How to Build a Healthy Summer Plate

Are barbecues, summer picnics and beach days popping up all over your calendar? During the fun of the summer months, it’s easy to lose track of healthy eating habits. Rest assured there are ways to enjoy summer’s fun and maintain a nutrient-dense diet at the same time. Here are some tips to enjoy a healthier summer plate.

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Choose Seasonal Produce

Summertime brings a wealth of fresh, seasonal produce thats ripe for the picking. Summer squash, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and cucumbers are among the colorful and nutrient-dense, in-season veggies. And lets not forget about stone fruits like nectarines, peaches, cherries and apricots. These sweet, high fiber and vitamin-packed summer fruits make for a satisfying and refreshing treat.

Heres how to add seasonal produce to your plate:

  • Add fiber-rich cucumbers to your salads, or eat as a snack with lemon juice and a touch of salt.
  • Bell peppers are one of the best sources of vitamin C. Slice some up and eat with a delicious beet hummus.
  • Try sweet summer berries as an alternative to dessert. They’re high in fiber and potent antioxidants.
  • Check out our early summer produce guide for tips on how to shop for perfect strawberries, cherries, beets and corn.

Eat Cooling Foods

Summer is a great time to enjoy cooling foods such as raw fruits and veggies. Eating vegetables in their natural, raw state also helps preserve some nutrients that can be denatured when exposed to heat, such as vitamin C.

Here are some of summers finest cooling meals:

  • Green Salad with Asparagus & Peas: Adding asparagus to your plate is a great way to add nutrients to your summer diet, including vitamins A, C and E, as well as chromium, an important mineral for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.  
  • Avocado Soup: This chilled soup will keep you cool and nourished during hot weather. Avocados are high in fiber and monounsaturated fats, as well as a great source of potassium.

Stay Hydrated

The temperature has increased, and chances are, your activity levels have too. Its important to keep your body well-hydrated, whether youre out for a swim, playing beach volleyball or hiking with friends.

Be sure to drink plenty of water, while also avoiding sugary drinks. Its easy to reach for highly-palatable electrolyte drinks. However, electrolyte drinks are usually loaded with added sugars, artificial colors and flavors, and other unsavory additives. Your best bet is to stick with water for hydration.

You can add flavor to your water by throwing in lemon wedges, sliced cucumber or fresh mint. Another great way to cool off and stay hydrated is to add your favorite frozen fruit to a glass of cold water. The fruit keeps your beverage cold, adds a hint of flavor and provides you with some vitamins and minerals.

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