You can significantly reduce your intake of calories and maintain control over your health with some simple changes to some of your favorite summertime foods. You’ll gain peace of mind knowing you can enjoy all the fun summer has to offer without depriving yourself of great food along the way.
“With a little bit of planning and some simple education, people can prepare popular summer foods that are both healthy and delicious,” says Mindy Probst Crockett, RDN, CD, a dietitian who educates patients at Utah Valley Hospital. “I always encourage my patients to review nutrition information as they prepare meals and consider substitutions in place of high-calorie ingredients.”
RELATED: More recipes for healthy meals
Breakfast: Smoothies worth celebrating
Cold cereal for breakfast is terribly convenient. While some cereals have great sources of whole grains and fiber, other boxed cereals out there can lead to a nutrition imbalance with an overload of sugar and serving sizes that don’t match your current practice. If you ever want to get discouraged, measure the amount of cereal you typically pour in one breakfast bowl and compare it to the serving size on the side of the box. If you’re like most, you’re likely doubling – or more – the listed serving size. With sugar-rich cereals, you’re likely getting less of the filling carbohydrates that help you feel satisfied.
Instead of sugar-packed cold cereal, a healthy breakfast smoothie with added protein can get you through the morning with no problem. With a good blender, a protein source you enjoy, and some summer fruits, you can have a smoothie you won’t have to plug your nose to drink.
Healthy Breakfast Smoothie Recipe
Start with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (30 kcal), then add a frozen banana (90 kcal), ½ cup Greek yogurt (100 kcal) (or 3 T. vanilla protein powder (170 kcal)), ½ cup strawberries (25 kcal) and ½ cup blueberries (42 kcal). You end up with a tasty breakfast with a healthy balance of fats, proteins and carbs at about 290 calories.
Barbecuing: Get giddy about grilling
The barbecue is a great resource to forming healthy eating habits. Some of the healthiest foods – from salmon and summer squash to marinated chicken or steak kebabs – are arguably best prepped on a backyard grill. Get creative with delicious spices and marinades you can easily use in place of too much cheese or meat that’s too high in fat content. On your choice of sides, instead of piling chips high on your plate (264 kcal) opt for cubed honeydew or cantaloupe (60 kcal).
Dessert: Satisfyingly simple
Although a big bowl of ice cream (500-750 kcal) on a warm summer night may be cause for taste-bud celebration, indulging too often may lead to regret on the path to a healthier you. Instead, a bowl of ripened, halved strawberries with whipped cream (162 kcal) can keep you feeling satisfied and guilt-free.
Enjoying great food is a must during summer celebrations. By focusing on these and other healthy food options, you’re more likely to feel better, inside and out, all summer long.
* Nutrition information gathered from USDA.gov