Quick guide for smart summer eating

July 1, 2011

Summer means many things to many people, but the general consensus is long, hot days spent outdoors surrounded by family, friends and food.

Unfortunately, getting out of the house – and out of your regular routine – often paves the way for poor food choices. Whether you find yourself basking by the pool or trekking through your favorite amusement park, there are some quick, easy tips to keep you eating healthy this summer.

“Of course, starting out with the idea of bringing your own food from home to do all of these activities is the best way to control what you eat, how much you eat and how much you spend,” says Jessica Anderson, RD, LD, at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Coastal Bend Health Education Center.

And some of Anderson’s best advice for summer snacking?

  • Pool – Dried fruit, trail mix, granola bars and whole grain cereals can hold up in the heat and are easily transported in your favorite tote bag alongside your towel and sunscreen.
  • Beach – Don’t wait to pick up your snacks at the gas station’s convenience store on the way out to the island. Stock your ice chest with precut fruits and veggies that make for great snacks and help you beat the heat. String cheese and whole grain crackers with peanut butter are also good alternatives to chips and cookies.
  • Amusement park Amusement parks can be tricky with temptations like cotton candy, nachos and ice cream on every corner. Sharing an indulgent item with others in your group and choosing grilled options over fried can help. Check ahead of time to see if the park allows you to bring in your own snacks, and take advantage of those that do.
  • Grill – Steer clear of hot dogs, bratwursts and polish sausages ,which are a big source of unhealthy fat. Instead, opt for lean hamburgers, turkey dogs or chicken, minus the skin. Also a variety of vegetables can be grilled, as well as some fruits such as pineapples and peaches.

“No matter where you may find yourself this summer, being out in the sun requires extra water,” Anderson says. “If we don’t keep ourselves hydrated, then dehydration can be mistaken for hunger. We often feel hungry and feed ourselves when all we really need is water.”

— Marketing & Communications