There's a lot to love about summer: longer days, plenty of sunshine, beach and pool time, and the generally more carefree and relaxed feeling.
But there's one thing that becomes more difficult during summer. While we're enjoying that easygoing lifestyle, any attempt at healthy eating goes out the window.
We know the healthy eating basics, but we also know it's not always easy to apply them to daily life. That's okay! Let’s focus on making small changes. Here are five smart, simple tips for healthier eating this summer.
1. Work More Veggies into Your Diet
Aim to have some kind of vegetable with each meal. There are several ways to include more veggies in your summer meals, including:
- Serving various cut-up vegetables as a healthy snack.
- Eat sliced tomatoes with 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.
- Include avocados to your salads, dressings and on top of burgers: they're full of fiber, vitamins B5, B6, C, K, folate and potassium, as well as cell-protecting antioxidants.
- Think greens: beet greens, dandelion greens, spinach, lettuce and Swiss chard. 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.
2. Practice Portion Control
Healthy eating does not imply cutting out all of your favorite foods, but it doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want. For those few unhealthy items that you can’t live without, consider moderation and stick to one serving a few times a week.
It takes longer for the stomach to digest food plus the hot weather does not allow you to load up on too many foods. It is good to have lighter meals rather than having heavy ones, especially at night.
3. Make a Healthy Plate
Whether you are attending a graduation party or eating at the cabin, make a healthy plate. It is recommended that half of your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables, and the other half with grains, protein and dairy.
If you have the option to, 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.
4. Grilling Saves Calories
When it comes to cooking proteins, summer grilling is a great way to add flavor without adding a lot of extra calories. By marinating your protein in a light dressing and throwing it on the grill, you can add tons of flavor and almost no extra fat, calories or sugars.
Since summer is the BBQ season, there are all kinds of healthy grilling ideas.
Along with fish, try grilling vegetables, asparagus, potatoes, zucchini, portabella mushrooms, corn on the cob, and other vegetables work great on the BBQ.
Kabobs also make healthy summer meals that are easy to grill. Did you know you can grill peaches?
5. Don't Forget the Fruit
Summer is a great time for fresh fruit. Add your favorite berries to your morning cereal or oatmeal.
When choosing fruits, always make sure to buy the freshest, best quality. 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.
Bonus Tip: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Exposing yourself in the hot summer sun for more than a couple of hours can cause the body to sweat and lose essential fluids, posing the risk of harmful dehydration and heat strokes.
Along with the general recommendations of consuming at least 2 liters of water per day, additional guidelines suggest drinking at least one half a liter bottle of water for every hour out in the direct sun.