It’s summer—that amazing time of year when the sun shines beautifully bright but that bright sun also means the days get a little hotter. Heat can hamper a lot of your physical activity and affect your eating habits. Heat can also leave you dehydrated and low on energy.
If you’ve been around us a while, you probably know the healthy eating basics, but you also know it’s not always easy to apply them to daily life. That’s okay! That’s why we focus on making little choices along the way! Here’s a few tips that are easy to implement into your life and survive the sweltering summer this year.
5 little choices for healthier summer.
1. Rev up your Summer Mornings and Metabolism with Iced Coffee and/or Tea
Iced coffee has been known to boost you metabolism, improve your mind, give your body antioxidants as well as be able to beat a host of life-threatening inflammatory diseases. It’s also been shown that the acid levels in cold-brew coffee are significantly less than a hot cup of coffee which is better for your stomach.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money at your local coffee shop, you can brew your own. Here’s how:
Iced Coffee Concentrate
Add 8 ounces of coffee grounds along with 2 cups of water in a large jar. Cover the jar and let the coffee steep in the refrigerator for 12–24 hours. Strain and store. When you’re ready to drink it, add 1/2 cup of cold water to 1/2 cup of cold brew coffee concentrate. Serve with ice and cream, if desired.
Ice Tea is typically made with black, white or green tea, although some herbal teas are also wonderful served over ice but without the caffeine. Iced tea is provides ample amounts of caffeine, polyphenols, catechins, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Iced tea also contains other active components which can improve body metabolism and burn more calories and fat. If you want to lose weight then consuming iced tea (especially green tea) can help. Cold brewed green tea can also be an easy way to boost your metabolism during exercise.
Brew your tea (via hot water or the sun) then place in the fridge with slices of lemon, lemon balm, mint or peach chucks for added flavor and benefits.
2. Enjoy a little fresh fruit!
These days most fruits are available all-year round; however, consuming seasonal foods have their own taste and health benefits. Summer is a great time for fresh fruit. Each type of fruit brings its own unique set of nutrients and benefits to the picnic table. When eaten in moderation, fruit can be a very healthy part of a nutritious diet providing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc. Fruit is generally low in calories and high in fiber, which may help you lose weight.
Here are a few of our favorite summer fruit choices:
Melons are predigested which means our digestive systems barely need to process it when it enters the body. This is because it is so high in enzymes and certain coenzymes. Don’t worry about the fructose (natural sugar) because it leaves the stomach in less than one minute! The rest of the fruit goes directly into the intestinal tract, then moves very quickly through the digestive tract, immediately fortifying and replenishing the body. Those who consume melons regularly say their digestion rapidly improved and they lost weight or their weight stabilized.
Mangos, pineapples, papayas and pomegranates have great anti-inflammatory properties and boost you immune system and are a great blended in a smoothie!
Grapes contain several important nutrients and powerful plant compounds that benefit your health. Although grapes are high in sugar, they have a low glycemic index and may protect against high blood sugar. Pop them in the freezer for a fun cool treat!
Berries are among the healthiest foods you can eat. They are a great source of antioxidants, help fight inflammation and loaded with fiber, which is great for weight loss. Add your favorite berries to your morning yogurt or oatmeal. Instead of reaching for a dessert at a bbq, grab some sweet watermelon to finish up your meal! Watermelon is a great summer fruit, and it also happens to be great for weight loss.
3. Stack Your Sandwiches
I often enjoy sandwiches, especially during the summer months, but I’ve learned how to make sure a simple sandwich does not turn into a diet disaster. Most sandwiches can easily turn unhealthy by adding processed meat, cheese, mayo, etc. However, when you use the right ingredients, you can enjoy a sandwich and all its benefits.
Start with a few slices of sprouted grain bread. Did you know our bodies digest sprouted grains like a vegetable? My favorite is Whole Foods 365 Sprouted Grain bread, but there are a number of other options on the market. You will most likely find it in the frozen food section of your grocery store. I keep mine in the freezer and take out a few slices when I feel like treating myself to a healthy sandwich. If sprouted is not an option, look for a whole grain bread product. My husband love this one.
To slash even more calories and carbs, try a lettuce leaf sandwich. Butter lettuce, romaine, and iceberg all work wonderfully in place of the bread.
