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5 Tips to Shape Up Your Nutrition Plan This Summer

The start of summer is near – and while that may bring excitement for enjoying the warmer weather, longer days and fun by the beach and pool, it might also mean busier lives because of summer’s frenzied pace.  

If you want to shape up your diet this summer so you have more energy to swim laps with your children or talk into the late evening with your gal pals, here’s what you should do:

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1. Snack On Summer’s Sweetness: Fruits!

Not only are summer’s fresh produce items full of nutrition, but they’re full of natural sweetness, too.  Add summer’s fruits, like strawberries, blueberries, peaches and melon to your menu – they deliver antioxidants and fiber, and work great as part of salads, breakfast bowls and smoothies.  Want to shape up your dessert options?  Grill peaches or pineapple and sprinkle with cinnamon for a yummy (and healthy!) option, or grill strawberries on kebobs and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

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2. Veg Out The Right Way

Nope, I don’t mean lounging on the couch.  Veg out the right way with summer’s fresh vegetables, like greens, green beans, squash, peppers, and snap peas.  From vitamin A to vitamin K, these foods support good health thanks to their vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory capabilities.  So serve raw with a delicious dip like beet hummus or spicy guacamole, add to salads, or pop on the grill for nutritious summer bites.

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3. Nix The Extras

Shaping up for summer energy includes cutting down on the extras that may weigh you down, like too much added sugar and alcohol.  Sure, a little bit here and there may be okay – especially when balanced with whole foods like vegetables, fruits, plant-based or lean proteins, and healthy fats – but if you find yourself turning to these substances often to unwind and relax, it may be a sign you need to reduce them from your diet.

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4. Cool Down To Shape Up

Your freezer can help you have a satisfying summer!  Use it to make ice cubes with fresh herbs and produce to add to your water or unsweetened tea.  Blackberries with basil and ginger, or lemon with cucumber and mint make satiating combinations.

Then, freeze your berries, grapes, sliced bananas and sliced kiwi for pop-able, cool-you-down snacking for whenever you crave something sweet and chilly.

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5. Begin With A Plan (And A Plant) In Mind

Whatever your summer plans may be, make sure you have a food plan in mind to help.  Take time at the beginning of each week to assess: 1) what do I want to eat?, 2) what do I have on hand to eat?, and 3) what do I need to do to eat well?  This might mean that you need to spend some time grocery shopping and meal prepping.

To eat well more often, I often recommend that, when considering each meal and snack, my patients start with a plan by starting with a plant.  If the plant you have on hand is romaine lettuce, perhaps toss it on the grill and serve it with chili-lime shrimp and roasted corn like in this recipe.  Or, if your plants are beans and greens, why not serve them together with some avocado, like in this Southwestern LacinatoKale Salad!

What are your plans for shaping up your summer food habits?  Let me know over on Facebook @YESNutritionLLC!

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