By Brooke Robinson, Keene State College Dietetic Intern
Summertime is almost upon us, and the living is easy … but eating healthy may not be. Summer can mean slipping on your commitment to eating healthy foods: Temptations are abundant with barbecues, ice cream outings, and meals on the go (that may not be so healthy) when you are traveling.
Here are some tips to help you be mindful of summertime eating habits:
Make the Most of Your Seasonal Produce
Berries, melons, peaches, pears, and nectarines are all in season in New Hampshire during the summer months. Add some berries to your favorite green salad for a sweet, juicy topping. If you find that you have purchased more fruit than you can eat, don’t let it go to waste! Chop it up, put it into a freezer-safe container or bag, label it with the date, and use the fruit to make tasty smoothies all summer long. Staying hydrated in the heat means drinking a lot of water. Mix it up by infusing your water with berries, cucumber, citrus, and herbs. Try a variety of combinations, such as cucumber melon and strawberry mint.
Stock Up On Healthy Snacks
Every adventure out in the summer sun requires plenty of fuel to get everyone through the day. By stocking up your kitchen with healthy, easy-to-grab snacks, you’ll be more likely to opt for something that will keep you full and provide you a boost of energy, without later dragging you down. Yogurt topped with fresh fruit always makes for a sweet snack and is easy to pack in a cooler for adventures away from home. Try cleaning and slicing your fruit as soon as you unpack it from the grocery store or farmers’ market. Pop some grapes in the freezer for a frozen snack that is low in calories and packed with vitamins. Dip some berries in vanilla yogurt and freeze them for a healthy sweet treat. Having these healthier snacks ready-to-eat makes it more likely you’ll reach for the healthy option when you are hungry for a quick bite between meals.
Plan Ahead For Your Picnic
Picnics and cookouts are great opportunities to bring everyone together for a fun meal — but traditional BBQ fare is not always a good option for your waistline. Try healthy twists on classic cookout dishes, such as potato salad made with fresh corn, celery, and a Greek yogurt dressing. Salads made from quinoa, or other grains, make great vehicles for plumping up your picnic menu with fresh, seasonal vegetables. Veggie Kabobs are another easy-to-put-together addition that you can toss on the grill. Bringing something healthy to the cookout table or picnic ensures that something nutritious will make its way onto your plate.