By: Jane Dummer RD

Swing into summer by planning simple meals to fuel your active lifestyle and embrace the wonderful tastes of the season. For this Barley Balance, I’m sharing with you three ways tocelebrate summertime and your favourite activities with easy-to-love barley recipes.

Barley for the Backyard and Pool Parties

Outdoor dining is on everyone’s mind in the summer. We plan events around poolside tables and on beautiful garden patios. I love making large batches of summer salads ahead of time during the season. Barley salad with strawberries, jicamca and lime-mint dressing is simple to make ahead for your next backyard or pool party. Jicama is a crispy, sweet tuber that resembles a turnip. It’s a wonderful complement to juicy strawberries and tender, chewy barley in a tangy lime-and-mint dressing. For best flavour, allow the dressing to mellow in the fridge before serving this colourful, bold-flavoured dish in the summer sun.

Barley for Summertime Grilling

Fire up the grill and toss on these barley mushroom burgers. Get the kids in the kitchen assisting with garnishes for the burgers. Depending on their age, they can wash the tomatoes and lettuce, and then slice the tomatoes and onions. Teaching them about food and how to enjoy the process of cooking will encourage them to approach the kitchen with confidence. In addition to the lettuce, sliced tomatoes and onions,I recommend having a fun garnish station including salsa, guacamole and dill pickles. If you’re daring, try wasabi stirred into mayonnaise. Top the burgers with a slice of Swiss or cheddar cheese while browning the second side. And don’t forget: these burgers are a great option for summertime Meatless Monday.

Barley for On-the-Go Activities

Depending on your fitness strategy, summer is a great time to take your exercise regime outdoors with bicycling, hiking and swimming.No matter where you go or what your favourite summer activities are, barley can fit. These simple, delicious and fibre-rich blueberry barley muffins are an easy, on-the-go snack for all your summer outings. They are antioxidant-rich with two cups of whole barley flour and one cup of blueberries.With five minutes of prep time and 18 minutes of baking time, I always make a few large batches and freeze the muffins, so they are ready in seconds when I need a punch of fuel on the go.

Helpful Tips

For outdoor dining, remember to keep all your chilled barley dishes safe by storing them in coolers with ice packs. Cook a large amount of barley and freeze it to have on hand for your favourite meals. Make the most of seasonal ingredients by making barley salads in large quantities ahead of time. And get the kids involved in the kitchen on the busy summer weekends to enjoy easy-to-love barley recipes all summer long!