How to eat well this summer — and stay healthy too!
The summer months are perhaps the most exciting time of year, with picnics, vacations, and fun events that simply don’t happen in the other seasons. But while there’s plenty of fun to be had all summer long, you have to be careful not to overindulge on the hot dogs and ice cream. But never fear! There are some inexpensive and easy ways to eat great this summer while staying healthy and attending all your favorite get-togethers. Follow the tips below from FastMed Urgent Care and make this a healthier summer to remember.
Eat vegetables that are in season
While all vegetables tend to be fairly healthy, the summer months allow Americans to eat a wide variety of vegetables that are actually “in season.” In-season produce has usually travelled a much shorter distance to reach your plate, and therefore hasn’t experienced as much nutrient breakdown. Some great summer-season vegetables are arugula, cucumbers, eggplant, hot peppers, kohlrabi, mushrooms, shallots, and zucchini.
Don’t forget protein
The medical profession hasn’t fully come to a consensus about ultra-heavy protein diets like paleo and the like, but most doctors recommend a hefty portion of protein in nearly everyone’s diet. This is important to keep in mind during the summer months when carbohydrates and sugary snacks seem to be much more plentiful. Protein-rich foods like meats, dairy, and oatmeal can be great options when summertime carbs like fries or potato chips are around.
Which proteins are best?
Lean, less-fatty meats like chicken, turkey, and other poultries are typically the healthiest sources of animal protein. Alternative game meats like deer, ostrich, and bison can be very lean, and are usually bred and farmed with more responsible methods since they often come from smaller family-owned farms. And don’t forget seafood! Fish can be extremely healthy and has many omega-3 fatty acids, although most doctors recommend eating fish only twice a week due to mercury levels. Shrimp and lobster can be low in fat and are healthy sources of protein as well. The idea is to stick to lean meats and forego the fattier cuts like beef and pork.
Grill, don’t fry
This one seems obvious, but it’s so hard to avoid fried foods in the summertime! Deep-fried foods might as well be the official food of summer fairs and carnivals. But you can still eat all of your favorite fried foods; just put them on the grill! Grilled food is significantly healthier than fried food in most cases, which almost always involves heavy oils. Grilling helps retain nutrients, and has significantly lower levels of trans fats and carbohydrates. Plus, who doesn’t love grilling out!?
Grill your veggies too!
One of the hottest trends right now (literally!) is to grill your vegetables. This is a great idea because it can be difficult to get enough fresh vegetables into your diet. Grilling vegetables makes them much more palatable and easier to consume in many cases—cooked veggies are often easier on the stomach—and children may be more likely to enjoy corn and zucchini if it is coming hot off the grill.
Eat fruits that HYDRATE
Nearly all fruit is healthy and contains lots of nutrients and antioxidants, but during the summer months, it’s important to stay hydrated when it’s hot and/or dry outside. Certain fruits, even very healthy ones, can be high in sugar and contain less moisture, making them less suited for a summer day or trip to the beach. However, fruits like cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew are all fantastic sources of nutrients and hydrating water. Stick with these if you can.
Eat this, not that
Instead of fresh lemonade, which contains loads of sugar, begin with newly popular flavored waters or lemon-flavored water. Instead of fried chicken, go with crab cakes or lobster. When out at a bar or nightclub, eat veggie sticks instead of nuts or chips. And if you want a cocktail? Go with a fresh mojito instead of frozen/processed mixed drinks. And of course, for the summer classic, a milkshake, just go with a fruit smoothie and yogurt instead! You can have all the fun and still stay healthy this summer.
For great recipes to try, check out FastMed’s recipe page! We’re always posting healthy, delicious new foods that are easy to make at home.