Cookouts, amusement parks, carnivals, BBQ’s; summer is here along with all the sweet and fatty indulgences. The summer weather draws everyone outside for prolonged periods of time, sometimes resulting in dehydration or heat exhaustion. Maintaining a healthy diet during the summer months can be easier than you would think.
Keeping yourself hydrated is a key element to healthy eating. Drinking water is always the obvious hydration method; however eating fruits can also contribute to keeping the body hydrated as well as filled with natural sugars and nutrients. As much as dairy products are needed to maintain a healthy diet, caution should be warned if too much is consumed prior to going out into the hot weather, an upset stomach may occur. Alcohol can cause your body to dehydrate as well, so if drinking is in your plans, chasing your alcoholic drinks with a bottle of water will not only hydrate you, but keep you from becoming drunk.
If you are the one hosting a cookout, offer turkey meat burgers and sausages, this will not only inspire your guests to eat healthy and try new things, but ensure you have your healthy choice in front of you as well. If you are not the host, monitor your portions and load up on the veggies. Skipping out on the extra condiments will lower your sodium intake and prevent you from feeling constantly thirsty.
Carnivals and amusement parks can be more challenging to pick and choose healthy options. This is where portion control is the first option. Secondly, just like you were in a restaurant, you have the ability to ask for light or fate free alternatives and request omissions of additional items all together.
Go easy on the sauce! BBQ sauce, Ranch sauce, and other dipping sauces can be used to the extreme when summer rolls around. Drenching your chicken wings and meats in sauce can add over a hundred calories for just a few tablespoons. Lightly spreading a spoonful of sauce over your food instead of dunking it will help control the calorie intake and leave room for other healthy foods.
Desserts are something that we humans can’t say no to. The summer pies, the ice cream, and the list goes on! You can still choose to eat decadent desserts without crashing your entire healthy eating streak. Summer is best known for its fruits, which make the best fresh pies! If pie is your choice, stay away from the custards and the chocolate. Order the fruit pies! When ordering a slice of fruit pie at your favorite restaurant, most of the time they dabble the whipped cream on top of the slice. Here is your chance to ask for either light whipped cream, no whipped cream, or even ask them to add extra strawberries or fresh fruit as your topping. If you have to have chocolate, a small drizzle over a slice of strawberry pie can add just enough sweetness at half the calories!
Ice cream is definitely a summer treat that doesn’t seem like it can be damaging to your calorie intake, but don’t be fooled by the large array of flavors available. Stick to the basics, vanilla or strawberry being you healthiest choice. If you have to have some crazy flavor, downsize your portion to a small. By downsizing your portion, you are still having what you really want, but at a healthy and calorie manageable size. Sadly, it is best to skip the loads of toppings, the sprinkles, and the overloaded sundaes. Sundaes can be acceptable if you stick to the one of the basic ice cream flavors, fruit toppings, and keep your portion small.
One of the most important points to remember when it comes to eating healthy in summer is to not eat any food that has been left outside for longer than two hours, less time if the food contains mayonnaise. Eating spoiled food is the last thing one would want to have during the summer!
All in all, the summer can be an extremely healthy and tasty season if you start out with your stomach and your mind going in the right direction!