Summer’s here, which means there’s lots of sun, fun and good food to enjoy. Sticking to healthy eating during the summer months can be tricky, especially with endless snack tables, barbecues and ice cream shops around. Here are some easy, healthy tips that can help lighten up and even add to your summer enjoyment.
Hot summer weather means that you might need more fluids to stay hydrated. Drinking enough water will help with weight maintenance, skin health and an all-around healthy body. Some tips to get your eight glasses of water a day:
1. Infuse regular water with fresh fruit and herbs to add flavor. Frozen berries, peach slices, citrus wheels and fresh herb sprigs like mint, basil and thyme are just a few summery options.
2. Carry a re-usable water bottle and refill it as many times as needed to get 64 ounces of water a day.
3. Substitute iced tea instead of sodas or fruit juices. Most sodas only contain about 90% water, with the rest being sugar. Similarly, fruit juices can have almost as much sugar as a soda.
Navigating Summer Social Events
Summer is usually the time for barbecues, pool parties and other events where you’ll encounter a loaded snack table. Here are some tips for snacking lighter:
4. Choose lighter dips such as salsa, guacamole and bean dip instead of calorie-dense ones like queso cheese or sour cream dip.
5. Stick to the crudité platter and substitute half of the chips you’d normally eat with fresh veggies.
6. Dip fresh veggies in hummus instead of ranch or bleu cheese dip.
7. Choose chips that have the highest fiber content.
8. Pick stronger, more flavorful cheeses instead of milder ones. This helps reduce the portion you need to use.
9. When BBQ-ing, choose lean proteins such as poultry without skin, fish or lean ground beef.
10. Make hamburgers with the leanest, grass-fed beef available at your grocery store.
11. Grilling sausages? Choose ones with the lowest saturated fat content available, and check ingredients to make sure they’re made without nitrites or nitrates.
12. Skip the cheese and mayonnaise when making hamburgers and substitute avocado.
13. Choose 100% whole wheat hamburger or hot dog buns. Whole wheat buns will have more fiber and nutrients than the white versions.
Re-Making Summer Classics
When cooking summer recipes, make a few small swaps to lighten them up.
14. Make coleslaw with broccoli, which will add more fiber. Substitute 50% of the mayonnaise in the recipe for nonfat Greek yogurt, link in this tangy Broccoli Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing.
15. Flavor corn on the cob with low-sodium seasonings and skip the added butter.
16. Whip up an Herbed Potato Salad with a vinaigrette instead of mayonnaise-based dressing.
17. Prepare macaroni salad with whole grain pasta and a vinaigrette dressing.
When making or ordering a cocktail:
18. Muddle in fresh fruits and herbs (such as watermelon and mint) to flavor naturally without adding extra sugar.
19. Lighten up on juice – if adding juice, add 50% soda water and 50% juice to reduce the amount of sugar.
20. Flavor with citrus such as lime, orange or grapefruit to add more natural flavor.
21. Slim-down margaritas by making them with half the amount of triple sec.
Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth
Everyone needs a little sweetness in the summertime. Consider a few lighter dessert options:
22. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants.
23. Fruit smoothies are full of fiber, because they keep fruits intact instead of separating (and leaving out) the fiber from the juice.
24. Frozen yogurt typically has less fat than traditional ice cream. One cup of regular ice cream can have up to 50% of your daily recommended saturated fat intake.
25. Make your own fruit popsicles or a Mango Frozen Yogurt with plain or lightly sweetened vanilla yogurt and frozen fruit.