Summer 2017: tasty trends

By Brenna O’Dea

Summer 2017 is starting and we could not be happier…or hungrier. With the new season come new trendy tasty treats. We aren’t always all about food trends. Sometimes they are just plain silly. Anyone remember purple and green ketchup? Yeah, let’s leave that part of the past behind us. But sometimes, funky foods can be fun, and healthy too! Here are just a few of the MANY palate-pleasing predictions from earlier this year for what we can expect to see around at summer snack time.

Cauliflower

Sounds lame. We know. But cauli is makin’ a comeback. I’m not sure if it ever really went out of style…but this summer it is heating back up faster than ever. Expect to see this veggie popping up at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yeah, that’s right, I said breakfast. Kale smoothies are SO 2016. Cauliflower smoothies are the new cool drinks to be sippin’ on. Check out this “strawberry banana hidden cauliflower smoothie” loaded with fruit and flavor. Your little ones will never guess there are vegetables in their breakfast. Plus, this recipe also includes a lil’ avocado action for that healthy fats brain boost. Still craving the cauli later in the day? This “turmeric tahini roasted cauliflower salad” is perfect for lunch and dinner alike. This is a great one for when you can’t decide if you want something hot or cold, like on weird rainy summer days like this one. Loaded with lots of lemon juice, olive oil, anti-inflammatory turmeric of course, and our favorite friend, SPINACH. You can make this salad all your own by swapping in your favorite seasonal green, and grain too. This version uses couscous which is a great choice, but for our gluten free friends try out quinoa or even some brown rice – all options will keep you full and focused for the rest of your day or night.

Charcoal

Sounds WEIRD. We know. But hear me out for a minute. Charcoal is gaining recognition and showing up in recipes left and right due to its potential to clear up your skin and clean out your colon. Yeah, I went there. It is no miracle-maker and we make no promises, but people are beginning to reap the health benefits by adding charcoal to their summer time snacks and smoothies. Here is one simple take on this trend, loaded with lemon, apple, ginger, and kale. In fact, this recipe is a healthy one even without the addition of charcoal. And it doesn’t stop in the kitchen. If you don’t want to deal with tar-teeth, try using charcoal right on the skin instead of in the stomach. It is making quite the name for itself in quite a few cleansers and exfoliators out there. It’s even showing up in shampoos and can be especially helpful for removing those excess hair oils that begin to build up in this summer heat. And of course, there is always the old standby, old reliable: using charcoal as it was meant to be used, for your SUMMER GRILLING. There is nothing wrong with going back to basics and leaving the mess in the back yard and out of your daily skincare routine.

Nutritional Yeast

Sounds even weirder…well…it kind of is. But it is also DELICIOUS. We swear. You may remember a mention of this strange superfood back in March, when we talked about “cheesy” kale chips using no cheese at all! Well this bad boy is here to stay for summer and you can expect to see it in just about everything…except smoothies. Yeah, this is one ingredient that you might want to leave behind when you’re using the blender. It really does taste like cheese. Seriously. If you don’t believe us, try some for yourself. We recommend this super simple super tasty THREE INGREDIENT mac n “cheese” recipe that is just about as kid friendly as it gets. That’s right, just three ingredients. Make sure to stick with the whole wheat pasta and omega 3 packed olive oil to keep this dinner delight as nutritious as possible. And guess what? You can even serve up your little ones some healthy nachos on your next family movie night. Grab some grain-based crackers (gluten free or gluten-full, whatever bodes best for their little bellies) and pour on some of this protein packed easy cheesy goodness. Don’t forget to add some chopped veggies on top…perhaps some cauliflower?

Chocolate for Breakfast

If cauliflower won’t get you out of bed in the morning, chocolate sure will. Recent studies show that eating a bit of the sweet stuff can improve your brain function, and of course it will help cut those sugar cravings right at the beginning of your day. Lucky for you…and us…and EVERYONE…dessert for breakfast is making a breakthrough and we are certainly not complaining. Now don’t get TOO excited. When we say “chocolate,” we don’t mean candy bars and ice cream cones. I’m talkin’ about good quality dark chocolate, in moderation, combined with some healthy fats, fiber, and protein to slow that sugar absorption and avoid the afternoon energy crash. No need to dive into that leftover birthday cake for breakfast, but be sure to dive into some of these super-chocolatey semi-healthy recipes the next time you wake up feeling a little lackluster and in need of a sweet start. From scones to steel cut oats, there are PLENTY of fresh and fun ways to incorporate cocoa into your next morning meal. Make sure to add in an egg white omelet and some good ol’ yogurt and granola here and there, but when the cravings call, don’t ignore them, FEED THEM. And finally, for the real double doozy, this smoothie specialty has ’em both: chocolate AND cauliflower. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Get ready to hit summer head on with open arms and wide open mouths. Whether you’re munching on charcoal or chocolate, we hope you have a healthy (and yummy) start to this beautiful wonderful season.

(Image by flickr member Fran Feldman licensed under Creative Commons)

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