Summer weekends at the beach, backyard barbecues, and outdoor dinners are finally here, but these gatherings are often loaded with high-calorie pasta salads, chips, ice cream, cocktails and beers. Enjoy your warm weather favorites while keeping your nutrition in check with the tips below.
1. Drink green tea instead of sweet tea. Green tea has a natural component that helps speed up your metabolism. Skip the box tea and opt for the brew-it-yourself with boiling water and a tea-bag-type tea.
2. Serve seafood. Summer is the ideal time to get the freshest catch from your local grocer. Grill salmon, tuna, lobster, steamer clams, and calamari for a low-calorie, protein-packed lunch or dinner.
3. Don’t skip breakfast. When you wake up in the morning, your body is running on fumes. Eating a breakfast with protein, carbs, and healthy fat kicks your metabolism into high gear and provides energy for the day.
4. Enjoy summer fruits and veggies. It’s easy to sink into a vegetable rut, eating the same boring veggies week after week, but with summer comes fresh choices. Including a mix of in-season colorful veggies in your meals gives your body a nutrient kick.
5. Snack at work. Bring snacks to work and graze throughout the day. When you eat more often—five to six times per day—you’re far less likely to overeat and more likely to stay energized.
6. Grab a sports drink. For workouts lasting longer than 45 minutes, drinking a sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes can help you maintain energy, increase endurance, and stay hydrated.
7. Hydrate often. The summer heat makes you more susceptible to dehydration. Start off your day by drinking two glasses of water and keep drinking at each meal, as well as before and after your workout, to stay hydrated. Carry a water bottle with you as a reminder to stay hydrated.
8. Cook meals together. Involve your friends and family in your healthy lifestyle this summer. A simple way to start: Plan meals, shop, and cook with your spouse and kids.
9. Downsize your dinnerware. We’re not talking about buying new plates, just using the smaller ones in your set for meals like lunch and dinner. Cornell University researchers found that by switching from 12- to 10-inch plates anyone can reduce calorie consumption by 20 to 22 percent and lose nearly two pounds per month. And that’s without changing any other aspect of your diet.
10. Recover with a post-workout shake. After exercising, blend your favorite summer fruits and a scoop of whey protein into a shake to kickstart the muscle-building process, help your body recover from training, and boost your energy levels. Try one of these shake recipes.
11. Pre-plan your meals. You plan your weekend getaways and activities for summer. Why not your meals? Make it easy by preparing all of your food on Sunday so that you have enough meals for the week. The best part: You’ll save money.
12. Eat healthy at the beach. Ice cream stands and high-calorie barbecues are bound to put a damper on your diet, so stay clear of these temptations by being prepared. Pack a cooler with ice, bottled water, sandwiches on whole grain breads, pita chips, hummus, yogurt and lots of fruit. You’ll feel healthier and happier after your day at the beach.
13. Give your house a summer cleaning. You need an environment that reflects your healthy way of living and your summer fitness goals. To start, remove unhealthy foods from your home (so you’re not tempted). While you’re at it, stock your office with fruit, nuts, and other healthy snacks.
14. Build a better burger. Create a healthier burger with whole wheat buns, lean meats, and delicious toppings like pineapple, wasabi, guacamole, and feta cheese.