There’s no better time to make healthy eating choices than now.
For any person who struggles to maintain a healthy eating routine, this statement holds true year round. However, with summer in full bloom, there truly is no better time than now to load up on fresh veggies and fruits, making every meal a tasty adventure into the world of health.
Unfortunately, summer also brings with it barbecues, parties, and picnics, and most of the time, the hosts don’t prepare meals with your health in mind. Charred hot dogs on enriched white rolls, greasy potato chips, and calorie-loaded dips and casseroles pop up at nearly every summertime social event, and it can be hard to avoid the pull of these meals.
This doesn’t have to be the norm for your summer, though! Use these three tips to make the season work for you, and ride out this summer on a wave of health and wellness
1. Visit Your Local Farmers’ Market
There’s something for everybody at a Farmers’ Market.
Your local Farmers’ Market is likely the best source of fresh, homegrown produce available, and you can stock up your fridge with delicious fruits and veggies once or twice a month at these locations.
Usually, the food sold at Farmers’ Markets is grown without pesticides or preservatives, meaning that there’s nothing but natural flavor and nutrients to enjoy. Even better, you’re getting out, taking a stroll, and enjoying some fresh air while you shop!
By choosing a Farmers’ Market over your grocery store’s produce, you’re supporting local farmers and receiving what is in many cases a superior, tastier product. For anybody looking to create a healthier, cleaner diet this summer, the Farmers’ Market offers the perfect first step.
2. Choose Chicken and Fish Over Steak, Burgers, and Hot Dogs
Everybody loves the smell of a freshly lit grill, and there’s nothing that says “summer” quite like a day spent outdoors cooking and socializing with friends and family.
Usually, this brings a spread of cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and juicy steaks to the table. While these foods are tasty and while they represent summertime classics, grilling chicken and fish provides a much healthier (and just as tasty!) option.
You can try salmon, tuna, tilapia, sea bass, etc.—there are more fish to choose from than there are weekends in the season, providing you with never-ending options and variety for your cookouts. Where chicken is concerned, you can get creative and try out different marinades. Just make sure you remove the skin! This recipe from the Food Network is fresh and zesty, and it’s one of my personal favorites.
The best part of taking this route, however, is the fact that you’re bypassing all the unwanted side effects of eating too much red meat. According to a report from Health.com that was featured on CNN, eating too much red meat can shorten your lifespan, a product of the high cholesterol and saturated fat levels contained in steaks and burgers.
Hot dogs also contain nitrates and nitrites that can elevate your risk of cancer, making them a poor choice under any circumstance. Also, charring meat creates AGES (advanced glycation end products) which are very detrimental to our health and can create carcinogens and health problems such as premature aging, diabetes, and arthritis. Chargrilling vegetables, on the other hand, produces no ill side effects if you’re looking for that grilled flavor without the nasty consequences.
It’s still OK to indulge in red meats once in a while, but make a habit out of choosing chicken and fish instead. Your health will thank you.
3. Eat Outside!
And I don’t just mean on your deck!
Plan a picnic to a lake or a nature trail in your area, and choose a spot that requires some walking to get there. By adding a little exercise before your meal, you’ll work up an appetite, and you’ll feel refreshed and ready to enjoy some nice conversation and company while you eat.
Pack healthy foods, enjoy your meal, and cap off the event with another walk back to your car! This provides the perfect framework for developing healthy eating habits. You’re structuring exercise around your eating routine, and you’re learning that healthy foods and a sense of accomplishment earned through your walk are intertwined.
In addition, picnics are fun and relaxing! The health benefits are certainly a welcome bonus, but even without them, I recommend an outdoor family picnic before the end of summer. You’ll love the way it makes you feel, and you’ll appreciate the time spent away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life with the ones you love.
What healthy summer eating tips have you found particularly useful and tasty? I’d love to hear them!
Leave a comment, and we’ll discuss how you get the most out of your summer season.
About Dr. Wayne Andersen
Dr. Wayne Andersen is a NY Times Bestselling Author, Speaker and Leader in creating Optimal Health. To learn more about this topic, or how you can work with Dr. Andersen to create optimal health in your life, email info@DrWayneAndersen.com.