Top tips for eating healthy this summer
If you’re looking to lose weight or improve your overall health, summer is a wonderful time of the year to get started. With the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables available at farmers markets and supermarkets, it’s easy to incorporate healthy foods into your daily diet in the summer months.
Use the following tips to eat healthy all summer long.
Eat In-Season Produce
The summer months offer a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, making it easy to eat fresh, light, delicious meals and snacks. Besides being low in calories, produce is full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
Here’s just some of the produce you’ll want to make a regular part of your summer menu.
- Raspberries: Raspberries are a great source of fiber. A study in the Journal of Nutrition suggested that eating more fiber may help prevent weight gain or even promote weight loss. And some of the fiber is in the form of pectin (a soluble form of fiber), which helps lower cholesterol.
- Strawberries: Strawberries contain fiber and more than a day’s worth of the recommended dose of vitamin C, which is a great source of antioxidants.
- Blueberries: The antioxidants in blueberries may help ward off muscle fatigue.
- Tart cherries: Compounds in tart cherries may help you slim down and get leaner, according to scientists at the University of Michigan Health System. They found that the anthocyanins in tart cherries activate a molecule that helps increase fat burn while decreasing fat storage.
- Watermelon: Watermelon is 92 percent water, which means it can help you stay hydrated in the summer heat. Eating foods full of water also helps keep you satisfied on fewer calories.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are filled with antioxidants, vitamin C and beneficial phytochemicals such as lycopene.
- Zucchini: Contains fiber as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that help prevent age-related macular degeneration.
- Green beans: Green beans are another great source of fiber, as well as vitamin K, a nutrient important for maintaining strong, healthy bones.
- Corn: Contains fiber, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Make Healthy, Light Meals
Summer weather makes it easy to choose light, refreshing fare over the heavy, high-calorie foods we often crave in the colder months. Below are some easy and satisfying meal ideas to try.
- Herbed eggs: Cook omelet-style eggs and top with salt and fresh herbs of your choice. Basil, tarragon and parsley are all tasty options.
- Healthy waffles: Top homemade or store-bought whole-grain waffles with pure maple syrup and fresh fruit, such as sliced nectarines, strawberries or blueberries.
- Rotisserie chicken: Serve with summer vegetables and brown or wild rice on the side, and you have a healthy meal.
- Chilled soup: Chilled soups with a lot of chunky vegetables, like gazpacho or cucumber, are great as a lunch or an accompaniment to dinner.
- Grilled vegetables: Grilled vegetables, such as onions, bell peppers, zucchini, carrot and asparagus, can be used for numerous healthy dishes, including grilled vegetable pitas and fresh herb pasta with grilled vegetables.
- Salads: Serve up a nutritious meal in a pinch by tossing salad greens with a combination of your favorite diced vegetables and fruits, low-fat cheese and some nuts. Add a light raspberry or balsamic vinaigrette and a whole grain roll, and you have a satisfying meal.
- Fruit as dessert: Opt for naturally sweet fruit as your daily treat in place of high-calorie desserts.
Whether you want to lose weight or simply want to eat better for overall health, following the tips above will help you achieve your health goals in an enjoyable, sustainable way. These foods are so delicious that you won’t feel deprived — and they’re so easy to prepare that you’ll be motivated to continue eating this way well beyond summer!
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