It’s that lovely time of year…
Sidewalks are bustling, dining is al fresco, and people are either preparing for a beach vacation or are just getting back from one.
What else is sweet about summer? The bounty of fruits and vegetables that are perfectly ripe this time of year. And if you’re trying to conceive, a healthier, fresher plate is a great step towards overall wellness.
Crispy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, and tangy melons are just a few of summer’s great grows and in turn, the best ingredients for your freshest meals. Consider eggplant, arugula, green beans, zucchini, and corn while you’re walking around the produce section of your grocery store or, better yet, your local farmers’ market. Not only will these crops be the best tasting and help you in your wellness journey, but they will also be the easiest on the wallet.
This isn’t to say that eating seasonally is always easy… it takes preparation, assembly, and a willingness to improvise with what’s available. Plus, when you’re struggling with infertility, any sort of short cut elsewhere in life seems tempting. We get it. But what if you looked at food as a pillar to your end-goal? What if building a nutritional plate is the start to building your family? Making fresh, seasonal choices when it comes to food will benefit your health, therefore benefiting your larger goals in life.
Below are two recipes to help you add some seasonal variety into your wellness journey. They are summer-friendly, high in nutritional value, and most importantly, delicious!
First up is a perfect side salad for your afternoon barbecue! The Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Yogurt Dressing is like summer in a slaw. Traditional mayonnaise is replaced with full-fat yogurt supplying a rich dose of calcium and protein. Plus, recent studies show that people who enjoy full-fat dairy products are typically leaner than those who opt for the no-fat/low-fat varieties! Also in the salad? Vitamin A, B vitamins, and a certain crispness you’ll only get in the summer.
Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Yogurt Dressing
- 2 cups plain full-fat yogurt
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1/8 cup (or more) mint leaves, thinly sliced
- 1/8 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 large cucumber (or 2 medium)
- ½ cup diced tomato
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- In a medium bowl, mix together the yogurt, garlic, and cumin.
- Peel and de-seed your cucumber and grate about a cup’s worth over a paper towel, Strain the excess juices out over your sink by wrapping the paper towel around grated cucumber and gently squeezing.
- Dump the grated cucumber, diced tomatoes, sliced mint leaves, chopped cilantro, salt, and pepper into your bowl. Mix well.
- Serve immediately or store in your refrigerator for up to two days.
Looking for a more robust, entrée salad? Enter the Salmon and Summer Vegetable Rice Salad. This dish packs a punch with healthy grains, omega-3s, and conception-friendly folate. What’s more, this salad is super versatile!
Just replace the veggies with butternut squash in the fall, brussel sprouts in the winter, or arugula in the spring. Another variation can be your choice of grain. We’ve shown it here with brown rice, but quinoa or farro would make great substitutions! As you gain a greater kitchen confidence, this salad will transition through the year and allow you to be more and more experimental.
Salmon and Summer Vegetable Rice Salad
- 3 hard boiled eggs
- 1 cup of dried brown rice
- 4 ounces green beans
- 2 six-ounce cans wild pink salmon
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cup black or green olives, pitted and chopped
- ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/8 cup parsley, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Cook rice according to box directions
- While the rice cooks, prep the green beans. Trim and cut into 2-inch pieces. Boil for 3-5 minutes or until crisp tender. Strain and run cold running over the beans.
- Add the cooled beans to the cooled rice, along with all the other ingredients.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day.
We say it all the time, but fertility really does start with your lifestyle, and summer is a great time to take your wellness outdoors with the ones your love. Toss a delicious seasonal salad into the mix and you might just enjoy the journey! Trying new, healthy menu items is just one pathway to wellness, and ultimately, fertility.
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