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Summer nutrition: light bites for summer nights

Heavy, stodgy meals are off the menu for long, hot summer days and evenings: for summer nutrition, light and healthy is the way to go.

Be inspired by these ideas from Clinical Nutritionist Suzie Sawyer and cook up some delicious and nutritious summer dishes.

FEAST ON A SUMMER PLATTER

One of the easiest and healthiest summer platters, this is the classic Mediterranean way of eating and is a great way to boost your nutrition. Just pile up your platter with some hard-boiled eggs (halved), fresh prawns, cooked French beans, cherry tomatoes, olives, red and green peppers, boiled new potatoes and roasted vegetables.

And don’t forget some French bread, with garlic mayonnaise and olive oil for dipping. This classic Mediterranean dish contains all the best things about the typical ‘sunshine’ diet! It’s high in low fat protein from the eggs and prawns and it provides plenty of the antioxidant vitamin C, to help protect the skin from sun damage. Moreover, the platter is loaded with the mineral magnesium which may help you to sleep better through the hot summer nights!

POACHED SALMON SALAD

Salmon is packed with healthy omega-3 fats, which are essential for sharp brain function, flexible joints, balanced hormones, glowing skin and good vision. Make sure you always choose wild rather than farmed salmon – it contains less contaminants, especially if sourced from relatively clean seas.

The salmon can be served hot or cold with your choice of salad vegetables. It works particularly well with avocado, which is a rich source of vitamin E – also great for the skin. Serve with lemon mayonnaise and fresh, crusty bread and eat al fresco for this nutrition-packed dish.

SKEWERED FAVOURITES

Meat, fish or vegetables prepared on skewers are typical summer barbecue foods. Skewered foods can also be grilled and taste just as delicious.

A great combination to try is cubed lamb skewers. Marinate lamb in olive oil with chopped mint and parsley before threading onto a skewer with haloumi cheese. The skewers can then be grilled and served with basmati rice, which is best cooked and then rinsed with cold water. Serve the rice with chopped black olives, cherry tomatoes and cucumber.

This dish is high in protein so it will keep you feeling fuller for longer and you’ll be less likely to head for the desert table!

CHARGRILLED VEGETABLE SALAD

The immune system still needs to be protected during the summer; you certainly don’t want to be falling foul of a summer cold! Increasing our intake of fruits and vegetables to maintain optimal health and nutrition, as well as keeping our levels of antioxidants high, is one way to stay in tip-top health this summer.

Chargrilled vegetables served with mozzarella cheese and basil is an excellent al fresco dining winner. The vegetables can either be chargrilled on the barbecue, in a griddle pan or under a grill. Red peppers, onions, aubergines, and courgettes are great options.

Once the vegetables are cooked, mix them with olive oil and basil and serve immediately with the cheese for another beautifully appetising, colourful summer dish – great for entertaining either as a starter or light meal.

And the best part of all these dishes? You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen preparing them!

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