It’s finally summer! In addition to heat and sunshine, summer means picnics, open houses, beach days, camping and summer parties. Foods that go along with the summer fun typically include hot dogs, potato chips, burgers, pop/lemonade/alcoholic beverages, sauces, pickles, coleslaw and more pasta/potato salad than we’ve had all year.
Although it’s OK to enjoy ourselves, we should strive to keep our summer meals balanced with all 5 food groups; grains (mostly whole), fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and dairy.
Below are 15 tips for finding balance during summer’s festivities, courtesy of Mary Free Bed’s Jessi Boehme MS, RDN.
1. Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. As a bonus, aim for a variety of colors to get more nutrients.
2. Instead of pop, try plain or fizzy water with fresh slices of limes, lemons or berries.
3. Make kabobs over the grill with pieces of chicken, bell peppers, mushrooms and onions.
4. Wrap fish in foil with seasonings and lemon slices and cook it over the grill. You’ll get a full serving of protein, healthy fats and a good amount of calcium.
5. Instead of mayonnaise for your potato salad, swap in Greek yogurt, which is nutritionally dense with more protein and calcium, and less saturated fat.
6. Use leftover smoothie mixtures to make your own frozen popsicles for dessert.
7. Stay hydrated! This is important year-round, but especially during the heat of summer when dehydration can more easily occur.
8. Limit your alcohol intake and always drink water alongside your beverage.
9. Find ways to be intentionally active. Park far away from the entrance to stores, take the stairs and plan family time around a physical activity, such as a walk on the beach or on nearby trails.
10. Remember not to skip breakfast in order to “save calories” for later. It’s more important to have balanced meals all day rather than one large one at dinner.
11. Instead of purchasing sweetened tea, make your own unsweetened tea and add a variety of fruits for flavor.
12. Encourage portion control by using smaller plates at picnics, potlucks and events.
13. Bring a variety of snacks (like crackers, salsa, fruits and veggies) to the beach so you won’t be tempted by items at the beach huts like ice cream, chips and soda.
14. Instead of condiments covering your burger patty, throw on some avocado slices (or guacamole) for healthy fats and amazing flavor.
15. Keep your home stocked with healthy items for those summer days when you’re on the go. Having healthy snacks prepped and ready will help you stay on track this season.
These tips and much more can help you have a balanced and fun summer. Enjoy the vitamin D from the sun, get active in your favorite way and feed your body nourishing meals that leave you full and satisfied.
Looking for more help with your overall meal plan? Trying to eat healthy or lose weight but not sure where to start? Join us at Mary Free Bed for a free informational session and learn about our medically supervised, non-surgical Weight Management Program. The next sessions are at 3:30 pm on July 7 or 6:30 pm on July 21. Those times don’t work for you? Call our program today at 616.840.8908 for more information.