Burgers. Hot dogs. Pasta salad. They're all synonymous with summer cookouts. Hannah Smith, a registered dietitian in our Eastern Region, knows that avoiding unhealthy foods is more difficult in the summer so she offers some healthier alternatives to help you eat right this summer:
- Plan ahead. Avoid going to a fair or festival really hungry and then end up eating a lot of unhealthy foods that are fried or high in refined sugar.
- Bring healthful snacks: things like cut up fruits and veggies, peanut butter dip, cheese and crackers. Plan on eating your favorite festival treat as well. You will want to enjoy yourself and not feel like a ‘cheat day’ is going to derail your healthy eating goals. Plan on what one or two treats you want to enjoy, you can ask for a sample portion or split the item and share with someone else so you don’t overeat.
- If you are attending a party and you don’t know what will be served, you can eat a small meal or snack before you go so you will control your portions. If there are healthy choices likes salad, fruits, vegetables and lean protein like chicken and fish, choose those items. Instead of snacking throughout a party, which makes it hard to monitor how much you are taking in. Make a plate once and commit to not eat additional servings.
- Don’t forget that beverages can also contain a lot of calories from added flavors, sweeteners, creams, etc, and watch the size of shakes, smoothies and other mixed beverages you consume. Depending on the beverage, a medium or large can be 1,500 to 2,000 calories, your recommended calories for an entire day.
- Make a point to enjoy conversations with friends and family. Take part in the activities at your summer parties so don’t find yourself mindlessly snacking the time away. Embrace summertime foods with a plan and enjoy all the season has to offer.