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Preparing for Summer’s End

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It’s hard to get past the heat and think ahead to the cool days of fall and…..the “season-that-cannot-be mentioned” (in my best Harry Potter style). But our customers are already thinking of tailgating, packing lunches and, in the East, capturing the flavor of the last of the local products. From a nutrition and retailer’s viewpoint, all of these can be positive, but it takes the planning and merchandising.

bag-lunch.jpgPoints like these are even more important in the economic crunch facing many of our customers. Here are some points to consider in remembering that eating healthy is a 12-month proposition, especially when dollars are tight:

• Go into the freezing and “canning” mode. Locally grown produce — the late summer/ early fall harvest fruits and vegetables — are great buys for our customers. Combine them with freezer and canning supplies, demonstrations or Q & A sessions. If this isn’t your expertise, check out your state’s Cooperative Extension for some help. Salsas, chutneys and ready-made vegetables for soups combine nutrition with savings.

• Think back to school and daycare, promoting the basics of a meal with health in mind. A grain (preferable whole), protein (lower-fat and lower-sodium deli choices, lower-fat cheeses, yogurt, as well as hummus and nut butters) and fruits and veggies are the staples. Add single-serving milk or 100% juice and you have a winner. Don’t forget suggesting sunflower seeds or soy butters as an option when there are peanut allergies.

• Go crazy with tailgating ideas that go beyond the standard wings. Ground turkey chili, main dish salads like chicken Caesar or Shrimp Louis can be hardy or light depending on the sides. Toss the salads on-site for best flavor. This is also a time to think grilled pizza, another tailgate option that can please many, with choices ranging from veggie to meat pizzas, and give the tailgate a new look. Add some grilled fruit for a new dessert idea to make the grill theme even more exciting. Pineapple, peaches or apples dipped in orange juice add a touch of class to the tailgate and sneak in some nutrition!

Our customers are time- and money-stressed and we have the tools to make life manageable. Cross merchandising, simple demo ideas, and of course some recipes, can make it happen.

(Photo credit: femmeannie/Flickr)

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