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10 Tips For Having Fun While Eating Healthy This Summer

Ain’t it funny how most folks always think that Memorial Day Weekend is the official start of summer when, actually, the summer season doesn’t kick off until June 20 (or 21, based onhow the summer solstice plays out)? This means that if you’re still trying to get your summer body all the way together, you’ve still got some time because (this year) summer doesn’t end until September 22.


Okay, but what do you do if you want to look oh so very right in your monokini, yet you also want to enjoy some of the best that food has to offer during this time of year, too? If that’s your personal dilemma, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve got 10 tips for how you can have a ball with food, remain healthy, and still have a snatched body in the process. Let’s do this.

1. Try Breakfast Salads in the Morning

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If you grew up hearing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day,more research is revealing that if you skip it altogether, it’s not quite as detrimental to your health as we were led to believe. Still, that doesn’t mean that ifbreakfast is your thing, it doesn’t come with some major benefits. It fuels you for the day. It boosts your metabolism. It can also lower your risks of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. The key is to consume a breakfast that’s as healthy as possible, and two options that are pretty popular right now arebreakfast salads and breakfast toast.

Since a lot of the ingredients that go into both are full of fiber, protein, and essential nutrients, going with a meal that is light and “brunch-able” is a great way to start off your day, no doubt. Check out some easy-to-make breakfast salad recipeshere and delicious breakfast toast oneshere.

2. Make Your Own Smoothies and Popsicles

Speaking of breakfast foods, although breakfast isn’t my favorite meal, I will get down with a smoothie, preferably a homemade one. It’s definitely one of the quickest, easiest, and most convenient ways to get a lot of nutrients into your system while you’re on the go. Plus, if you’re someone who isn’t a big fan of raw fruits and veggies, by combining them into a smoothie, you can get them into your body in a way that is easier to “take in," not to mention the fact that smoothies are great for maintaining gut health and they can even help you to lose weight if that is a summertime mission of yours.

The key is to balance how much sugar you put into them (men only need nine teaspoons a day while we only need six). Oh, and if you’re “smoothie-d out” or you want to try another option, make your own popsicles or slushes. You can put fresh fruits in those as well, and they can help to keep you hydrated while giving you a healthy sweet tooth fix. Check out some summer smoothie recipeshere and DIY popsicle recipeshere.

3. Enjoy All of the “High Water” Foods

When it’s hot outside, you actually need to up your water intake in order to stay well-hydrated. Some health experts say that this means men should consume 15 ½ cups a day while women should have no less than 11 ½ of them.

If water isn’t really “your thing,” one way to still get your fluids in is to eat foods that have a high amount of water content in them. Some of those include watermelon, strawberries, cucumbers, melons, lettuce, tomatoes, and cauliflower — all of which are light and “cool” foods to eat during this time of the year.

4. Have Carbs Before 2 P.M.

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If you can’t see going throughout summer without some ice cream, French fries, or even sushi (rice is high in carbs) — no one says that you have to. The key is 1) to consume high carbs in moderation and 2) try and eat them as early in the day as possible. Since most of us tend to be more active during daytime hours, if you’re worried that some chocolate gelato is going topack on the pounds or cause your blood sugar levels to skyrocket, having it while you’re taking a walk or before your evening workout can make it more of a stress-free delight for you. Science backs it.

5. Support Local Farmers (and Farmers Markets)

Aside from the fact that supporting your local farmers and farmer markets is a fabulous way to financially back your community, there are some health benefits that come from doing it as well. The food is fresher, there is less of a need for preservatives in them (because they aren’t being shipped from state to state), and you don’t have to play so much of a guessing game when it comes to figuring out exactly where your food sources are coming from.

Hmph, let me tell it, a great first or second date is meeting someone at a farmers market early in the day. Then, if things go well, have a picnic with some of the produce that you purchased in a park later that afternoon. Thank me later.

6. Snack Healthy

One of my goddaughters isn’t a big eater; she is a huge snacker, though. If you were raised to believe that is a big-time no-no, honestly, snacking throughout the day has its benefits. It can give you more energy,help to keep you from overdoing it when it’s time to have an actual meal and it can provide you withsome essential nutrients that you might not (automatically) receive at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

The key to snacking well is eating healthy foods.Some of the ones that are great for this time of the year include nuts, berries, hummus, dark chocolate, cheese and crackers, beef jerky, olives,cherries, Greek yogurt, and guacamole (in moderation on that last one; guac can be a bit onthe fatty side).

7. If You Are Vegan or Vegetarian, Watch that Sodium Intake

Most things in our culture are fads;veganism isn’t exempt. However, if you do happen to be a vegan or vegetarian, it does you no good tolook down on (us) meat eaters if your meat substitutes are loaded with sodium, preservatives, and additives. That said, if you plan on putting some meat alternatives on the grill this summer (more on grilling at the end), definitely read the labels on the packages beforehand. Heart disease continues to bethe top killer of Black women, and too much sodium in your system can contribute to that on a few different levels.

8. Have Water with You Cocktails and Mocktails

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Remember how I said a little earlier that remaining hydrated is super important, especially during the summer season? Adding to that, it always trips me out when I read that a whopping 75 percent of Americans aren’t just dehydratedthey are chronically so. And since summer is when a lot of outdoor parties and vacations go down, I think it would be ridiculous of me not to put on record thatalcohol is a diuretic (which means that it definitely has the ability to dehydrate you).

So, if you’re gonna turn up, try and have (at least) one cup of water for every twococktails that you consume. And what if you prefer the non-alcoholic version of cocktails known as mocktails?Sugar has the ability to dehydrate you as well and since many mocktails are loaded with that, the same water rule for cocktails should be applied.

9. Grill Lean Meats

If you do plan on enjoying your fair share of grilled meats over the next few months, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. One, althoughgrilled meat is certainly better for you than, say, frying it,the smoke and carcinogenic compounds that can come from preparing meat in this fashion do have the ability to increase your cancer risk.For the record, doing things like removing the fat, marinating the meat beforehand, lowering the temperature of your grill, and grilling for shorter periods of time can all help to make grilling a healthier experience. So can eating leaner meats becausethey are lower in saturated fats yet they canstill give you the nutrients that you need.

10. You Don’t Have to Go to EVERY Cookout. Lawd. LOL.

Let’s not sit up here and act like one of the best things about summer is going to somebody’s cookout.Problem is, some of the unhealthiest foods (and drinks) are oftentimes served there, from hot dogs and ribs with barbeque sauce to potato salad (with all of that mayo) and sodas. That said, just make sure that if you are invited to more than a few cookouts, either you don’t attend every one or you eat something healthy before you attend. That way, you’ll eat one hamburger instead of three or one rib instead of an entire slab. Feel me?

Now that you know how to do it responsibly — enjoy the taste(s) of summer, y’all!

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Featured image by Getty Images

 

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