Keeping it Tasty and Healthy This Summer
When we think of summertime and eating, many of us think of the upcoming barbeques and fresh produce that is available in abundance. The season offers us the opportunity to lighten up our winter menus, but can also lend itself to a fat trap if we aren't careful- think ice cream sundaes every Sunday, heavy pasta salads, and greasy burgers at weekend gatherings. While indulging every now and then is okay (and delicious!), it is important to make sure the majority of your meals are full of nutrient rich foods.
Hydration is always important, but the heat and humidity require us to be more mindful of our fluid intake, especially when engaging in outdoor activities.If you find yourself struggling to meet your daily water requirement, try infusing it, recommends Jason Dahl, Food Services Manager at Sturdy Memorial Hospital. Citrus fruits, berries and melons all lend their flavors to your water when added. If you're feeling extra fancy, fresh herbs are a great way to enhance the taste. Try combinations like strawberry and basil or cucumber and mint and you'll find yourself reaching for your water glass more often.
When it comes to eating, balance is the key to success. Whether it's a Tuesday night on your back patio or a Saturday cookout, always aim to have 50% of your plate covered in vegetables and fruits. The other 50% should be split between a lean protein and a healthy carbohydrate option think chicken, turkey burgers, lean beef or bean burgers. For your healthy carbs, aim for whole wheat pasta and bread or options like quinoa, barley and brown rice, says Kathleen Blackledge, Registered Dietitian at Sturdy Memorial Hospital. If reaching for a pasta salad look to make sure that it is lightly dressed. Stock your fridge with a fruit and veggie tray to snack on during the week. Pair with yogurt dips, hummus or guacamole for a tasty option. Use fresh or frozen fruit to make delicious smoothies to help keep cool while satisfying your sweet tooth with natures candy.
Discussing the importance of having a diet chock full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and health carbohydrates is great, but even better is the ease of finding them during this time of year. We are lucky enough to have access to Farmer’s Markets that open up for business during the warmer months right here in our community. Buying from these markets not only helps you buy local, fresh ingredients, it helps our local farmers grow their business. If you find yourself looking for something to do on the weekend, head on over to one in your local community and see all that they have to offer - your taste buds will thank you.