Eat Light & Stay Cool

DSCF7627The temperatures are rising and soon the full heat of summer will be upon us. The summer heat can diminish  your appetite. You may not feel much like eating especially when the heat combines with high humidity, but you still have to eat to maintain your health. Eating light and fresh foods can provide your body with all the minerals, vitamins and other nutrients your body needs to stay healthy without bogging  you down. Fresh fruits and vegetables taste great, won’t weigh heavy in your stomach and you might even lose a little weight too.

Avoid Fatty Foods

During the summer heat  you should eat light meals and limit the size of your portions. Your body creates heat when digesting food and burning calories. You want to get nutrition without making your body work too hard extracting those nutrients. Fats, grease and oils fill you up quickly but can bog you down. Summer is the time when many people grill outdoors. Limit fried foods and avoid too many burgers and processed meats.  Heavy breads, cheeses, pasta and meats can make you feel lethargic. You can make delicious meals on the grill with light fare, such as shrimp, skinless chicken breasts, fish and vegetables.  You don’t have to sacrifice flavor when eating light. Fresh fruits and vegetables are delicious alone, but you can perk up the flavor of your veggies with your favorite spices. Try some light, grilled lemon-pepper fish or coconut shrimp on your barbecue along with some grilled red, green and yellow peppers.  Stir fry is also a delicious way to enjoy vegetables. Chop fresh peppers, broccoli, snow peas, onions, and cabbage. Stir fry lightly to preserve the crisp and retain nutrients. Top some fresh spaghetti squash with the vegetables for a light dish that will fill you up without bogging you down. Take it easy on the soy sauce as it is loaded with sodium. Choose colorful vegetables and fruit for energy and nutrients including antioxidants. Free radicals are a natural result of cell oxidation, but can lead to cell damage. Antioxidants help to remove free radicals from your cells. Berries, including strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are a delicious way to get nutrients and rid your body of free radicals.

Stay Hydrated

Remember to drink plenty of water. Dehydration is dangerous and you are especially susceptible to dehydration during the summer months. Eating fruits, including apples, watermelon, strawberries and fresh peaches are not only rich in nutrients like iron and vitamins including vitamin C, they contain water too. Fresh fruits contain natural sugars that can help boost your energy level too. A delicious way to enjoy a variety of fresh fruits is to make a fruit salad. Slice fresh fruits and mix them together well. You can add a bit of fresh fruit juice, or simply enjoy the fruits in their natural juices. Watermelon is delicious after being chilled in the refrigerator. Keep some slices ready for when you need a boost and a cool, refreshing snack.


Diet Survival Tips for 4th of July Cookouts

Outdoor barbecues are a tradition on Independence Day. Grills will fire up in backyards around the country. Everything from hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks, ribs, smoked sausages, chicken, vegetables and even shrimp and fish are cooked on outdoor grills. Side dishes may include potato salad, cole slaw, pickles and  macaroni salad. Of course, what 4th of July celebration would be complete without apple pie and ice cream? It can be difficult to stay on a diet and avoid fatty foods at a backyard cookout when so many people around you are enjoying the savory open-grilled flavor, and the smell gets your mouth to watering. You can enjoy a delicious backyard barbecue without  regretting it the next day. You can enjoy all the flavor of a 4th of July grilled fare without all the calories and fat.
Photo Credit: Silar CC-BY-SA-3.0
Host your own backyard barbecue celebration where you select the cuts and types of meat and side dishes. Skip the processed meats like hot dogs and ground beef. These meats products are often loaded with preservatives, fats and sodium. Turkey hot dogs and ground lean steak are much better choices. Grill kabobs including white meat chicken or shrimp, mixed vegetables, like peppers, pearl onions and cherry tomatoes. Sea bass, cod and tilapia work well on a grill if you use a little foil and a light vegetable or olive oil. Spritz talapia with fresh lime for a delicious meal. Try some cajun blackening spices and blacken your fish on the grill. 
There are loads of calories, fats and sodium in side dishes and condiments. Condiments including barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, ketchup and ranch salad dressing contain lots of calories and sodium. Offer low-sodium or salt-free alternatives. Use more spices when cooking food on the grill so that condiments are not really necessary. Potato and pasta salads that include mayonnaise may contain as many as 400 calories per serving. Offer a tossed pasta salad using whole grain pasta and a light vinaigrette dressing. Include some diced tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers mixed in with the pasta for extra flavor and a boost of healthy vitamins and minerals. 

Beer and soda often flow freely at backyard barbecues. Offer your guests a variety of flavored sparkling water, lite beer and low-sugar sodas in addition to regular soda and beer. Drink sensibly and in moderation. Drink an 8 ounce glass of water between each alcoholic drink to help you avoid over-indulging and dehydration.