Healthy Habits: Summertime Eats and Treats
Healthy eating in the summertime should be easier since seasonal fruits and vegetables are easily accessible. Unfortunately, summer is also the season for friendly gatherings, holiday get-togethers and family vacations. Minimizing the impact of calories eaten in excess during these events can be a challenge. Planning for food weaknesses is a good first step to reducing splurges to maintain healthy habits.
It is easy to get caught in the drive-thru trap when traveling. It takes less time to prepare, but could end up causing you to lose control of healthy eating. Packing a cooler with fruits and vegetables, using whole grain bread, nuts and cheese for protein snacks and having a case of bottled water on hand are easy and practical ways to limit your fast food meals. Making stops at grocery stores instead of fast food can save money and offers fresh options.
Travel Snacks: Portion out in single serve bags
Real fruit instead of processed fruit snacks
Popcorn (from kernel)
Freeze dried fruit
Carrot & celery sticks with individual natural peanut butter cups
Sweet bell peppers, cut in strips
The Summer BBQ:
Hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad and baked beans are part of traditional barbeques. Whether hosting or attending, consider little things that add calories to summer deliciousness. Making your own hamburger patties, using lean ground beef or a combination or ground beef/turkey, could help cut the fat. Use whole grain buns and add toppings like lettuce leaves, tomato slices, onions, mushrooms or avocados. Traditional foods using mayonnaise or sour cream as a base can often be replaced partially or wholly with plain, low fat Greek yogurt. This offers less fat and more protein, not to mention live cultures to benefit your gut health. .
Things to Try:
Ranch Dip - Greek Yogurt (plain) + ranch dip mix packet
Chicken Salad - add nuts, grapes, sunflower seeds, and celery for an added crunch and substitute plain Greek yogurt for half the mayo
Baked sweet potato slices (using olive oil) can be a chip or potato salad substitute
Add fresh lemon slices to a pitcher of ice water instead of serving sugar-laden lemonade
Avoiding or reducing alcoholic beverages can eliminate hundreds of empty calories. Look for recipes using club soda or seltzer water in addition to fruit juice to make a mock cocktail with fewer calories.
Finding a balance is the ultimate key to a successful, healthy diet. Be aware of the food setting you will be in and change eating patterns to account for additional calories. Bring your own healthy food option so you know there is one thing you can count on to fill you up and keep you going. Don’t feel like you can’t indulge in some of your summertime favorites. Reduce your portion sizes and make a vow not to go back twice.
This week’s Healthy Habit: Make pre-planned healthy snacks a priority. Use them for road trips, ball tournaments, or to take daily to work or school.