The weather is finally getting warmer, and the snow has melted. Summer is officially on its way, which means BBQs, summer parties, and an abundance of fresh produce. Many people are more active during the summer months, but with increased social activities and vacations there can also be many opportunities to overeat or opt for unhealthier options.
Summer vacations are a great time for relaxing, but they can be challenging because more meals may be consumed at restaurants or on the go. If the meals are included as part of a vacation package, there may be a surplus of foods to choose from.
Social gatherings are another challenging aspect people face during the summer months. There are many parties and summer holidays such as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day.
For many people, warmer weather might also mean an excuse to consume cold treats such as ice cream or frozen yogurt more often. Camping trips can also be a struggle, as people may choose convenience over healthier options when in the wilderness nestled around a campfire.
Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to maintain a healthy diet during the summer months.
Take advantage of seasonal produce.
The spring and summer months are the best time to eat fruits and vegetables as most of them are in season. There are also lots of deals on produce this time of year. Each time you make a trip to the grocery store or farmer’s market, make sure you stock up on a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
Take a trip to the local farmer’s market.
Farmer’s markets are arguably one of the best places to get the freshest local produce in your community. You can shop for a variety of seasonal produce while making connections with local farmers. You can also feel good knowing that you are supporting your farming community.
Grow your own garden.
Gardening can be a great way to increase activity and reduce stress. All the fresh fruits and vegetables that you grow are another great benefit.
Take advantage of the grill.
This is the perfect time of year for grilling. Use the grill for cooking meats, fish, and vegetables. Even grilled fruit can be a delicious dessert when served with some low-fat frozen vanilla yogurt. When it comes to grilling your favorite meat, opt for leaner choices. The perfect example is choosing leaner hamburger meat such as 90/10 or leaner. Serve the hamburger on a whole wheat bun and add vegetables. Toppings like guacamole or feta cheese can turn a good hamburger into a great one.
Be smart about alcoholic beverages.
Drinking a cold beer at the end of a hot summer day can be refreshing, but beer (and other cold drinks) can be high in calories. It is essential to know your limit on alcohol. If your diet is overall healthy and well-balanced, an occasional beer is likely not going to lead to weight gain. However, having several cold beers or sugary mixed drinks could tip the calorie balance towards weight gain. Choose lighter beers if possible or drinks mixed with soda water instead of sugary sodas, mixers, or juices.
Choose your calories wisely while on vacation.
Vacation is a time to splurge, but if you splurge at every meal, you might come home with an extra five pounds. It’s all about balance and choosing when to splurge. If you are going to a fancy dinner, make sure you eat a healthy breakfast and lunch. If you are at an all-inclusive resort, make healthier choices instead of going straight for the treats. Try to balance your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
Quench your thirst with water and pass on sugary beverages.
Make homemade sun tea or unsweetened iced tea instead of drinking sweetened teas. Flavor your water with lemon or lime. Try infusing your water with other fruits such as strawberries, cucumber, or melon, and pick sparkling water over soda. There are many ways to stay hydrated during the summer without all the added sugar—and your options are more delicious than you think!
Going camping? Meal prepping is your friend.
Sit down and make a list of all the meals you will consume and try to incorporate fresh produce as much as possible. If you are serving hot dogs at a meal, then make a fresh salad on the side instead of serving potato chips. Seafood can be a great protein option for the summer months, too. Summer is a time when many of the fish options at your local grocery store are fresh.
Eating healthy during the summer is easy with so many fresh options available. All it takes is a little planning and a will to establish healthy eating habits.