American flag salad with watermelon, blueberries and feta cheese. Top view table scene against a wood background.

Appreciating the Red, White, and Blue

Ahhh, the lazy days of summer.  Isn’t that what they say?  Well, here we like to keep you moving and grooving with all things tasty and fun!  Summer brings a variety of celebrations and cookouts.  We will talk about how to keep foods safe in warmer weather. We will review the health benefits of red, white, and blue fruits and vegetables.  And, we have some scrumptious recipe suggestions that are easy to prepare and light on the wallet.

Grilling Up Greatness

People waiting for burgers at the BBQ grill for outdoor 4th July backyard celebration.
People waiting for burgers at the BBQ grill for an outdoor 4th July backyard celebration.

Warmer temperatures can cause foodborne germs to grow fast.  This may lead to food poisoning.  Protect your friends and family by avoiding such situations with the following tips:

  1. Wash your hands before handling all foods.  Rinse fruits and vegetables before chopping and dicing and wipe down all surfaces to be used.
  2. Keep meats in their own plastic containers or bags to avoid cross-contamination.  Also, make sure their juices do not reach other foods, utensils, and surfaces.
  3. All cold foods should be kept in a cooler at 40° F
  4. Use a thermometer to check that the grilled meats are cooked to-
    1. 145°F for beef, pork, lamb, veal, and fish
    2. 160°F for hamburgers and other ground meats
    3. 165°F for all poultry and pre-cooked meats (hotdogs)
    4. 140°F for all items until they are served
  5. Refrigerate everything within two hours of serving
  6. Wash your hands again!

The Colors of Goodness

Blue Corn (also known as Hopi maize)
Blue Corn (also known as Hopi maize)

Red, white, and blue bring to mind the freedoms and solidarity of our great nation!  Nutritionally speaking, eating a variety of colors means you are providing your body with many different vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy body and lifestyle.  Listed below are some of the health benefits of eating red, white, and blue fruits and vegetables:

ColorContainsWhy ImportantFound In
RedLycopene-powerful antioxidantReduces risk of cancers and protects against heart diseaseWatermelon, Tomatoes, Cherries
WhitePotassium and MagnesiumLowers the levels of cholesterol and regulates blood pressureWhite nectarines and peaches, onions, mushrooms, potatoes
BlueAntioxidants and fiberBoosts brain function and supports heart healthBlueberries, Concord Grapes, Blue Corn, and Blue Tomatoes

Pleasing Patriotic Recipes

Whether you are going on a family picnic, a backyard barbeque or watching the fireworks, here are some tasty treats to try.  Remember to include the kiddos in the preparations to increase their cooking skills, keep their minds active, and keep them interested in healthy foods. 

Tortilla chip flag
Tortilla chip flag

Tortilla Chip Flag: Use a cookie sheet to lay out blue tortilla chips in the upper left corner of the sheet in a square.  Then, make rows of whole wheat tortilla chips.  In between those chips, add a row of sliced red peppers and diced tomatoes or salsa.  Top off the blue section with small dollops of sour cream.  Have more sour cream and guacamole on the side for dipping. For an alternative to sour cream, you can use low-fat Greek yogurt.

Terrific berry trifle
Terrific berry trifle

Terrific Berry Trifle: Using a trifle bowl or any clear glass bowl, layer angel food cake cubes, light whipped cream and blueberries and strawberries for this light and airy dessert.  This delight can also be done with low-fat yogurt and low-sugar sponge cake.

Celebration salad
Celebration salad

Celebration Salad: Slice cherry tomatoes in half and place in a salad bowl.  Next, add cooked blue corn kernels from one or two ears (Broc used black olives) and a container of Mozzarella Pearls (small balls).  Try it with whole wheat corkscrew pasta and feta cheese for a Mediterranean twist.  Top with two tablespoons of pesto and a drizzle of olive oil and mix.  Chill in the refrigerator for an hour or so for all the yummy flavors to develop.

Summertime Family Adventures

Group of children eating watermelons while having a picnic on the beach during summer vacation.
Group of children eating watermelons while having a picnic on the beach during summer vacation.

Did you know that you can use your EBT card for free and discounted admissions to many of the Commonwealth’s museums and cultural institutions? It is called the EBT Card to Culture Program and more information can be found here,

Your local library can also assist with providing free or reduced-price tickets to local and regional attractions.   Your library’s website can give you more specific details on sites, how to reserve tickets or passes, and usage policies.  Some examples may include Davis Farmland, New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, and passes to Massachusetts State Parks for the ultimate beach day!

See, and select Parks and Recreation, for wildlife viewing, camping options, swimming sites (pools, lakes, oceans), and Pick-Your-Own Farm links.  Additionally, will show you all of the state’s firework displays for the summer. 

Other quick links include:

7/6-8/20: Free Summer Sports Centers for ages 7-14 throughout various Boston Parks, for application and registration.

7/16-7/17: Blueberry Jamboree at Red Apple Farm in Phillipston, MA

7/22-7/24: Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival,

8/20: Verrill Farm Corn and Tomato Festival, Concord, MA

8/20: Cars in the Park, Whitin Park, Whitinsville, MA

8/28: “Out of the Park” Watch a Red Sox Game on the Big Screen, Boston Common (offered by the Highland Street Foundation)

This summer stay active, eat local, and enjoy your friends and family! -Broc

Munch Munch Broc
Share your love
Translate »

SNAP-Ed Massachusetts wants to hear from you.

(Check all that apply below)
(Check all that apply below)