Simple ways to have fun with food this summer

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Simple ways to have fun with food this summer

As the famous song says:

“Roll out those, lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

Those days of soda and pretzels and beer!”

Hooray, summer has finally arrived here in the UK, and thermometer mercury levels are on the up faster than a third wave COVID graph! And somehow, through it all, we are all still looking forward to enjoying a cool beer after work as the nights get warm and balmy. And let’s face it, we could all do with a break, albeit another ‘staycation!’

Looking on the bright side, in the summer months, many of us hope to take our children outside and just enjoy the great weather and let them feel the magical warmth of the sun on our skin (with sunscreen of course!) and the sand between our toes. Inevitably, having built a miniature version of Hampton Court using only a bucket, spade and some seashells, our thoughts will at some time turn to food. But why settle for a soggy cheese sandwich when there are so many more things you could make with a little imagination?

Here are just a few useful ideas for some seasonal fun.

Make an edible rainbow

This is one of my favourite ways to encourage younger people to eat more of their 5-a-day fruit and vegetables and you can teach them about the colours of the rainbow at the same time. Rainbows are symbolic to a lot of people and cultures, representing everything from hope to thanks to a celebration of gender identity, but on a very simple level, they’re just pretty to look at and children love them! So why not cut up some pieces of your favourite fruit and vegetables and get your children to create their own ‘food rainbow’. You can be as conventional or as creative as you like and we’ve listed below, few fruits and vegetables you could use for the different colours, but even better if you can think of even more exotic or unusual ones and why not use some edible flowers such as nasturtiums as well?.

Rainbow colour

Suggested fruits and vegetables

Red

Red apples, chillies, tomatoes, red peppers, cherries, raspberries

Orange

Oranges, orange peppers, carrots, tangerines, kumquat, peaches, apricots, 

Yellow

Lemons, bananas, pineapples, yellow peppers, grapefruits, honeydew melons

Green

Pears, kiwi, green apples, peas, green beans, broccoli, cucumber

Blue

Blueberries, elderberries, raisins, prunes

Indigo

Blackberries, purple artichokes, grapes, acai berries

Violet

Figs, plums, red cabbage, aubergines, figs, red onions

If you like singing, you can also extend this activity by singing about rainbows using some popular nursery rhymes and songs too. and it’s a great way to help children learn the names of the colours and foods as you sing. 

Make your own ice lollies

 

Who doesn’t appreciate a cool ice lolly on a hot summer day? You can make them in lots of different flavours to suit tastes and children will love helping to make them. You can buy some moulds and wooden or reusable sticks easily in any household store and easily make up some fruit squash using fruit juices and/or yoghurts, putting them in the freezer to set for a while. But why stop there? How about something radically different such as coconut and avocado, a fruit salad ice-pops, and traffic light lollies. Or get the children to experiment and see what they come up with!

Make some fruit kebabs

Fruit kebabs are fun to make but ensure that the children are well supervised if you are using skewers. Cut up some ripe summer fruits and if you have some children, get them to help to make fruit ‘kebabs’ by pushing the fruit onto the skewers. You could mix up the colours, create a rainbow, or have different themes, such as all red or all green or do the colours of your favourite football team .

Make a picnic and visit a local park

Summer would not be summer without a picnic, but when did you last update your picnic fare? You no longer have to rely on the old ‘cheese sandwiches and Battenberg cake’. Picnic food, and healthy picnic food at that, has been fare has been expanding over the years, and now, there seem to be no limits on what you can take on a picnic. .So think outside the box and go for wraps, exotic salads and quail’s eggs instead! You can buy relatively cheap disposable BBQ boxes so your could cook some fish or chicken too. If you want some good ideas for kids,you can find some other ideas too here: http://redtri.com/easy-prep-picnic-foods-for-kids/slide/1 but be warned – visiting this page can make your tummy rumble and your mouth seriously water! The great thing is that they are all cheap and easy to make with younger children. And if you are going to the local park for your picnic, remember to take along a blanket and some suitable bird food to feed the ducks too!

Make a summer smoothie

Smoothies are great for younger children as they are often used to drinking milk, so you could switch to making a smoothie every once in a while, to add some extra nutrition or some hidden vegetables if children are resistant to eating vegetables. A basic smoothie recipe would consist of:

  • Milk or a milk alternative like soya or rice milk
  • ½ mashed banana
  • An extra portion of fruit such as strawberries, blueberries or raspberries
  • Some ‘hidden’ vegetables such as kale, spinach or summer squash

Put all the ingredients into a blender or smoothie-maker or use a hand-held blender to create a smooth mixture.

De-core strawberries with a straw

Strawberries are great at this time of year and are one of the seasonal fruits which can be grown and eaten now if you are following the rhythm of the natural world when it comes to food. They are sweet, plump, and juicy; and rich in potassium, vitamin C, folic acid, and fibre so they’re perfect for little people too. But can you de-core a strawberry with a straw? No? Then it’s time to be amazed. Wash the strawberries and hold them with the pointed end facing down. Use a strong straw such as a reusable plastic one with a fairly large diameter and place the straw on the pointed end. Gently push the straw upwards through the middle of the strawberry until it pokes out of the top, taking the core and the top leaves with it. This simple life hack works well and children will also have great fun doing it too. When you look at the cored pieces, they look a lot like miniature ‘strawberry palm trees’ so you can use them as decorations on a fruit platter too. And remember you’ll have all those delicious cored strawberries for a healthy snack as well!

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Posted in Children, Family Life, General, Health.

Hi. I'm Gail and I'm a teacher, coach, writer and blogger who has been involved with self-development and the performing arts for over 30 years. I'm passionate about helping people to develop their full potential and I've studied education, the law of attraction, personal development and NLP which I write about on this site.

I love working with people of all ages and backgrounds and truly believe that we are all unique, unlimited creative beings who can do wonderful things with a positive attitude and spiritual outlook on life.

Here's to your continued success.

Gail

4 Comments

  1. Hello, Gail!
    WOW! What an excellent post you’ve written. Wonderful ideas, recipes and such good vibes coming from your message!
    It makes me long for summer to try all those at home. Having fun urges and through your post, we can easily try new delicatessen that will make younger and older very happy.
    Thanks a lot for sharing (and caring as you say) and keep safe!

    • Hi Antonio. Thank you for your kind comments. I love summer and especially picnics with my two girls. We’ve spent many a happy hour lying on a picnic blanket and working out what we can see in the clouds, and munching through some lovely food too. I hope your new delicatessen works out too! All the best. Gail 

  2. Hello there, Gail! This is a fun read. Summer is quickly approaching which means kids will be out of school and looking for things to keep them busy. Reading through your post, you suggested some really great ways to have fun. It’s amazing how colorful some foods are too. Sometimes I feel like I eat certain things because of the color. I am going to have to try some of these ideas like making those ice lollipops. Thanks for these ideas!

    • Hi Mike and thanks for taking the time to comment. I love the colour of the foods too – and remember that the more colourful the food, usually, the better it is for you…. not counting all those E-number colourings of course! Fresh and fruity however, you can’t go wrong with! Gail 

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