Summertime — filled with picnics, barbeques, and vacations — has a way of sabotaging a diet. But before you get off track in the name of convenience, take a look at these easy tips to help you eat clean and still have plenty of fun in the sun this summer.
One of the best things about summer is the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables available this time of year. Not only can in-season produce be a refreshing treat, but it’s also packed full of vitamins and other important nutrients.
Watermelon, for example, contains even more lycopene than tomatoes. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that offers protection against free radical damage and may help to prevent certain types of cancer. Other healthy summer produce to stock up on includes strawberries, peaches, cherries, green beans, cucumbers, broccoli, and basil.
If you’re able to grow your own garden or even plant a few vegetables in pots or baskets, consider canning, freezing, or fermenting any excess yield you have now so you have some healthy foods stashed away for the winter.
2. Grill Lean Meats
Nothing quite says summer like a hot grill on a sunny day. But if you’re trying to eat clean, traditional hotdogs and hamburgers can be an obstacle. Instead, throw some leaner meat choices on the grill, such as chicken, salmon, or shrimp. You can even go vegetarian and grill up hearty eggplant or portabella “burgers.”
3. Reach for a Refreshing Treat
If cold treats like ice cream cones and popsicles are part of what you love about summer, try substituting close seconds like frozen yogurt, fruit parfaits, or homemade frozen fruit bars instead. These options are generally lower in sugar than regular ice cream, but still pack a flavorful punch.
Keep in mind that fruit contains natural sugars, including a mix of sucrose, glucose, and fructose, as well as plenty of water and fiber, making a bowl of fresh strawberries or apple slices a much healthier sweet treat than processed desserts that are high in high-fructose corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners.
4. BYOS (Bring Your Own Snacks)
Heading out to the beach or pool for the day? Bring your own healthy snacks so you’re not tempted to buy nachos or hotdogs from the concession stand. Nuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, homemade granola, hummus, carrot sticks, and easy fruits like oranges, apples, and grapes make great on-the-go snacks to keep you feeling full and energized.
5. Stay Hydrated
Lots of times, we mistake thirst for hunger and end up looking for a snack instead of sipping some water. In the summer, it’s especially important to drink enough water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated, especially if you’re outside in the heat and sun. Bring along a refillable water bottle so you never run out.
Don’t love the taste of plain water? Try adding fruit slices like lemons, oranges, strawberries or even watermelon to add a burst of flavor.
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