Instead of lounging on the sofa watching summer reruns and devouring a bag of chips, why not take advantage of the warm weather and seasonal fruits and veggies?
Amy Jamieson-Petonic, MEd, RD, CSSD, Director of Wellness Coaching at Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, shares her top summer tips for eating healthfully, boosting energy and burning calories without even trying.
- Get wet. Nothing’s more refreshing than a cool dip in the pool on a hot day. Be sure to apply sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes before going outside.
- Meet a farmer. Picking strawberries or blueberries is a great way to spend time with friends and family. Then use the fresh fruit to add antioxidants to a salad.
- Looking for relaxation? Head outside to a shady tree with your yoga mat or towel, and try some deep breathing. This will help you keep your mind focused and on task.
- Pedal power! Go for a bike ride. Reinforce the habit of making physical activity an important part of every day.
- Quench your thirst. With the warmer weather comes a higher risk of heat-related illness, so remember to stay hydrated. To make your beverage special, add strawberries to iced green tea or whip up a smoothie with mango and pineapple.
- Brush your teeth. After eating, brush your teeth right away. Research shows that this will reduce your late-night snacking and help you control your weight.
And when you do find yourself craving a snack, “eat fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, and try to avoid processed foods,” says Ms. Jamieson-Petonic.
- For a healthy twist, try sweet potato hummus with veggies instead of chips and dip — you’ll get some vitamin A from the hummus.
- Have a loaded veggie burger instead of a hamburger or bratwurst. Even with the works, it will have much less fat and fewer calories.
- Eat grilled fruits such as pineapples and bananas instead of cookies, cakes and pies.
- In place of potato salad, try whole-grain pasta salad with veggies, which will provide energy, vitamins and minerals. Pasta salad also has much less fat and fewer calories than the potato salad.
- Drink unsweetened green tea instead of sugar-sweetened tea. Green tea provides antioxidants and cancer-fighting chemicals, unlike the sugary tea, which can increase inflammation and your risk of heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.
“Staying active, keeping your brain focused and making healthy food choices will help keep your energy levels high all season long,” says Ms. Jamieson-Petonic.