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From carnivals to food truck festivals, the summer months come with an abundance of tasty temptations. Fortunately, it’s easier than you might think to enjoy your favorite foods while keeping your nutritional needs on track. Here are seven tips for staying healthy throughout the summer months.
1. Exercise portion control
Limiting your portion size is a great way to satisfy a food craving without overindulging. For instance, if you feel tempted by the salty smell of french fries wafting through the air on the boardwalk, get a small order and share them with a friend.
“Instead of categorizing certain foods as off-limits, allow yourself to eat what you’d like in moderation,” said Joshua George, R.D., Clinical Nutrition and Patient Services manager at Inspira Health. “Being mindful of your portions means you can still enjoy the foods you’d like to eat without excess calorie intake.”
2. Balance your plate
When you’re at the beach, on the boardwalk or at a barbecue, make an effort to incorporate protein, whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables into your meals. Opt for the veggie slice of pizza instead of pepperoni, or use a whole grain bun for your burger. Filling your plate with a wide variety of foods increases the likelihood that you’ll get the nutrients your body needs.
3. Take advantage of seasonal produce
Incorporating high-fiber snacks into your diet will help you feel full and give you the energy you need for fun in the sun. When you pack for the beach, fill your cooler with chopped fruits and veggies. Look to incorporate seasonal produce for maximum flavor, including the following:
- Swiss chard
4. Cut back on salt and fat
Summertime is the season of cookouts, which can involve hours of mindless grazing. To stay balanced, focus on avoiding foods high in fat and sodium, such as potato and macaroni salads, ribs, chips and dip, hamburgers and hotdogs. “When grilling, opt for leaner proteins,” said George. “Some flavorful alternatives to red meat are ground turkey, skinless chicken breast and seafood.” Instead of loading your lean protein with salt, experiment with citrus, vinegar, herbs and spices to enhance your meal.
5. Avoid skipping meals
Avoid skipping meals in preparation for overindulging at cookouts or picnics. “Skipping meals can lead to mental and physical fatigue,” said George. “It usually leads to overeating as well.” Instead, aim for consistent meals throughout the day that help fuel your summer fun.
6. Make smart dessert swaps
Food festivals and carnivals are known for the alluring aromas of funnel cakes, kettle corn, cotton candy and more. While sugar-packed treats are okay in moderation, it’s best to avoid empty calories. Instead, opt for a homemade version of your favorite indulgence for fewer calories and less sugar. Swap your ice cream cone or gelato for a homemade smoothie or a popsicle made with fresh fruit.
7. Drink plenty of water
Although it’s tempting to quench your thirst with lemonade, iced tea or soda, your best option is ice-cold water. Water will keep your body healthy and hydrated without added sweeteners. Add a little flavor by infusing your water with chunks of fresh fruit, cucumber or mint. Skip the boardwalk soda and reach for your water bottle instead.
Inspira Health is a high reliability organization (HRO), which means safety is the top priority for patients and staff. To make an appointment, call 1-800-INSPIRA.