Make dinner simple.  It’s too hot to eat a heavy meal anyway.  Think salads with grilled fish or meats (you can grill extras for the week at your Sunday cookout) and pick up your already chopped veggies at a Whole Foods Market salad bar.   Don’t judge, but on salad night, I give the 2 year-old ketchup as a dipping sauce/dressing.  Not something I’d eat, but she thinks it’s a gourmet treat and she’ll devour her spinach!  
  2. Freeze leftover fresh fruit.  My family aims for a fresh fruit dessert every evening, but sometimes we treat ourselves to ice cream instead.  Because my fridge is jammed with ripe peaches, cherries and berries, I don’t want any of it to go to waste.  If it looks like it won’t get used, I just dice the leftovers and freeze them.   Later, I can use the frozen goodies for smoothies, toppings on desserts, or in yummy luscious recipes like the Peach Coconut Freeze below.
  3. Keep a snack-to-go bag.  I like to keep a refrigerated lunch bag pre-packed with snacks.  I’ll cram single-servings of applesauce, string cheeses, grape tomatoes with sides of dressings, and packed peanut butter into a large lunch bag.  Throw in some napkins and utensils to keep everyone neat and clean. Upon return, refill the bag immediately.  Then you’re always ready to go!

The above tricks are things I find really helpful to get through my summers and still have fun, but I’m always looking for other ideas.  Tell me, what makes your summers easy and great?

Peach Coconut Freeze

Serves 4

This refreshing dessert is full of flavor and natural sweetness from ripe peaches.

Ingredients

  • 4 large ripe peaches, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup canned light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened peach or white grape juice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes

Method

Place diced peaches in an airtight container and freeze until solid, at least 4 hours. Break up any big chunks and transfer peaches to a food processor. Add coconut milk and juice and process until fairly smooth (a few chunks of peach for texture is nice). Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with coconut.

Nutrition

Per serving: 180 calories (90 from fat), 10g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 10mg sodium, 24g total carbohydrate (4g dietary fiber, 18g sugar), 2g protein

You can follow Taylor on Chicago Whole Foods Market Twitter account #healthykidshappymamas, read her weekly blog, or stop into Whole Foods Market Lincoln Park to say hi!

Posted on July 30, 2012 at 12:39 PM