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Summer Fun and Summer Food!


Devin_D_Parlett

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Alright! Let's get the discussion started.

So, with summer weather comes summer cultures (notice: this is relating to the Northern Hemisphere's summer season):

Most critical to a regularly hot/hum climate is the food you eat or do not eat. Long gone are hot stews/soups, entree pies, and the Fall vegetables often cooked into/with as a hearty winter feast. Enter in the cold soups, cold and fresh vegetables/fruits eaten as is or with limited garnish/preparation, cold cut sandwichs. There are also the hypocritcal choices like pizza and fried seafood and curstations that you seek to enjoy as you depelete calories/water from your body at a faster rate under the hot sun. And finally there is the crux of any summer diet: frozen treats. These include smoothies, shakes, ice cream, frozen yogurt, fruit pops, etc. These are often the highest sugar content and (sometimes) fat content of your summer eating culture, and often the toughest to avoid.

So here are the tips I have for enjoying your summers in style and with sensability:

  1. Incorporate copious amounts of water into your daily diet. Whatever your weight is, half of that should be consumed on a regular basis as liquid water alone. From Eat Right.org there are their top-five hydrating foods. For those that wish not to stray from the blog, they move along as follows:

    1. Crisp lettuce (94% water, and lettuce is also a source of potassium, folate, antioxidants and smaller amounts of vitamins C and K). So build a big salad for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! You can incoporate plenty of proteins like nuts and grilled meats to it, or choose a fruit/cheese route (might I recommend walnuts, blueberries and gorgonzola cheese in yoru salad and a raspberry vinegarrete).
    2. Watermelon (91% water and is a source of vitamins A and C and contains lycopene, fiber and potassium). There so much to do with this! Classically, you can eat it as it is, preferably cubbed/sliced for maximum enjoyment with minimal mess. Blend it up and put in ice cube trays with toothpicks and you got yourself some healthy, true fruit fruity pops. There's watermelon salads and appetizers that include prosciuto and blue cheese. And of course blending it into alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages.
    3. Grapefruit (90% water. Grapefruit is also low in calories and a good source of phytonutrients and vitamin C. Pink and red varieties also provide vitamin A and lycopene) I have very limited experience with this fruit aside form the occasional split in half and eaten with a spoon method. But an avacado and grapefruit salad was mentioned to me, as well as blending it and chilling it like watermelon can be chilled.
    4. Broccoli (89% water. It includes vitamin C, calcium, fiber, iron and beta carotene (which is converted to vitamin A by the body). It's often fun to do an outdoor BBQ during the summer so grilly some broccoli on the side and season it to taste. And for those who are adventurous, mix broccoli with greek yogurt, nuts, and raisins for a unqiue, but simple treat.
    5. Low-fat Milk/Yogurt. Low-fat dairy can add protein, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins A and D to your diet, but guess what? It's also a source of water! Low-fat milk and yogurt rank high on the list of water-rich foods, at 89 percent and 85 percent water, respectively. So drink up, have some cereal or granola mixed in yogurt, and add fruits/nuts to yogurt for further protein. And also, use milk as a primary liquid base for fruit smoothies. A quick, mobile meal keeps you hydrated while on your feet/biking/driving/etc.
    6. Other Fresh Fruits/Veggies: Eat fresh cut celery sticks, strawberries, carrots, blueberries etc. A rich, naturally sweet food will make you feel good while actually being good for you.

    7. Limit, but don't starve yourself from frozen treats like ice cream, certain frozen yogurts, cold cakes, etc.
      1. According to the USDA, About 1.53 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts were produced in the U.S. in 2011. It's a common treat found across the nation in grocery stores, frozen yogurt shops/creameries, gas stations, and don't forget the classic 'ice cream man' that turns quiet kids and even some adults into raving lunatics.
      2. If you're gonna dip for the deep-dish of dairy delight, do so conciously. Slow-churned, low-fat, made with skim milk, and the alternative of frozen yogurt (which is generally lower in fat than standard icecream).
      3. For other frozen treats, like gelato and sorbet, granita, sherbet, etc. Many are often sugar rich, but can have lower calories and fat content than the fudge bar or a triple chocolate moose cone.

[*]Find alternative grilling meats: Pork and Ground Beef are the bannermen of the BBQ, but try something different, even if you spend a few extra bucks. Grilled chicken is another bannermen, but rarely do you put it on a burger or in a bun. But you can! Ground chicken can be readily available, and many grocery stores even sell house-made ground chicken burger patties or chicken sausage. There is also ground turkey, and for those looking for the fix of beef, bison meat is super-low in fat, sweet, and equally delicious. And for those who are looking to limit their meat at the grill, try marinating and grilling portabella mushrooms, zuchinni/squash, onions, and peppers and put it in a burger/wrap. It fills you up, enriches you in vitamins, and is just as scrumptious!

[*]Stray from the standard dip bar: Often you're gonna find the appetizers loaded with high-salt, high-fat choices like cheese/pepperoni and crackers, and high-fried potato chips with cheese/dairy-based dips. If you're body can effectively process it (or if you like it enough to suffer like I do xp) grab a container of hummus and fresh veggies to dip in. If you're gonna have chips, go for corn/tortilla that are low salt, and look out for fresh, refrigerated only salsas (or look online to make your own!) . They don't last as long as the store shelf cooked jar salsa, but they're often lower in salts and the preservatives .

So here are a few of my summer tips for a natural and nutitous daily intake. What do you do to keep your body healthy and well fed during the dog days of summer? Respond below!

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One thing I forgot to mention that I love for breakfast: Cucumber sandwiches. Perhaps tripple decker using one whole, medium-sized cucumber and a little bit of low-salt butter spread (like Smart Balance) and some pepper.

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