Summer is finally here, the sun is shining, the grill is cooking, and you have things to do and places to go! There is no better time than summer to eat healthy, whole, fresh foods. Many people grow their own food in their backyard, and if this isn’t an option for you there are farmer’s markets popping up everywhere you go.
Bringing a picnic basket with you whether you are spending the day at the beach or taking the family for a hike is a great way to stay on track and choose healthy food options, not to mention a savings to your wallet. What should you pack in your picnic basket? It’s easy to create healthy and delicious foods with fruits and vegetables. Let’s start with snacks and appetizers. You can pack a variety of crisp, raw veggies, paired with a nutritious dip such as hummus, guacamole, salsa, or yogurt mixed with herbs and spices. For those that like to have a cracker or crisp to go with their dip, there are many whole-grain options available.
A quick and easy option for a main dish would be to pick up a roasted chicken. If you have time, another option would be to make sandwich wraps stuffed with lean meat, veggies and light dressing or salsa. These are easy to eat and transport. For a side salad you could break free from the traditional options and try one made with brown rice, whole-wheat couscous, quinoa or beans. Choose whole grain whenever you can and try to limit white and refined starches and breads.
Staying hydrated year-round is key, but especially in the summer as temperatures rise. The good news—eating fruits and vegetables counts toward your daily fluid intake and is a great way to help you stay hydrated. Try to be as colorful as possible when choosing your produce. Orange and red fruits will help protect your skin from the sun with beta-carotene. If you want to pack something other than just water to drink you can try making homemade “soda” by mixing 1⁄4 cup of 100% fruit juice with 8 ounces of seltzer or sparkling water.
Finally, enjoy being outdoors and stay active. Find what you love to do and move your body, whether it is hiking, tossing a Frisbee or a ball, canoeing, or just a fun family game.
Submitted by: Shelly Hatch, Webster Wellness Fitness Instructor, Webster Health Center
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