FB Kids Picnic HealthySummer is all about BBQ’s, picnics, vacations, and city fairs! With all the high calorie casual eating temptations out there it can be a challenge to stick to your healthy eating habits. Here are a few tips on how to eat smart this summer, without missing out on any of the fun!

Load Up on Fresh Veggies

Produce grows in abundance during the summer, which means it is also less expensive at grocery stores because it is so readily, and locally, available. Take advantage of summer’s delicious offerings by loading up on healthful veggies.

Tomatoes

Try adding a few slices of tomato to your sandwich or salad, which could give you up to 40% of your daily recommended Vitamin C intake! Plus tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that can help combat the scorching sun by protecting your skin from sunburns.  Add a slice to your burger to lessen the effects of carcinogens caused by grilling.

Avocados

You might want to swap out that cheese on your burger for Avocado. While avocado is high in calories, it is low in saturated fat – unlike cheese, which racks in a whopping 6g per slice! Avocado is also low in sodium and sugar. It makes for a great butter and mayo substitute as well, by replacing those saturated fats with healthy fats while providing fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and potassium! Replace the mayo with avocado in your potato for a healthy alternative BBQ side dish.

Corn

Corn on the cob is a summer classic – and without butter, it is actually a high-fiber, low calorie food. It is also rich in antioxidants, and naturally gluten-free. Lime juice, a dash of salt, and chili powder make for a great way to enjoy corn on the cob without the extra fat from butter.

Choose Lean Meats

Before you fire up that grill, think twice about what types of meat you’re using. Lean meat, such as skinless chicken breasts and salmon, contain less fat and less cholesterol than some red meat options. If you do choose red meat it doesn’t have to be a high-fat product. Certain cuts of beef, such as flank steak and top sirloin are relatively lean. Check the package for fat percentage or for words such as “-loin”, “select”, or “choice” rather than “prime”. Tip – you can also reduce the fat content of your meat by trimming away any visible fat before cooking it.

Stay Quenched

It is a known fact that hydration is vital to human life. During these summer months when temperatures are rising, getting an adequate intake of water may require a little extra effort. But it is important if you want to stay on a healthy track. Hydration plays a key role in weight maintenance and keeping energy levels high.  According to LiveStrong.com, dehydration causes your body’s basic processes to slow down, eventually leading to a decrease in your metabolism – which makes it more difficult to burn fat. Tip: watermelon is about 92% water, and very low fat (only about .4 g per slice), which makes it the perfect summer snack –and a great way to rehydrate after a long day in the sun!   And, just like tomatoes, it’s high in lycopene, so protect yourself with antioxidant power!

Lastly, Fresh Fruit Pops!

One more fun tip is to make these easy, and delicious frozen fruit pops as a snack alternative.   Store-bought ice cream treats and popsicles can be highly-processed and contain artificial ingredients. The kids will love these, and they’re sure to satisfy your summer cravings.  popsicles

Stephanie Sakalian is an O.C. native who earned her BA in Social Psychology at Portland State University. She enjoys cooking Portuguese food, photography, and record collecting. In her spare time she is hiking in the desert or attending live music shows. Stephanie loves to travel to new places – “money fills your pockets but adventure fills your soul”. Favorite gummy vitamins: Slice of Life Energy B12!

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