Sizing up summertime eating

July 21, 2017

Sizing up summertime eating

COMMENTARY by
Scott E. Renshaw – IU Health Physicians – University Outpatient

From farmers markets and u-pick berry patches to in-season fruits and vegetables at the local grocery store, summer makes healthy eating easier. Warm weather also encourages eating lighter, which combined with daily exercise can help improve health and control weight. Here are some ways to be sure you’re taking advantage of summer’s nutritional opportunities, as well as some seasonal foods that could derail your good intentions.

Pack the fridge with fruits and vegetables. Not only do fresh fruits and vegetables taste good, they’re also loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients that when eaten regularly can improve blood pressure, keep your heart healthy and protect against cancer and stroke. Tomatoes can help meet your daily requirement of both vitamins A and C, and bell peppers are low in calories and also loaded with vitamin C. Stock up on all varieties of berries, which are rich in nutrients and fiber.

Rethink your grill choices. While burgers, steak and ribs are summertime grill favorites, these meats contain large amounts of calories and fat. Eat a cheeseburger, and you can add about 750 calories and 45 grams of fat to your daily intake. A 20-ounce T-bone has more than 1,500 calories and a whopping 124 grams of fat. Hold the hot dogs too. They are high in calories, fat and sodium (1,250 milligrams of sodium in one hot dog). Opt for leaner protein, such as skinless chicken breasts, pork tenderloin or fish. Grilling vegetables is also a healthy option.

Be selective with sides. If potato salad and coleslaw are your summer staples, substitute mayonnaise with light or reduced calorie versions, or mix mayo with low-fat yogurt, light sour cream or chicken stock. Look for recipes that include fresh fruits or vegetables, which are lower in calories and add fiber and nutrients.

Cool it with dessert. Trade high-calorie ice cream and milk shakes for less fattening frozen treats like sherbet, fudge bars and fruit bars, which have just 150 calories per serving.

Reading nutrition labels and keeping track of what you eat every day can help you make good food choices year-round. If you want to eat healthier or need weight management tips, talk to your primary care provider for advice and helpful resources.

Scott Renshaw, MD, specializes in family medicine. He is a guest columnist located at IU Health Physicians – University Outpatient and can be reached by calling the office at 317.944.2167. For more health information, subscribe to Strength in You at iuhealth.org/StrengthInYou

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