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Summer Healthy Eating

Summertime is here! It’s the perfect time to ramp up your families’ eating habits. Sure, your routines are different from the rest of the year—fun-filled days in the sun, leisurely times by the pool and exciting vacation adventures. You may have the luxury of more time to prepare and dine under less pressure. There is a plethora of fresh foods waiting to be enjoyed. Make this summer a deliciously healthy one. Here are some easy tips:

  • Base your menus around fresh vegetables, focusing less on meats. Grill some sliced zucchini and sweet peppers basted in your favorite marinade and serve with grilled chicken or fish on the side, skewer style.
  • Try grilled fruit as a healthier dessert or sweet treat. Grilling the naturally based sugar and water in fruit helps concentrate the flavors by reducing the water content and carmelizing the natural sugars. Spray the grill with non-fat cooking spray to keep the fruit from sticking. Make a summer fruit salad with as many colors as you can!
  • Venture to your local farmer’s market and take your kids along. It can be a fun outing in the open air market. Everyone can pick a new food to try and take home for their next meal of snack. When kids get to pick out new fruits or veggies they are more likely to try them and enjoy them! It’s a wonderful learning experience too. Your children may just beg to go back for another adventure.
  • Grow a family garden. What a great way to get your kids involved in where food comes from. Digging in the dirt may be a little messy but watching the seeds sprout is as exciting as it is rewarding! Some easy and fast growing crops include carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and strawberries.
  • Pack simple snacks for the road. Think portable fruits and vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, grapes and cherries. Take along small bags of nuts and string cheese for filling proteins that travel well.
  • Keep your fridge stocked with clear plastic containers of pre-washed and cut fruits and vegetables. Set some in a decorative bowl on the counter too. When you see them , you’re more likely to eat them. Also consider stocking your pantry with fewer processed foods such as chips and pretzels. This makes it more likely to grab the fresh fast foods instead.
  • Make your own trail mix: toss together raisins, dried cranberries or chopped apricots with roasted almonds or peanuts. Through in some favorite high fiber cereals, such as Fiber One Caramel Delight or Kashi Heart to Heart. Bag up in single ready-to-eat portions.
  • Beat the summer heat with homemade frozen fruit pops. Freeze 100% fruit juice in small paper cups. When the juice is slushy enough add a wooden stick and when frozen solid peel off the paper and serve. For extra fiber and nutrients you can add diced up fruit to the juice before freezing. You can also freeze yogurt as a frozen treat. My favorite is Yoplait Light Thick and Creamy in cinnamon roll flavor. Yum!
  • Beware of high calorie summer favorites by making smart substitutions. Make potato salad or coleslaw with low fat or nonfat mayo. Instead of grilling high fat hot dogs and burgers, try salmon, lean turkey or veggie burgers.
  • Drink up your water first. Often thirst is mistaken for hunger so before you reach for a snack fill your water glass and for flavor squeeze a slice of lemon, lime or orange.
  • All foods fit so allow for indiscretions. Do not take the joy out of eating this summer (and all year round!). An occasional ice cream treat or nosh at the fair can fit within an overall healthy diet.

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