Eating Healthy Through the SummerBy:  Mary Perry, Director of Zone Labs Clinical Trials

Those of us in New England have been ready to shed our winter clothes for some time, and the recent temperatures Memorial Day Weekend were a great way to kick off the summer season.  Even though we still have a few more weeks until the “official” start of summer, it’s a good time to share some tips so that you and your family can enjoy the season without putting on extra pounds.

Bring Your Activity Outdoors:  Say goodbye to your stationary bikes and treadmills (not forever, of course!) and take advantage of hiking, biking or running outdoors.  Find something you enjoy doing whether it’s walking, swimming, canoeing, or kayaking and get some fresh air and a little Vitamin D too.  Remember, if it feels like a chore, you’ll be less likely to stick with it so recruit your friends and get out there!

Summer Produce:  Go strawberry, blueberry, or peach picking.  If that isn’t your cup of tea, take advantage of the wide availability of summer produce at your local grocer or farmers’ market.  Fruits and veggies are plentiful this time of year and can be enjoyed on their own, in salads or grilled.  Reach for those first at picnics or BBQs as they’ll fill you up so you’ll have less room for more calorie-laden foods.

Stick to Routines:  Even though you’re on vacation, try to stick to your usual eating patterns as much as possible.  This way you can stay on course with your healthy behaviors and leave a little room for an indulgence later.

Bring Snacks With You:  If you’re taking a road trip and have a far distance to travel, bring a cooler and fill it with lots of snacks and drinks so you don’t have to rely on convenience stores or fast-food along the way.  Pack low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, applesauce, nuts, trail mix, cut-up vegetables, or a Zone Bar.  If you’re flying, pack dried snacks with you and grab a bottle or two of water for the flight so you can stay hydrated.  If you’re staying in a hotel, find out if you have a refrigerator in your room and a store within walking distance so you can have healthier options on hand.

Stay Hydrated:  Being in the sun all day can definitely zap your energy, making you want to reach for the chips and salty snacks, which will just dehydrate you further.  Drink lots of water when you know you’ll be in the sun and pack snacks in the cooler for beach days.  Remember, fruits and vegetables also contain water so pack some watermelon or cucumbers and dip to have a refreshing snack, and if you need a little salt, bring some nuts or cut-up cheese to go with it.  Just be mindful of your portions.

Liquid Calories Count Too:  Alcoholic beverages, coffee drinks, juices, and smoothies can seem quite refreshing in hot weather, but they can definitely add up on the calorie front.  If consuming these drinks, remember moderation is key.  Stick with light beers, wines, and spirits and avoid alcoholic beverages mixed with juices and syrups.  With caffeinated beverages stick with low-fat milk, choose the smallest size, hold the whip cream and limit the flavor shots.  Cut juices in half with water or seltzer.

Allow Yourself A Few Indulgences:  Remember, if you can follow the above tips 80% of the time, the other 20% you can indulge in some guilty pleasures.  Just remember to keep the indulgences to one meal and don’t use it as an excuse to get completely off track.  Take advantage of some of the local cuisine from your travels and savor the experience. After all, it’s summer!

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