Savor the Season with Simple and Nutritious Summertime Meals
Summer is upon us, and with the heat comes outdoor activities— including relaxing on patios, hosting picnics and grilling. So why not put a nutritious spin on your next outing by including natural cheese? Natural cheese is a flavorful, wholesome addition to any summer meal, providing a delicious, savory contrast to summer fruits and vegetables and a nutrient “boost” as a natural source of high-quality protein and calcium.
The unique flavor and nutrient content of natural cheese also makes it a “win” for consumers who are striving for or already living a healthy lifestyle. A recent survey commissioned by the International Food Information Council Foundation found that while taste has the greatest impact on food choices, consumers are increasingly more mindful of the healthfulness of the foods and beverages they purchase. The survey also reported most Americans agree that it’s important to consume enough protein, whether as part of a balanced diet, to help build muscle, recover from exercise or to help feel full.1
As a great-tasting, nutrient-rich dairy food, natural cheese can also help make summertime meals quick and easy—without ever having to turn on the stove! Having friends over and looking to serve a light appetizer? Fruit ‘n’ Cheese Kabobs combine summer fruits with savory cheese and are sure to delight everyone—even the kids. This recipe also helps meet recommended dairy and fruit servings for MyPlate, with cheese providing a natural source of calcium, an important nutrient to help build and maintain strong bones.
Packing a picnic lunch? Don’t forget the cheese! This Sassy Turkey and Swiss Cheese Sandwich has a delicious combination of natural cheese and sliced turkey breast, topped with leaf lettuce and tomatoes that you can find at your local farmers’ market. The Anytime Fruit Salad features bell peppers and a medley of fruits topped with natural shredded Cheddar cheese. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are a nutrient-rich, refreshing addition to summer meals, and many are high in water content, which count toward your daily fluid intake. Staying well hydrated is important for good health—especially in the hot summer months—so don’t forget to pack the picnic basket with plenty of bottled water to quench your thirst and meet your daily hydration needs.
Of course it wouldn’t be summer without outdoor grilling. Natural cheese can be a delicious, simple addition to any grilling occasion—think topping a burger with a slice of natural cheese for a delicious cheeseburger. As an alternative to beef, try this Cheddar Jack Turkey Patties with Arugula Salad recipe, which is high in both taste and protein. Or for a deliciously simple grilled chicken recipe, try the Grilled Chicken and Peppers Sandwich, seasoned with thyme and garlic and topped with bell peppers, arugula and the mild, smoky flavor of Sargento Ultra Thin Sliced Provolone Cheese. Brightly-colored bell peppers and arugula are summer seasonal produce favorites, and both are excellent sources of vitamin C.
So whether you’re seriously into Swiss or crazy for Cheddar, choosing natural cheese is a simple way to make any summer meal more delicious and nutritious.
1. International Food Information Council Foundation 2014 Food & Health Survey http://www.foodinsight.org/foodandhealth2014.aspx