It’s summer time and the living is easy…. Or should I say the eating is easy. This is the time of year when eating clean can actually get harder with incessant BBQ’s, beach time and travel; but it doesn’t have to. Yes, let’s admit that you will enjoy your fair share of ice cream, fruity cocktails, barbecued ribs and potato salad. So how do you have fun without sacrificing your waistline?
Always stay true to the 80/20 rule. This means, eat well 80% of the time, and 20% of the time have what you like in moderation. This can work even for the most avid socializer, since you will not be party-eating 24 days out of 30 (I hope). So on the days you are not at an event, eat really well. This means fresh veggies and fruits, lean proteins and healthy snacks. This will give you the leeway you need when you do want to indulge.
So here are a few suggestions for eating lean and keeping you on track when you are not socializing.
To keep things simple in the summer, eat seasonally. Replace those heavy carbs like pasta and bread with lighter options like spaghetti squash and whole wheat pita chips. Include lots of salads and grilled veggies; everything tastes better over a bed of lettuce when the temperatures start to soar. In fact, make lettuce your new bread at lunch. Instead of a heavy sandwich, stuff lettuce leaves with healthy fillings.
Make all desserts and snacks fruit. Remember, you’re saving the big indulgences for the occasional splurge with friends.
Instead of heavy pasta or potato salads, opt for chopped veggies and beans with a zesty vinaigrette dressing. These can be made ahead of time and added to meals all week.
Don’t forget soups— cold! This is a great way to get in some added fiber. There are so many delicious cold soup recipes like gazpacho and creamy cucumber. These are quick to make and travel easily in a thermos to work or the beach.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated. Water is where it’s at. In fact, add an additional glass or two to your day to keep your energy levels high and your appetite in check. When you are looking for an occasional fun drink without the alcohol, try seltzer water with a splash of pomegranate or cranberry juice and a twist of lime. Voila!
Favor lean proteins like chicken and fish. These are easy to marinate in the morning and throw on the grill at night.
And don’t forget to get out and move! This is a great time to take your workout outside. Walk, run swim, bike— even yoga on the beach takes on a whole new meaning. Remember, exercise is the great equalizer, so keep it going strong straight through to September.
And last, but most importantly, enjoy your summer. It’s good to be alive!