How many of you are looking forward to digging into some ribs, watermelon, potato salad, and all of the glorious foods summer has to offer? We sure are. Along with the hot weather, summer brings about pool parties, barbecues, and lot’s of fun family and friend-filled get-togethers. It’s great to eat some of these popular summer foods, and we’re not here to rain on your parade, but we would recommend to enjoy these foods in moderation. It’s easy to throw caution to the wind when you’re with family and friends, and disregard your previous healthy eating practices. And this is fine every once in a while. But if you eat these foods regularly during the summer, this could take a toll on your health. So we are going to take you through some tips for smarter eating in the summer.
The Importance of Good Nutrition
The food choices you make each day affect your health – how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future. Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases, and promote your overall health. Unhealthy eating habits have contributed to the obesity epidemic in the United States – about one-third of U.S. adults are obese and approximately 17% of children and teenagers are obese.1 Even for people at a healthy weight, a poor diet is associated with major health risks that can cause illness and even death. So what can you do?
Healthy Summer Eating Habits
Work more veggies into your diet: Try adding avocado to your sandwich. Or the next time you’re cooking fish, meat or poultry, try sautéing some peppers, onion, garlic, and tomatoes to serve alongside, or even on top of your protein. Not only will it add an amazing flavor, but your portion size will be bigger without too many added calories.
Just because we’re recommending adding more veggies to your plate, that doesn’t mean you should forget about fruit. Summer is a great time for fresh fruit. Add your favorite berries to your morning cereal or oatmeal for a healthy flavor boost. You can also grill peaches (yes, that’s possible) for a sweeter, more caramelized flavor, which can act as a tasty summertime dessert.
Include more salads: If you order salads when you go out to eat at restaurants, well done! That takes some serious willpower. But remember, not all salads are healthy, especially at a restaurant, or fast-food drive through. Salads that are loaded with toppings, dressing, and things like fried chicken are also loaded with extra calories and fat. But healthy salads don’t have to be boring. Pick a salad with a lot of veggies, top it off with a lean protein like grilled fish or chicken. And when it comes to your salad dressing, opt for something light, like olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or a vinaigrette.
Pace yourself at summer BBQs: It’s easy to “go ham” at summer BBQs. There is just so much food available, and you can go back as many times as you want. Beat the temptation to overeat by filling up on the healthy stuff first, before you reach for the ribs and mac and cheese. Try filling your plate first with fruits, veggies, and a nice green salad. Moderation is the name of the game, when it comes to things like summer BBQs. And try to recognize when you are full. When you have finished eating and are satisfied, get up and get moving! Play with your kids or get a badminton game going with your friends. When you’re engaging in an activity like badminton, frisbee or tag, you’re less tempted to keep eating.
Cook at home: People who cook at home more often, rather than eating out, tend to have healthier overall diets without higher food expenses. Some studies have also found that home-cooked dinners were associated with a “greater dietary compliance,” meaning the overall weekly diet met more of the federal guidelines for a healthy diet.2 Additionally, the average fast food order ranges between 1,100 to 1,200 calories total – which is almost all of a woman’s recommended daily calorie intake (1,600-2,400 calories) and almost two thirds of a man’s daily intake (2,000-3,000 calories).3 So if you can, try and cook at home a little more. You’ll save money, eat healthier, and save time.
Greens to the Rescue
Speaking of healthy home cooking, if you’re looking for a healthy recipe that tastes great, and is also packed with a serving of greens like barley grass, wheatgrass, chlorella, kelp and spirulina, check out these recipes here.4 In our Great Greens Healthy Living Guide, we have some tasty and nutritious recipes for you to try. You can whip up a Green Goodness Protein Shake, Superfood Pesto (which is great on grilled chicken and even spread on a sandwich!), and even Dark Chocolate Mousse, while getting a serving of greens.
So while you are indulging in all the best foods summer has to offer, try and keep these tips in mind, so you can still keep your health top-of-mind.