The bread spread:
You don’t need to have a dry sandwich! Spread the bread with various choices that fit your taste buds. I use organic unsalted butter, smashed avocado, hummus, almond/sunflower butter or a healthy mayo such as Chosen or Sir Kinsington’s. I am also a huge mustard fan so I tend to spread it on a little thick. 😉
The Meat of the Sandwich:
Choose lean, healthy sources of protein that don’t give your sandwich excess additives, fat and calories. Many traditional pre-packaged luncheon meats are loaded with fat, sodium, and preservatives. Choose healthy proteins like sliced chicken, turkey, or even canned tuna or salmon.
If you can’t slice your own, make sure you chose the deli over the pre-packaged varieties. Just a couple slices of packaged lunch meat have 450 milligrams of sodium which will make your belly bloat as well as give you a host of other issues. Also, make sure you choose a nitrate and nitrite-free deli meat.
Cheese is another easy way to take an otherwise healthy sandwich and make it unhealthy. If you can avoid cheese, then do so. With all the items I stack my sandwich with, I don’t even miss the cheese. If you do want to add cheese, make sure it is organic and as least processed as possible.
Ingredients that are the best things between sliced bread. Here’s a few ideas to help you stack your sandwich:
• Fresh greens (the darker, the better)
• Red onion
• Avocado wedges
• Cucumber slices
• Tomato slices
• Zucchini slices
• Sliced peppers (red is the most nutritious)
• Pickled onions
• Sun-dried tomatoes.
• Water chestnuts
Try open-faced. Skip the second slice of bread so you can stack it even higher with veggies then eat it fork-and-knife style.
4. Spruce up Your Salads
Salads don’t have to be boring! It’s the time of year where fresh produce abounds! Many of summer’s vegetables are brimming with health benefits and can easily be tossed into a salad.
Let’s spruce up your salad for summer.
Start with the base, the lettuce greens. Although iceberg lettuce is an old standby, don’t rely on it alone. Add in some arugula, kale, shredded cabbage and spinach leaves to your salad to increase fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Add in some fresh garden vegetables. Even if you don’t have a garden, the local farmer’s market is full of delicious fresh produce. Try adding in broccoli, radishes, cucumbers, beets, red cabbage, peppers, carrots, onion, mushrooms, radishes, radicchio, jicama, edamame cherry tomatoes and/or snap peas.
Fresh herbs can add an unexpected punch of flavor to any salad! They are a great new addition to salad ingredients. If you have an herb garden, pick whatever is green and leafy and toss it in your salad. Parsley, oregano, cilantro, chives, basil, mint and lemon balm are all great ways to spruce up a salad! Don’t have an outdoor herb garden, try this idea: Indoor herb garden or grow some in a mason jar.
Finish it up by sprinkling the salad with some nuts and seeds then top it off with a lean protein like grilled chicken, fish, or beans.
You can also Spruce up your Salad with Sprouted Grain Croutons!
Don’t want to fuss with making salad dressings? We love Tessemae’s Pantry dressings using High Oleic Sunflower oil (at Walmart or Amazon) instead of unhealthy GMO Soybean or vegetable oils.
Here’s some other healthy salads to choose from.
Remember: Not all salads are healthy, especially at a restaurant. They can be loaded with unhealthy dressing, cheese, and fried chicken. If you order from a restaurant, be sure to ask for grilled chicken/fish and dressing on the side.
5. Happy Hydrating with Tasty Water
Drinking water is extremely important as it help rehydrate your body and helps it function better. It’s important to stay hydrated, especially in the summer. Drinking hydrating beverages will fill you up so you’re less inclined to overeat, and it also keeps your metabolism running clean and smooth, which is an important component of weight loss.
Our bodies need water to survive, especially this time of year, but sometimes plain water can be boring! There are many options to helping you get hydrated! (First up: Ways to Make Water Taste Better (So you’ll drink more of it!))
Coconut water is full of health benefits and has amazing cooling properties. It is loaded with electrolytes and minerals which help keep the body in keeping well hydrated and nourished. Mix with lemon, orange or lime juice for an added flavor and health boost.
The American diet is filled with loads of acidic foods but you can help balance out your pH by drinking alkaline water. You may also consider hydrogen water which can help increase your energy, lose weight and promote overall health by adding hydrogen-rich water to your healthy lifestyle. Learn more. Buy a Hydrogen Alkaline Water Bottle Hydrogen Water Generator on Amazon.
We hope you grabbed a little tid-bit from this post that you can implement into your summer. What are you going to work on? Tell us in the comments below!