As summer progresses, you’ll notice brighter colors and leafier greens in your grocery store and local farmers market. The abundance of fresh fruits and veggies makes it a great time to try new food options. And you may decide to make those options part of your diet long after the season is over!
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain energy or improve your overall wellness, try these healthy changes to take full advantage of the summer options popping up in your grocery store.
Explore carb alternatives like fresh zucchini.
Zucchini is low-calorie, fat-free, rich in vitamin C and stays in season until early fall in some areas.
It’s also extremely versatile and can replace some less healthy carbs, improving blood sugar levels and energy.
- Replace the high-carb pasta in your favorite dishes with zucchini noodles--also called “zoodles”. Get them in the grocery store pre-made, or buy a “zoodle” maker.
- Try chopping it into fine pieces and baking into a pizza crust.
Add fruit and herbs to your water.
There are plenty of recipes out there for fruit pairings to liven up those eight glasses per day.
- Add berries for extra vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants.
- Add mint and lemon for citric acid that helps with digestion.
Get out and get grilling!
Nothing screams “summer” like outdoor grilling. Using leaner proteins is the key to keeping it healthy.
- Choose chicken and fish instead of red meats like steak and pork, which have more saturated fat and can raise blood cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease.
- The American Heart Association recommends eating up to eight ounces of fish each week. One serving is three ounces, or about the size of a deck of cards.1
- Don’t forget to throw some veggies on the grill--like zucchini and asparagus--to include some antioxidants in your meal.
Snack on mini-servings of fruits and veggies.
For many people, summer means more free time and traveling, which can lead to over-snacking, weight gain and low energy. Carrying smaller versions of your favorite fruits and veggies will help you avoid reaching for sodium-rich, sugary snacks.
- Try mini bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and berries like strawberries. All are in season during the summer.
- Red bell peppers are especially high in antioxidants, packing 317% of your daily vitamin C, which supports skin health and may have anti-aging benefits.2
- Snacking on fruits and veggies also increases your fiber intake and will keep you full longer.
- Because summer produce usually has higher water content, these snacks will also help keep you hydrated.
Try lighter versions of your favorite summer recipes.
You don’t have to skip the potato salad or the cole slaw at the family cookout. Just edit the recipe to make it lighter.
- Try using a mayonnaise substitute--like Italian dressing for pasta salad and potato salad, or mashed avocado for chicken salad.
- Avoiding mayo will remove some unhealthy fats from your diet.
QualChoice Can Help
For help with improving your diet or other well-being goals, call 501.228.7111 or 800.235.7111 and ask to speak to a QCARE Health Coach.*
*Programs vary by group and benefit plan. Check with your health plan administrator to see if QCARE benefits are included with your plan.