Fun foodie and healthy lessons learned from another summer spent at the Jersey Shore
It is so sad when summer ends. How my kids and I long for the long days spent only half-productive. Things are so much more relaxed from end of June through August, how I wish sometimes that summer could last all year-long. Our approach to living and eating is different in these warm months and how lucky we are to spend them at the Jersey Shore. During the summer New Jersey provides great weather, great beaches, great food, great energy.
Here are some of the fun highlights of this summer. They are meant as ‘fun’ but each one has a health or food tip. Just my personal observations as a dietitian and living the rest of the year overseas, in France. Hope you have a laugh and end after reading this article with one or two ideas on how to add to your summer fun or help better your or your kids’ health. If you have any fun tips to share, please let me know in the comment section ‘leave a reply’ after this article.
Health and food tips and observations from a self-professed food snob
- Ordering the baby scoop at the local ice cream store is the perfect size for an adult
Health tip: portions are often too big in America. Ask for smaller portions or look for the ‘baby scoop’ at local ice cream shops.
- Jersey tomatoes are the best tasting tomatoes in the world
Food tip: look out for fresh picked farm Jersey tomatoes. They taste like no other tomato you have ever eaten because of the alkaline sandy soil and the hot summer temperatures.
- Doritos are addicting at the beach for both humans and sea gulls
Food and health tip: Doritos, those bright orange crunchy chips are addicting. Have one chip and you find yourself reaching for more, reasons unexplained. If you don’t want to fuel this addiction (LOL) don’t even take a chip. Sea gulls at the Jersey Shore particularly love these chips. Hide them while at the beach or will never get any peace from these aggressive birds.
- If you offer a child a jumbo size bag of potato chips before lunch, they will eat them
Health tip: Allow kids to eat potato chips and other fun snacks AFTER they have eaten something for lunch. A morning snack of potato chips doesn’t help the appetite for lunch.
- The community pool stays empty of swimmers during hot weather, perfect time to take a dip!
Health tip: even in the summer, like all year round, exercise is a key part to good health. The key is to not get out of the routine and not let warm weather, rain, or other excuses to stop you from moving.
- If you are not used to air conditioning carry a winter coat in to stores and restaurants, the shock of coldness will kill ‘ya
Health tip: too much air conditioning is not natural for your body and wastes valuable energy resources.
- If lobster is the cheapest it has even been, you should take advantage and buy it, who knows what the market price will be next summer!
Food tip: eating local and taking advantage of food market prices and fluctuations can be advantageous to the consumer. This summer lobster was $4.99/lb. , a real bargain, great for the lobster lover, bad for the lobster fishermen. We ate lobster many times because who knows what next summer prices will be.
- Eating outside tastes so much better than inside, especially on a warm summer night.
Health and food tip: get out of the air conditioning and enjoy some late dinners or just relaxing around the table on those warm summer nights. Food tastes better out in open air, we feel better in fresh air and we will remember those moments of summer days that seemed to last forever.
- Kids get hungry if you take them out to run and have fun everyday.
Health tip: kids need to move and expend their energy. Whether at summer camp, out for a long evening walk, or afternoon outings at the beach, pool, lake; when kids move and are out in nature, they eat better and feel better.
- Eating hot pizza on the beach makes it taste so much better.
Food tip: it was the first time we ordered a full pizza from a pizzeria in front of the ocean in Belmar, NJ and brought it onto the beach. It won’t be the last, the taste was so good!
- Taylor Pork Roll tastes better than Trenton Pork Roll
Food tip: enjoying typical food from the region, reminiscing about food from our youth is part of fun eating. An unscientific poll from BrightonYourHealth readers found that Taylor Pork Roll is #1 of all pork rolls.
- If you want to find a full fat yogurt on the supermarket aisles, it just doesn’t exist.
Health and food tip: It is nearly impossible to find a full fat, rich yogurt on the supermarket shelves in New Jersey. I decided to give up yogurt for the summer. I like the French creamy yogurt which you cannot find on the Jersey Shore. The non-fat yogurt is often substituted with sugar and other flavorings to make the yogurt palatable, not always a healthy choice.
- If you like clams, there are just about 100 ways to enjoy them.
Food tip: Fresh clams are available and are so yum if they are cooked right. It is a ‘must try’ at the Jersey Shore.
- No need to order toppings on Jersey Shore ‘take out’ delicious pizzas. Order a plain pie and bring it home, cut up some fresh peppers, onions and basil and pile toppings on each piece.
Food tip: There is so much fresh produce at the Jersey Shore. Kids love pizza. A great combination for taste and fun: pizza art. Allow your kids to decorate their huge NJ pizza slice with fresh tomatoes, peppers and onions.
- Stock up on ‘Old Bay’ seasoning if you like New Jersey crabs
Food tip: there is an art to ‘crabbing’, cooking crabs, opening and cleaning crabs and finally eating crabs. The best is to ask a local and if you want to try on your own, make sure you cook them with “Old Bay” seasoning.
- Bagels on a weekly basis are a right of passage
Food tip: If you know bagels from New Jersey or New York, I don’t need to say anymore. They are also a ‘must eat.’
- White Jersey corn, like Jersey tomatoes taste the best in the world. Period.
Food and health tip: you pay a little more and wait a little longer in the summer for white Jersey corn to appear, but when it does, get the big pot ready. My kids could eat 2-3 ears without a problem. Although corn is digested in the body more like a starch than a vegetable, it is still a healthy choice for kids and adults. Eat up!
- Zeppoles are not heart healthy but seem to keep your heart happy
Food tip: these Italian fried pizza dough and dipped in sugar and served hot are just amazing. To be consumed in small quantities!
- Finally, the link between the earth and the mouth. Find your weekly farmer’s market or neighborhood’s garden where you can find competitive prices and good local fresh picked produce
Food and health tip: if we don’t support our local farmers, who knows where the Jersey corn, Jersey tomatoes and all the wonderful Jersey products will end up. On the supermarket shelves?
Hope you enjoyed some food and health summer tips from a summer at the Jersey Shore. If you are not from New Jersey or have any questions on any of the pictures or health tips, please let me know! If you are interested in knowing more about the French culture and eating the French way, download your free E-report called, “10 Simple Ways to Eat Like the French Without Having a Food Snob Attitude” by subscribing to BrightonYourHealth here.
Until next time, Bon Appetit!