Colorful and Fresh – A New Take on Summer Dinner

By Monika Bock – Nourish-Alō Holistic Nutrition

The more colorful your plate, the more vitamins and
minerals you are getting into your body

Summer is finally upon us. This city has so much to offer in the summer, like taking a stroll or bike along the Isar, setting up for a picnic under the trees on a lazy afternoon in the English Gardens, or visiting a cafe and watching the world go by, to name just a few.

What are your habits around meals during the summer? Do you eat later than usual (quite normal)? Or perhaps you aren’t as hungry (due to the heat or the fact that you’ve been out all day), and suddenly you wonder: “What are we going to eat tonight?”

I find that even though you may be out and about quite a bit, it’s a good idea to keep a stock of some base items in your refrigerator and pantry so that you can easily throw something together and not go reaching for the chocolate, gummies or crisps. Instead of having too much of an item that may spoil, it’s wise to buy items that won’t spoil quickly and can also be used up over a few days.

Avocado on toast with cress

“Brotzeit” – This typical Bavarian dinner is easy to put together at the last minute, and usually quite packable for those early evening picnics. I take this idea up a notch and create what I call a Board of Deliciousness. Which foods this board/platter includes will mean something different to everyone, but we can all follow some go-to guidelines when creating this platter.

By focusing on flavors and texture, finding a good balance between the two and then adding in some summer color to the mix, you will have created the perfect dinner that is as changeable as it is satisfying for your entire family. These boards include all three macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates, and protein) and are put together in no time at all. Below are some examples that you could incorporate, but by no means is this a complete list.

Flavors:

Salty: sun-dried tomatoes, marinated artichokes, cured meats

Sweet: honey, figs, dates, fresh grapes, dried cranberries, fresh berries

Bitter: endive, arugula, dandelion leaves

Spicy: mustards (dijon or seeded), chilies

Sour: pickles, olives, fermented veggies

 

Textures: 

Smooth: hummus, fruit preserves, guacamole (avocado)

Crispy/crunchy: sliced apples or cucumbers (both can double as a cracker), carrots, celery, shelling peas, gherkins or pickles, seeded or whole grain crackers, whole grain bread, nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews), etc

Soft: meats, jams/chutneys

Hard: cheese, crunchy veggies

 

Macronutrients:

Protein:

Things like cured meats from the butcher or speciality shops can be a starting point for some texture. Remember to read the label if you are buying packaged salami or prosciutto to ensure there is no dextrose (sugar) and minimal if any fillers or preservatives.

Another way is to pre-cook some protein in the form of a whole chicken that you’ve deboned or a steak that’s been cut up into slices. Both make for a great addition to any board.

If you are vegetarian/vegan you may start with your protein source (black bean dip, hummus, edamame, cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, etc).

Cheeses (Protein and Fat):

Sticking to two kinds of cheese (a hard and a soft variety) is usually a good bet. Stay away from mixed cheeses in packages as they are usually full of fillers and gums (and sometimes even sugar, and let’s be honest, I’d rather have the sugar in my gelato than in my cheese spread).

Tip: Taking fresh goat cheese and whipping it up with your favorite fresh or dried herb (chives, basil, thyme, etc) and a drop or two of olive oil makes for a great fresh cheese spread.

sun dried tomatoes prepared as antipasti

Color: (Carbohydrates & Protein)

Roasted, sliced beets, carrots, green shelling peas, olives, marinated veggies, roasted asparagus, romaine lettuce leaves (as a boat or bread alternative), radishes (red and white), zucchini (courgette), fennel, tomatoes, avocado, blackberries, strawberries, watermelon slices, fresh mint, fresh basil, etc.

The nice part about all the items above is that you can have most prepped and ready to go in your fridge and you’ll just need to lay them out on a cutting board or serving platter. Everyone can then choose to eat their favorites. It’s portable and easy to bring along on a picnic or to a BBQ as an appetizer. And the best part is that it all pairs nicely with Fun, Fresh, Frozen: Frosé!

 

Monika Bock is a holistic nutritionist based in Munich, she is the owner of Nourish-Alō Holistic Nutrition and whose motto is Nourish/Thrive/Sustain. Monika works with a diverse clientele with various health concerns and goals making changes that are both positive and sustainable over time. Her favorite summer fruit are berries of ANY kind and her go to add on for any board of deliciousness are kalamata olives and cucumber slices. Acknowledging that EveryBODY is different and people have individual needs, she addresses these needs through a whole food nutrition program and lifestyle change approach.
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All Images copyright: Monika Bock (Images may not be used outside of Über Moms without express permission)

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