Between barbecues and vacation getaways, it's easy to skimp on the exercise, but pile on the food during the warmer months. Try these tips to make your summer months a little healthier.
1. Take Advantage of Fresh Produce
With produce at its peak during the summer months, now is the perfect time to indulge in nature’s finest by eating the freshest vegetables and fruit.
- Tomatoes: Slicing one cup of raw tomato for your lunch salad gives you as much as 40 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C and 20 percent of your daily vitamin A.
- Avocados find their way into salads, dressings and on top of burgers regularly, so it's a good thing that they're full of fiber, vitamins B5, B6, C, K, folate and potassium, as well as cell-protecting antioxidants.
- Greens: Beet greens, dandelion greens, spinach, lettuce and Swiss chard are all in season throughout the spring and summer months. These greens contain protein and iron, and are full of the cell-protecting and repairing antioxidants, vitamins C and A, as well as B vitamins and fiber. Not only do they make a great salad, but you can toss them into a blender, along with some fresh fruit for a green smoothie.
- Bell peppers make a colorful addition to a snack, salad or meal, but there’s more to this crunchy fruit than meets the eye. Bell peppers contain phytochemicals called carotenoids, which give them their bright colors – and a diet high in carotenoid-dense foods has been associated with reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and age-related eye diseases.
When choosing fruits, always make sure to buy the freshest, best quality.
- Berries: Though each tasty variety of berry has its own unique nutritional values and functional benefits, all berries are high in antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C, so supercharge your diet by enjoying the entire berry patch!
- Watermelon has the highest concentration of lycopene of any fresh fruit or vegetable, so indulge in this sweet fruit throughout the summer months.
2. Choose Lean Meats
Instead of going for the traditional fare, choose leaner meats. Healthier meat alternatives include ground turkey and skinless chicken breasts. Fish is a very important part of a healthy diet. Grill salmon, tuna, lobster, steamer clams, and calamari for a low-calorie, protein-packed lunch or dinner. Summer is also the ideal time to get the freshest catch of seafood from your local grocer.
On the other hand, build a better burger – without sacrificing taste – by using whole wheat buns, lean meats and opting for delicious toppings like pineapple, wasabi, guacamole, and low-fat or fat-free feta cheese.
3. Be Smart About Cold Treat Choices
To satisfy your sweet tooth and not feel guilty about it, look for some healthier alternatives to the typical calorie-laden summer treats. Buy low-fat versions of fat-free and sugar-free ice cream or try a sugar-free sorbet, which is a lower-calorie, refreshing alternative. Experiment with different brands and remember to control your portions!
4. Stay Quenched
With scorching hot temperatures and outdoor activities ramping up, dehydration is a major concern. To stay hydrated during the summer, buy a reusable water bottle and keep it with you all the time as a reminder to take sips regularly.
5. Prep for the Beach
Ice cream stands and high-calorie barbecues are bound to put a damper on your diet, so manage these temptations by being prepared. Pack a cooler with ice, bottled water, sandwiches on whole grain breads, pita chips, hummus, yogurt and lots of fruit. You’ll feel healthier and happier at the end of the day.