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Life in Motion

Getting the Most Out of Summertime Nutrition

Health & Prevention

The summer, along with vacations and time off, brings many temptations like barbeques, ice cream, and sugary drinks. During the summer, you may be on vacation or your schedule may not be as rigid as it is during the rest of the year, which can make it hard to stick to healthy eating habits. While it’s certainly ok to indulge once in a while, it’s important not to completely forgo healthy eating, even while in vacation mode. Luckily the summer is a season that offers many nutritious foods.

Here, NEBH dietitians suggest a few summertime foods you can eat and drink to stay healthy.

Beverages:
Staying well hydrated is crucial for good health and drinking water is necessary to keep the body functioning. This is important during the summer as it is essential to consume more fluids to counteract higher humidity and warmer temperatures.  To stay hydrated drink water and replenish liquids during activities. If you do not like plain water, try sparking water, water with fruit slices or unsweetened ice tea.

Foods:
Fresh fruit – blueberries, cherries, grapes, melons, nectarines, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon and grapefruit are low in calories, sodium and fat. They provide essential nutrients for your health and maintenance for your body and when eaten can help to reduce the risk of some diseases.

Fresh vegetables are another food that can be enjoyed. For example try, beets, bell peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, snap peas, tomatoes, summer squash and zucchini. Vegetables contain many nutrients such as vitamin A and C, dietary fiber and potassium. There are several health benefits to eating vegetables as part of your overall diet, including lowering your risk of heart disease.

Preparing and enjoying these beverages and foods:

You can make kabobs with fresh fruit or grilled with vegetables. Entrée salads can be topped with healthy choices such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, or lean proteins. Try seafood such as fresh fish, shrimp, scallops, or oysters – not fried!

At a cook-out substitute turkey, veggie, or salmon burgers for beef burgers; throw some vegetable kabobs on the grill; try a whole grain baked chip or popcorn instead of regular potato chips; make watermelon your sweet treat, and reach for an unsweetened iced tea or water to stay hydrated.

At the beach, fresh fruits and vegetables make easy and healthy snacks. Make a trail mix with nuts, popcorn, and coconut flakes that will keep you satisfied until dinner.

The key is everything in moderation – for example, ice cream is a common summer treat and can be part of balanced diet when enjoyed about once per week. Skip the sundaes and go for a small soft serve cone or a single scoop. At some places, the kiddie size may be the perfect portion! Have a sweet tooth? Make a low-sugar fresh fruit crisp with a light nut and oatmeal topping.

By choosing the right foods to add to your daily diet you can still enjoy the foods summer has to offer while keeping your nutrition in check.

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