Julie Whittington, RD

Healthy tips from a Registered Dietitian

Eating well, minus the fads, this summer

dreamstime_xs_47174640The summer heat is on.  Are you looking for the next best diet to get yourself in the summer-mode?  While fad diets don’t work, eating healthy does.  And, knowing what to eat is key.

So, here is a dietitian-approved sample meal plan for you to test out. No gimmicks, no tricks.  Just real foods and real eating.  Adjust the portions and calories to meet your nutritional needs.  If you don’t know how many calories you should be eating, visit
https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/ to get an estimate.

Breakfast: Skip the sugary cereals, pastries and breakfast meat biscuits.
Instead try proteins like Greek or regular yogurt, smoothies, lowfat cheese, eggs, beans, soy or cows milk, fish and high protein grains like quinoa.

Always have fruit at breakfast – the more variety the better.  Summer is perfect for nutrient powerhouses like berries and melons.

Don’t go low carb – just smart carb.  Fruits, beans, dairy products and quinoa all have carbs.  Balance those with other whole grains like oatmeal as well as other starchy (but non-fried) veggies like potatoes, corn and sweet potatoes.

Sample breakfast: Low fat Greek yogurt with berries & raw oats (or muesli); scrambled eggs/egg whites with sauteed spinach, sliced tomatoes and cantaloupe; or, a fruit smoothie with almond milk, wheat germ and protein powder.

Lunch: Skip the fast food sandwich with fries.  Also ditch the diet soda habit.  Opt for a spinach salad with salmon (canned or fresh) with fruit on the side.  Or, go for a veggie and hummus wrap with a side of fruit.  Even tunafish (made with 1-2 tsp lowfat mayo, lettuce, tomato & onion and a small whole grain pita or whole wheat tortilla) paired with a peach and/or a side of cottage cheese would be perfect.

Dinner: Cut down on to-go meals, frozen tv dinners and all-you-can-eat buffets.  Instead select lean proteins like boneless, skinless poultry, fish and shellfish, tofu, eggs and occasionally even lean red meats.  Vegetarian meals can be some of the most healthful.  Even if you are not vegetarian, consider doing Meatless Mondays or similar.

Sample dinners: Grilled chicken, grilled vegetables and baked sweet potato with cinnamon; brown basmati rice with sauteed vegetables and tofu or feta cheese; or, shrimp tacos with a bean salad and homemade coleslaw (i.e. shredded cabbage with light vinaigrette dressing).

To snack, opt for nuts, dried unsweetened fruit, fresh fruit, raw veggies (like broccoli, cucumbers and carrots) with hummus, whole grain & fiber-rich natural granola bars and/or popcorn, and dairy products like yogurt and cottage cheese.

To drink, cut down on sugary beverages and ones sweetened with artificial chemicals.  Choose water, unsweetened teas and seltzer.  Look for green, red and herbal teas for antioxidant boosts.  You may be able to healthfully consume coffee or alcohol in your meal plan.  Know your personal limits with caffeine and alcohol.

Voila!  The perfect summer meal plan.   Enjoy good food and good health!

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