Summer is full of oh-so-satisfying temptations when it comes to food. Whether it’s burgers on the grill, cocktails with friends at a rooftop bar, or festive desserts on the Fourth of July, it can feel like the fun will never end. So how do you stay tough when temptation is heating up? Here are a few tips.
1. Prep, prep, and then prep some more: Packing a cooler with healthy snacks and drinks before heading to the pool or beach can help you prevent unnecessary trips to the snack shack. Sub the umbrella-laden fruity cocktails for bubbly LaCroix in a koozie, and nosh on fresh fruit out of the cooler (it’s even better cold). It might take a bit more prep work, but you’ll save calories and may even get a bicep workout carrying your cooler down the boardwalk.
2. Think lean: When you’re planning your next barbeque, choose leaner meats or seafood to serve your guests. By grilling up chicken, turkey burgers, mahi-mahi or shrimp, you’re still getting tons of flavor without the extra fat and cholesterol of traditional heavy red meats. Be mindful about marinades, they’re often laden with added sugars and fats. Instead, opt for flavor from summer fruits and spices.
3. Host happy hour: Cocktails…they’re sneaky little devils, aren’t they? It’s easy to blow your calorie goal for a meal before the appetizers even arrive. Try hosting a happy hour at home before you head out to your favorite restaurant. You’ll save money, and can whip up some lighter options for your pals. Try one of these 10 skinny margarita recipesbefore your next Mexican meal.
4. Celebrate summer’s bounty: Gardens explode in the summer months, so take advantage of it. Throw some seasonal favorites into your cart—think zucchini, tomato and cucumbers for vegetables, plus fruits like watermelon, blueberries and peaches. Pair those summer classics with new and unique flavors, like watermelon with balsamic vinegar and peaches with basil. Get creative and keep your taste buds on their toes!
5. Salads don’t have to be sad: Sure, a salad in the winter can sometimes sound like a lackluster entree option. But in the heat of the summer, a salad can be a light and cool way to get full and stay full, helping you meet your calorie goals all day. Try different greens—like arugula or spinach—and experiment with new toppings like legumes, nuts, or even those lean leftovers from last night’s barbeque.
6. Guilt-free frozen treats: If you find yourself constantly wanting some after-dinner ice cream, fill your freezer with fun alternatives. Frozen grapes are great multitaskers: they’re refreshing, super sweet, plus full of fiber and water. Blend your favorite fruits together with yogurt and pour the concoction into fun-shaped popsicle molds. Or whip up some “nice cream” to trick even your pickiest guests.
With the longer days and warmer evenings, there’s more time to enjoy the weather, savor your food and enjoy the company of those around you. Do your best to enjoy the summer. What we lovingly refer to as "swimsuit season” doesn’t have to mean months of deprivation. Instead, making simple, smart choices every day will help keep us on our path to greater health.