Summer is a time for celebration. It’s a time for swimming, bike rides, barbecues, road trips, ballgames and beach vacations. The season also brings with it lots of treats like grilling burgers in the backyard or indulging in a cone from the ice cream truck.
We often pack a lot into summer because of the nice weather and time away from work or school. We want to make healthy food choices, but often, in the summer, our nutrition suffers a little.
Try these tips to help balance healthy eating habits with summer fun.
- Cook at home. With the recent health crisis in our country, most families have already been doing this. Many restaurants often offer “healthy” choices on their menus, but oftentimes those seemingly better choices are loaded with heavy sauces, fats and sodium. It’s easier to stick with a more balanced diet when you are cooking at home, and there’s also the benefit of saving money. Devise menus that are easy to make and don’t require standing over a hot oven on warm summer days.
- Plan ahead for special occasions. Just because you are celebrating in the evening, doesn’t mean you should sabotage your diet all day. Making healthy food choices earlier in the day helps to ensure you go into the celebration not overly hungry and apt to overindulge. Fill up on lean grilled meats and fruit. Opt for raw vegetables instead of chips. Plan in advance how many alcoholic beverages you will consume and stick to that goal. Hydrating with plenty of water will also help keep you feeling full.
- Prep for outings. Ice cream stands and vending machines offer lots of temptation when you are out of the house for the day at the pool, beach or a park. Packing a cooler with ice, bottled water, sandwiches on whole grain breads, pita chips, hummus, yogurt and lots of fruit will help you stay on track without feeling deprived.
- Take advantage of fresh produce. With produce at its peak during the summer months, there’s no better time than now to indulge in the bountiful fruits and vegetables that you and your family enjoy! Limit the snacks and chips available in your pantry. Keeping fruits and vegetables washed and easily accessible will help them soon become your “go to” snack.
- Treat yourself. Summer is short and no one wants to miss out! After all, no summer would be complete without a scoop or two of ice cream every now and again. It’s ok to give into temptation occasionally. Just limit the special treats and be sure to keep portion control in mind.
With just a little bit of effort you can make your summer a little healthier without sacrificing any of the fun!