Cooks Exchange

Fruit-protein combos help fight hunger when schedules are hectic

May is on the move, and we soon will slide into June and summer.

Graduations are happening and so are dance recitals and school awards programs. All this to say nothing of a multitude of baseball or softball games.

Whew! Makes one tired before some events start. Some of you are well aware of the sports schedules, but perhaps not as aware of dance practices, which also get families caught in a whirlwind.

This is my granddaughter’s fourth year of dance. For four days leading up to her dance recital, she has had dance class, a recital rehearsal, a dress rehearsal and the performance.

After end-of-school activities kick into gear, then there will be awards day. Then, we get a week’s break before swim and dance lessons start again.

This is just one child, so those grandparents and parents with several kids deserve applause.

Because of all these activities, lighter and quick meals are a must for these kids. Parents or grandparents also like to lighten up meals just so they can keep up with children’s energy levels.

For a ballgame or even a trip to the beach, a picnic is a fun idea. Instead of munching on hot dogs or nachos, a quicker pick-me-up is peaches, or another fruit, stuffed in a pita pocket spread with peanut butter. These provide protein and fruit for energy, and curb hunger pains.

Since my granddaughter loves fruit and pita bread, these peachy pockets are good. I often substitute sections of Cuties oranges for the peaches or even apple slices. This makes a nice change from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Be sure to use fruits that the family enjoys.

Salads are always a favorite of mine and are quick fixes or even pre-fixes especially if making a pasta salad.

I also try to have lighter, less-sugar punch or drinks in the fridge. Soft drinks should be a treat, not regular drinks. A punch with nectarine and club soda is healthy and refreshing. Kids like the fizz of the soda.

Here are some ways to lighten up with fresh fruit and protein that can be packed in to-go containers or grace the dinner table.


3 fresh nectarines, pureed (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 1/2 cups orange juice

1 bottle (10 ounces) club soda, chilled

Ice cubes

Colored straws, optional garnish

In pitcher, combine puree and orange juice. Just before serving add soda water. Place ice in glasses. Fill with glasses with Tropical Swamp Cooler. Serve with straws, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

— From “Summer Fruits” by California Summer Fruits


4 pita pocket breads

3/4 cup chunky peanut butter (I use smooth because my granddaughter and daughter do not like chunky.)

2 fresh peaches, thinly sliced or any fruit slices

Cut about 3 inches off one edge of pita bread to get inside. Carefully open pocket and spread a thin layer of peanut butter on both inside walls. Fill with peach slices or any other fruit.

Note: Warm pita bread slightly to make it more pliable.

— From “Summer Fruits” by California Summer Fruit


1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened or ½ cup light cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup hulled sunflower seeds

4 or 8 slices whole grain wheat bread

3 fresh peaches, nectarine or Bartlett pears, sliced

In small bowl, combine margarine, honey and sunflower seeds; spread on bread. Top with fruit and remaining bread, if desired. Serve open-faced or closed. Makes 4 servings.

Note: Dip fruit sliced in a mixture of 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 cup water if you are making for a picnic.

— From “Summer Fruits” by California Summer Fruit


Oriental dressing:

1/4 cup prepared Italian salad dressing

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce


1 quart prepared deli Chinese chicken or turkey salad

2 fresh peaches, sliced

1/2 head lettuce, thinly sliced

1 can (3 ounces) chow mein noodles or 2 ounces rice sticks, fried

1/4 cup peanuts or sliced almonds, optional garnish

In large bowl, combine dressing ingredients. Add Chinese chicken salad and peaches. Toss lightly. Arrange lettuce on individual plates or serving platter. If taking on picnic, pack individual food storage containers for each person. Sprinkle noodles on lettuce. Top with chicken salad mixture. Garnish with nuts, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

— From “Summer Fruits” by California Summer Fruit

Andrea Yeager can be reached at and Cooks Exchange, 205 DeBuys Road, Gulfport, MS 39507.