Smart food choices can help you stay slim and healthy all summer long. Farmer’s markets, roadside stands, and your own favorite grocery store can be great sources of healthy foods for summer that taste great too!
We tend to think that summer is a time for more exercise and healthier food choices for everyone. However, a study from Johns Hopkins University showed that children gain weight three times faster during the summer months than during the entire school year, likely attributed to more junk food, more TV and video games than swimming and playing outside.
Here are some tips to help everyone in your family eat well this summer.
Top 10 foods for summer:
- Watermelon – refreshing, tasty, and hydrating; high in vitamins A and C as well as lycopene
- Cucumbers – versatile enough to be eaten alone or in salads and salsas; skin and seeds are rich in nutrients, but the waxes on non-organic cucumbers may contain chemicals
- Pluots – a cross between a plum and an apricot; great source of vitamins A and C; low in fat and sodium and cholesterol-free
- Swiss chard – enjoy fresh or cooked; low in carbs and calories with an abundance of phytonutrients; shown to have benefits for blood sugar regulation
- Eggplant – adds a Mediterranean twist to recipes, as well as fiber and antioxidants; rich in vitamin K as well as other vitamins and minerals
- Tomatoes – lots of health benefits, especially for reducing risks of complications from diabetes and cardiovascular disease; enjoy fresh alone or in salads, or in many cooked recipes
- Summer squash – a “nutritional bargain,” loaded with vitamins and benefits blood sugar response, as well as adding moisture, fiber, and antioxidants to baked goods
- Red snapper – a healthy, low-calorie option for summer grilling; a great source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids
- Green beans – a great low-calorie, low carb vegetable high in fiber; good source of vitamins A, C, and K and antioxidants
- Peppers – nutrient-rich and a great source of vitamins and antioxidants; crisp peppers in a variety of colors are a great addition to salads, grilled meats, and more
Food to avoid (or at least eat in limited amounts):
We all look forward to some of the special treats summer offers, but there are some you will want to avoid due to their high calorie, high-fat content. These include: ice cream sandwiches, fried anything (dough, corn dogs, clams, onion rings), pasta and potato salads.
Stay hydrated – Be sure to stay hydrated, especially if you’re spending extra time outdoors. Water is always best; alcohol and sugary juices, sodas, and other drinks just add calories.
Beware of foodborne illness – Backyard cookouts, picnics, and grabbing a meal or snack from a food truck or outdoor event are a fun part of summer. But take extra precautions to ensure that your foods and beverages don’t end up making you sick from a foodborne illness.
- Wash your hands often – or use hand sanitizer if necessary.
- Use separate plates for raw and cooked foods when grilling.
- Cook foods to a safe internal temperature when grilling.
- Keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold!
Integrity Urgent Care is here for you! If you find yourself or a family member feeling under the weather or you think you might have contracted a summer “bug,” give us a call or stop by your local IUC location today. Our friendly staff is ready to help you get back to enjoying all that summer has to offer!
Baker, J. Top 10 foods you should eat this summer. Diabetic living [Internet]. http://www.diabeticlivingonline.com/food-to-eat/nutrition/top-10-foods-you-should-eat-summer?page=8 . Accessed 31 May 2018.
Foodsafety.gov. Oh, the places you’ll go – with food safety! Foodsafety.gov. 21 May 2018; accessed 4 Jun 2018. https://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/2018/05/graduation-food-safety.html
National Center for Summer Learning. Summertime and weight gain. Johns Hopkins University. https://dst.sp.maricopa.edu/DWG/STPG/JuniorACE/Shared%20Documents/Curriculum/Summer%20and%20Weight%20gain%20Research%20Brief%20FINAL7%2008.pdf Accessed 4 Jun 2018.
Toback, R. 17 Best and worst foods of summer. Health [online]. http://www.health.com/food/17-best-and-worst-foods-of-summer#summer-fare Accessed 4 Jun 2018.