At last – summer’s here, and the days are longer. More daylight means you can get a refreshing walk in before work, and have plenty of time for pulling a few weeds and enjoying your garden after dinner.
Where you don’t want to spend a lot of time right now is the kitchen – but that doesn’t mean you can forget about your bone-healthy diet. Enjoy these five easy ways to increase your intake of key vitamins and minerals vital to bone health – without sweating in front of a hot stove.
Easy gazpacho with tzatziki: Wow, that looks like a mouthful – a tasty one! Gazpacho, a wonderful summertime soup, doesn’t even require you to turn on the stove. Made from fresh vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and scallions, it’s served cold, and is a wonderfully refreshing lunch on a hot day. It’s also an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C, all of which have been shown to increase bone health.
Tzatziki, often found as part of a Greek appetizer plate, pairs thickened Greek-style yogurt with chopped cucumber and garlic. A dollop atop your gazpacho is the perfect complement – and is a great source of calcium and vitamin D.
Kale chips: They’re all the rage now, and for good reason – this crisp, light-as-air snack is a healthier clone of potato chips. Kale, one of those dark-green leafy vegetables you’re always hearing about, is a prime source not only of calcium, but of vitamin K, which helps maintain your bones by blocking the formation of osteoclasts, the cells that break down bone.
Want to give these crunchy chips a try? Wash and dry a head of kale. Remove the thick center stem from the large leaves, and tear them into bite-sized pieces. Toss in a bowl with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, using your hands to rub the oil thoroughly over the leaves. Season sparingly – very sparingly – with salt; you can always add more later.
Put the kale on two large cookie sheets, and bake in a preheated 250°F oven for 60 to 90 minutes, until dry and very crisp. Remove from the oven, taste to see if it needs additional salt, and store at room temperature – if there’s anything left to store once your family has learned about this addictive treat!
Salmon chowder: You’ve heard of clam chowder, right? Fish chowder? Salmon chowder pairs this delicious, healthy fish with potatoes and onions in a flavorful milk or cream broth. Sounds tasty, eh? Not only that, both salmon and milk are great sources of calcium and vitamin D, your bones’ main building blocks.
Trust me, this is an easy soup to make; it goes together in a few minutes, and simmers just briefly, so don’t worry about heating up your kitchen. Here’s how to do it:
Peel and dice 1 medium onion. Sauté it with 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil in a saucepan, until softened. Add 2 potatoes (boiling, not baking – e.g. chef or Yukon Gold potatoes), which you’ve washed, peeled (if you like; not necessary), and cut into ¾” chunks. Add a regular-size can of vegetable or chicken broth – enough to barely or almost cover the potatoes. Put the lid on the pan, and simmer until the potatoes are nearly cooked.