Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Summer Games & Wild Blueberries: A Gold Medal in Health & Taste


For Olympic athletes at the top of their game, eating a healthy diet once every four years isn’t enough. While potent nutrient-rich wild blueberries figure prominently in the diets of athletes during competition time, they are also a staple in the years of training that lead up to the big event. Whether they are vaulting, running, shooting or backstroking, Olympians often rely on blueberries because they are one of nature’s ultimate performance foods. 

Blueberries, especially powerfully nutritious wild, provide mental focus and clarity, nutrient richness, and low-calorie fiber, and they serve as a low GI food to provide steady energy over the long haul. According to Epicuious.com, U.S. Olympic swimmer Peter Vanderkaay and soccer goalie Nicole Barnhart bet their best maneuvers on blues, packing their breakfasts with blueberries in smoothies and in yogurt. In fact, recent research indicates that blueberries help muscle recovery, making smoothies a smart choice for athletes.  Even Bruce Jenner has weighed in with his own All-American Blueberry Muffins!

That powerful little blue fruit seems to be the undisputed breakfast of champions, and because the London 2012 Summer Olympics coincide with the beginning of wild blueberry harvest season, fresh is the name of the game whether you are training, recovering, throwing an Olympic-sized party, or just keeping tabs on the coverage.

Wild Blue Guide to the 2012 Games 

- Combining classic English eating with American flair is the culinary challenge during the London Summer Olympics. To kick off the opening ceremonies, this Gold Medal Summer Berry Pudding is the California Raisin Marketing Board’s homeland take the English classic. It features copious amounts of strawberries, fresh raspberries, fresh blueberries, and fresh blackberries along with California raisins of course. Way to get in the game, CA!

- The Today Show shows us how to step up to the podium with the 'Olympic' Eccles Cakes with Ice Creama delightful way to take your pride in USA to the finish and still doff your hat to the host country. Dried blueberries feature in the filling of this dessert cookie named after an English town.

Olympic Fruit Sticks are a snack Brits and Americans alike can be chuffed about. A few favorite fruits speared onto cocktail sticks showcase the spirit of the Games with choices that represent the colors of the Olympic rings and the bounty of summer. Great for a patriotic accompaniment to a drink or snack and a super simple way to boost both pride of country and berry intake.

- When London’s calling, it’s all about cake. UK import PocketfulofDreams.com breaks a dessert record with this Patriotic Cake that shows the true colors of the host across the pond. A little shift in design and sure, you can tailor it to the country appropriate for you – we won’t tell. Either way, this cake truly “takes the biscuit”.

- Go for gold with Vanilla Cupcakes from WhatKateBaked.com – pleasingly British in its works-well-with-tea character, berries are the focal point. Fresh wild blueberries really rack up the medals for their role in this recipe, and at just the right time of year for fresh embellishments.

- Good show PBS Food, for searching out superior foodie celebrations to commemorate the 2012 Games with picks for favorite Patriotic Recipes. Some berry good highlights include:
  • Red, White and Blue Sangria from RecipeGirl.com. It deftly passes the torch of flavor, thanks to the addition of blues. Pineapple stands in for white – why not? What a way to toast to victory! 
  • Go Team USA! Open-Face Panini from PaniniHappy.com. Sliced French bread, topped with a thin layer of sweet honey, Brie, ham “stripes” and fresh blueberries send a unique message of solidarity to the home town team. Says Kathy of Panini Happy: “Sweet and savory never seems to fail. […] That warm, gently sweet burst you get when they break in your mouth is a fun part of eating these snack-like sandwiches.” A win!
  • SkinnyTaste.com’s Red, White and Blue TrifleThis recipe is destined to take home the hardware with its promise of health and low calories in sweet, fresh outsize spoonfuls. Summer’s blueberry crop provides the gold-worthy elegance that makes the dish, along with their competitively high antioxidant counterparts, fresh strawberries. Beautiful for any USA-themed celebration.  
National Blueberry Month & Summer Games Together? Celebrate Olympic style! This Mango Blueberry Greek Frozen Yogurt from Andreasrecipes.com will help you keep your eyes on the prize. (The yogurt is Greek – see what we did there?) Or, try WhatMegansMaking.com’s Greek Yogurt with Warm Black and Blueberry Sauce. For taste and health it gets – that’s right – a perfect ten. 

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