The weather is finally getting warm. It’s the time of year for hiking, biking and barbecues. While the nice weather is a good motivator to move more and be healthy, sadly our eating habits don’t always improve. It’s the season for hot dogs, hamburgers, pasta salad, potato salad, chips and soda. Even so, the truth is that we can all enjoy the summer and cookouts, and eat delicious and healthy food we can feel good about.
Don’t skimp on the veggies.
Often when it comes to barbecues and cookouts, there is a lot of focus on the meat. Vegetables take a back seat when really they can be the star of the meal. Summer is the best time of year for vegetables. Farm stands are open and the produce is fresh and delicious. Skip the starchy potato salad and load up on leafy greens, cucumbers and tomatoes. Make vegetable kabobs, grill some zucchini or corn on the cob.
Buy good quality meat.
While I’m not someone who makes meat very often and I never eat it myself, I do make it sometimes for my loved ones. When I do, I spend the extra money in high quality meat. Far too often the meat people get is loaded with additives, taken from animals loaded with antibiotics and growth hormones. Do yourself and your guests a favor and spend the extra money on high quality meat. Avoid the hot dog; go for salmon or grass fed beef.
If you really want a soda, have one – but just one.
Of all the junk food out there, soda is on the top of my list of things to avoid. It is loaded with sugar and artificial flavors and coloring. A lot of soda is also made with high-fructose corn syrup which is worse than just straight sugar. So if you must have a soda, have one but then switch to water or seltzer.
Fresh fruit is a great dessert.
Strawberries, watermelon, peaches, plums, blueberries, cherries… These are just some of the fresh fruits we can get in the summer. When they’re fresh and ripe they are better then candy.
Offer to bring something.
It’s a lot easier to control what we eat when we make it ourselves. So when you go to a barbecue someone else is hosting you never know what you’re going to get. One thing that you can do is offer to bring something, that way you know there is a least one thing that is going to be good for you.