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Health Minute: Healthy Summer Eating

By: Claude

Switch up some of your favorite summertime dishes with some healthier alternatives. Avni Jain, MD, family medicine physician with Adventist Medical Group and medical director for CoreLife Adventist HealthCare, shares some ideas to get you started on a healthy summer.


What are some ways we can make our summer eating healthier?

It can be hard to make healthy food choices during the summer. Traditional foods, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad and chips have high levels of sodium and fat, which can cause an increase in high blood pressure and other health conditions. Trying a variety of healthy substitutions can create a new family favorite.

· Proteins – Choose lean cuts of beef, poultry or fish. Make ground turkey or chicken burgers. Turkey burgers can be as lean as 99 % fat-free!

· Veggies – Baste and roast vegetables such as red peppers, corn, eggplant, summer squash, sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms or onions with olive oil and season with herbs. You can even make a kabab out of it.

· Try mayo-less salads – Instead of potato salad, try an avocado salad. Avocados contain heart-healthy fats and are packed with vitamins and minerals. Cube avocados and toss with vinaigrette, fresh herbs, capers, sliced green onions and roasted pine nuts.

What about desserts?

Try some of these tasty and nutritious dessert alternatives.

· Cook fruit kabobs by slicing pineapples or peach halves and place on low heat on the grill until the fruit is hot and slightly golden.

· Marinate strawberries in balsamic vinegar for 30 minutes, toss in fresh mint and serve for a refreshing savory dessert.

· Grill watermelon for 30 seconds on each side to bring out unique flavors.

What are some other quick tips we can try?

· Substitute soda with sparkling water with a dash of 100 percent fruit juice.

· Replace fried chips with veggie chips like thinly sliced Jicama, carrot coins, zucchini and cucumber. Serve with hummus.

· Choose whole wheat pasta or buns instead of enriched.

· Try frozen yogurt instead of ice cream.


What other summer health tips do you have?

· Don’t forget to wear sunscreen. At least SPF 30.

· Drink plenty of water.

· Stay cool and avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day- around 12-2 p.m.

· If you like to exercise outside, try early mornings or early evenings to avoid the heat.

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