Delicious (and Healthy) Beach Treats by Susan Guillory

Most of us live in some area of summertime heat and we are heading to the beach to cool off. This doesn’t mean we have to leave our mindful eating habits at home. For inspiration, let’s look to countries that have a custom of healthy sea shore-snacks.

In the 70's I lived in Ireland, a country known for its seaweed consumption. On the beach, dried dulse was sold by fisherman's wives, as well as periwinkles that were eaten with the tip of a hat pin. In the Italian province of Liguria I enjoyed grilled flat breads sprinkled with salt crystals and chilled bottled waters—no ice cream or sugary drinks were in sight. On Hawaii’s island of Maui you might snack on freshly ripened mango, while vendors in Chennai, India serve-up green mango slices sprinkled with chili powder.

Now is the time to challenge ourselves to re-educate our families by inventing and preparing our own regional replacements. Here in New England we are going to substitute the usual hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream with some treats that are easy to prepare and fun to eat:

Quinoa Burgers:

2 cups cooked quinoa
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry or gluten free baking flour
1/2 cup chopped colorful vegetables (i.e. peppers, carrots, zucchini, scallions)
1/2 cup water
Salt or soy sauce as desired

For Bean Burgers:

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup mashed beans, preferably kidney or red beans
1/4 cup chopped veggies (as above)
1/2 cup flour (as above)

  • Mix ingredients well then shape into patties. You can either bake these burgers in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or fry them in 1/2 inch of oil at low heat for 10 minutes on each side or until done in the center of the patty.
  • These can be served on buns topped with any favorite accompaniments or eaten plain with fingers. They can be made smaller for young children.

Nems (Rice Paper Wraps)

1 medium-sized, ripe avocado
Carrots, zucchinis and yellow squash
Chopped lettuce, sprouts, other veggies
1 pkg of rice paper wraps

  • Prepare a spread by mashing the avocado. Add a few drops of olive oil and grains of salt, set aside
  • Blanch for a few seconds in boiling water thinly sliced carrots, zucchinis and yellow squash
  • Follow the instructions on the package to prepare the rice paper wraps, usually by soaking one at a time for a few seconds in a dish of water
  • Place the soaked wrap on a dry plate and “paint” the center with some of the avocado spread
  • Add the blanched veggies and possibly some sprouts or chopped lettuce. You can ask family members for their choice of favorite veggies as well
  • Tightly fold in each side of the wrap, followed by the top and bottom. Serve whole or cut into 1/2s or 1/3’s

Granola Nut Butter Balls

1 lb. tofu
1/2 lb. nut butter
2 Tbsp. agave or maple syrup
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup granola

  • With a fork smooth tofu in a large bowl, slowly add nut butter then sweetener and cinnamon. When well mixed have family members shape them into approximately 1 inch balls or whatever design they prefer—this is especially fun for little ones!

Fresh Fruit Skewers

Cubed pineapple
Melon chunks
Apple and pear slices

  • Buy wooden kabob skewers and slide-on the fruit pieces in playful arrangements. Keep chilled until served.

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