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Food Hacks for a Healthy Summer

  • Category: Recipe
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  • Written By: Matt Gougler
Food Hacks for a Healthy Summer

Summer is the season of catching rays, waves, and generally spending as many waking hours as possible outdoors. Summer also is the season in which food frequently takes center stage – and, although many of these edibles are unquestionably yummy – they’re additionally capable of breaking the calorie bank, while simultaneously scoring extremely low on the good-for-your-health meter.

In other words, there’s no shortage of summer eats that one is best advised to avoid. That’s why ATRIO Health Plans is spotlighting several tempting items that should prompt the phrase “no thank you.” On the upside, ATRIO has paired the no-no’s with alternatives that will please both your taste buds and your primary-care physician.

  • Dinosaur-sized drumsticks – Summer is prime time for state fairs, and state fairs are notorious for serving up sumptuous treats that often fall into the bad-choice category. Oversized, deep-fried turkey legs certainly are one such example. In fact, these club-like poultry portions clock in at nearly 1,000 calories a piece!
  • Better choice – Dump the giant drumstick and instead opt for easy-to-grill chicken kabobs. In addition to low-fat, protein-packed chicken chunks, these summer skewers can be accessorized with assorted veggies that up the healthful ante.
  • Carnival cakes – Carnivals – another summer staple – feature foodstuffs that likely will inspire remorse. Funnel cakes decidedly fit this description. About the size of an average dinner plate, these deep-fried, sugar-slathered pastries can cost you nearly 660 and most certainly will not do your body good.
  • Better choice – While funnel cakes earn two thumbs down, a hefty slice of watermelon earns two enthusiastic thumbs up. Containing 92-percent water, this summer fruit not only is an excellent source of hydration, but it’s also a good source of skin-protecting lycopene.
  • Look out for lemonade – On a scorching summer day, a tall, ice-filled glass of lemonade sounds like a best-in-class beverage. While no doubt refreshing, lemonade packs a powerful sugar punch. In fact, a 16-ounce lemonade can run upwards of 250 calories – which is the equivalent of a full-sugared soda.
  • Better choice – Lose the lemonade and instead reach for fruit-flavored water. One option is to squeeze lemon juice into a glass of ice water and mix in stevia to taste. Or, use single-serving, sugar-free drink mixes to flavor your water. Either alternative will rack up – at most – only five calories.
  • Bye-bye burger – Nothing screams summer more loudly than barbecuing burgers in the backyard. Unfortunately, this grilled sandwich – which is usually adorned with an assortment of toppings – can deliver 34 grams of fat and a whopping 780 calories.
  • Better choice – To bring your burger into the 21st century health-wise, swap fatty ground chuck for lean ground turkey or bison. And, by keeping patty portions to four ounces, you’ll grill up burgers that carry a fraction of ground chuck’s calories and fat grams.
  • Summer spud salad – A standard side at summer picnics is time-tested potato salad. In addition to spuds, a central ingredient of said salad is mayonnaise. Unfortunately, merely one cup of this much-loved dish can weigh in at nearly 360 calories, not to mention 20 grams of fat.
  • Better choice – For starters, remove mayonnaise from the potato-salad equation. If you want to retain mayo’s creamy texture, use Greek yogurt as a replacement. If you’re open to switching up the traditional recipe, dress your potato salad with a tangy vinaigrette.

By embracing just a few, simple summer-food hacks, not only will your vital organs thank you, but so too will your swimsuit.