Healthy Eating in the Summer

We know that summer’s the perfect time to head outdoors and get some fun in the sun, but did you know it’s also the perfect time to switch up your diet? Because we’re outdoors more often in the summer, there’s more risk of health issues like dehydration, skin irritations, and vitamin deficiencies. This is where healthy summer food choices come in.  It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy tasty summer barbecues and desserts. Just keep in mind all of the choices that you have with fresh local food. With this post, we’ll share some great food essentials that’ll keep you looking and feeling healthy throughout the summer. If you haven’t already, read our earlier post on the impact of seasons on what we eat. Now let’s get to some healthy eating!

Healthy Eating in the Summer

The Good Options for Healthy Eating

For summer, lots of fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables are always good options to constantly have in your diet. Even though there should be a focus on eating healthy for the summer, there are lots of options that are easy to make (or eat straight away). You won’t need to loose out on the acitvities in the summer. Let’s take a closer look at some of these options.

What’s in Season in the Summer

As summer hits, things kick into high gear with seemingly unending produce options. Stone fruits like peaches, plums, apricots and later nectarines burst onto the scene. Several types of berries also arrive this time of year. This is the perfect opportunity for crumbles, preserves and freezing. Melons are now in full bloom, begging to be soaked in summery sangrias, wrapped in prosciutto and added to salads. And early pears and apples make their way onto the scene in late August, rounding out fruit season. Vegetables like homegrown corn, peppers, tomatoes, and zuchinni are now in their prime. It’s also the start of leek and eggplant season in August.

Let’s Look at Some Other Food Categories

Meats: We’re very much in barbecue and grilling season. As we kick off those summer barbecue parties, it’s important to remember that whether you’re a fan of Chicken, Beef, Pork, or Seafood. There are lots of healthy options out there that are delicious and easy on your wallet. To start, grilling your meats is certainly a healthy way to go because you aren’t submerging your meats in so much oil like some other preparation methods. Grilling also has other health benefits…when done properly (i.e. using lean meats and marinating before grilling).

Yogurts: Arguably one of the most healthy and slimming foods around. Yogurt is a fun addition to any meal as a dessert or can be enjoyed as a snack. It’s important to keep in mind that just because yogurts are famous for being packed with probiotics, which stimulates healthy digestion, it doesn’t mean all of them are created equal. As a consumer, it’s essential to be alert and wary of products that have added sugars and unnecessary additives. One alternative is to try unsweetened yogurts and make it sweeter with natural additives like fruit. This will ensure you’re not consuming more processed sugar that doesn’t do any good for your body. Additional options are to try homemade yogurt recipes so you’re fully in control of the kinds of ingredients you put in.

The Not So Good (For Healthy Eating)

Alright then! We’ve given you the quick run-through of the good stuff that you can eat to keep your body healthy through the summer (and possibly year-round). Now it’s time to list the not-so-good stuff that will have you feeling sluggish, bloated, and could leave you at risk of blood sugar spikes, heart disease, and skin issues (acne).

Greasy & Fried Foods: This one is fairly obvious but we’ll go ahead and explain. Foods that are oily are usually filled with a lot of calories for small servings. This means that the more you eat these types of foods, the more you put yourself at risk of body weight increases and other medical conditions. Things such as high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. In addition, fried foods also take longer to digest and make the body feel sluggish. Also, just because you’re adopting a healthier diet for the summer doesn’t mean oil should be completely eliminated from the diet. We suggest healthy oils with less saturated fats like Sunflower, Olive and Canola are necessary for a balanced diet.

Caffeine: This is definitely a tough one. Canadians love our caffeine and coffee so it certainly won’t be an easy task laying off the caffeine this summer. However, caffeine consumption generates excessive heat in our bodies which isn’t the best feeling to have in the scorching summer heat. For those of us who find it hard to drop the coffee and caffeinated drinks, how about swapping those drinks for iced teas, green teas, or freshly squeezed lemonades for a cool and refreshing summer feeling? That’s not all, these alternatives also help boost productivity.

In Conclusion

For many people, summer is the best season of the year! Not just because of the bright and longer days, but also because many people will get a chance to enjoy the beauty of nature. A lot of tasty fruits and vegetables are also in season for us to enjoy. And we’ve just discussed all of the healthy eating options – and there’s lots! We recommend checking out what we have available; come and see us, Hilltop Acres Poultry, and try some of our locally grown products.

As we enjoy the weather we should strongly consider what we fuel our bodies with so that we can look forward to the colder months with good health. The key is knowing what to eat and what to avoid. This means considering what you’re dressing your foods with, and opting for organic options whenever possible. By taking these little steps, you’d be surprised at how much better your body ends up feeling while enjoying tasty foods. Next time family and friends come over for a barbecue, swap the traditional burgers and hot dogs, with grilled chicken or some fresh fish. These tasty food options have more health benefits than traditional hamburgers or hot dogs and will leave your insides feeling more comfortable in the long run.

Becasue You Asked…What’s Healthy and in Season in Fall

We end our big season on a high note with pumpkin, leeks, eggplant, brussel sprouts, cranberries, crabapples and the continuation from August of muskmelon and grapes. We begin to crave in-season apples and pears — and as cool weather approaches, so does the need for warmer dishes. Back indoors, get set for roasting, holiday feasting and all of the apple desserts.

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