Picnics, parties, barbecues, ice cream stands — they’re all summer staples and all ways to derail your healthful eating plan. Three area experts offered tips on how you can eat right this summer
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
• “A lot of it is controlling the amount. I’m not someone to say you have to cut out ice cream the rest of your life. If you want it, have some but control the amount. And consider you’re adding in however many calories. A banana split may need to be divided.
• “Have a pasta salad and maybe a tossed salad at the picnic. Don’t have it all be the pasta salad. You still have a balanced meal.
• “Watermelon is a popular fruit to have in the summer. It is refreshing.
• “Eat real food the best you can. Try not to eat from boxes and bags.
• “Eat more foods that don’t have labels telling what’s in it. Stay with real, whole foods 90% of the time, eat the best you can. When you go out, you can enjoy it but don’t go off the deep end. Eat because you need to survive, but food can be a treat sometimes.
• “Red meat has a tremendous amount of nutrients and minerals we need that we can’t get anywhere else. We recommend 90% lean/10% fat red meat. Bison, elk, venison and grass-finished beef are lean red meats.
• “Try not to go overboard, and go into an event with a plan. If you know there will be cake and side dishes, maybe stay away from the chips and dip and have a slice of cake at the end. If you go out to a steakhouse, you can say no to the bread because you know you won’t control yourself and wait until the steak.
• “If you’re eating out, save half the meal for your lunch the next day.
• “If you hate prepping food, make more for lunch the next day.”
John Mossotti, bachelor’s in human performance and health promotion, owner Elite Personal Fitness in Camillus
• “If you’re busy, pack snacks in a cooler for easy grab-and-go, like fruit, cheese sticks, cut-up veggies, hummus and chips, Greek yogurt, protein bars, snack packs and water.
• “When it’s too hot to cook, cook out on the grill, or for no cooking, serve a green salad with tuna or cheese, hummus and veggies with pita bread, caprese salad.
• “On vacations, try to have healthy options when eating out or pack coolers to take to water parks or when camping.
• “At an ice cream stand, try a frozen yogurt with fruit, make a healthy smoothie instead, or just go for a small sample size of a flavor you like for a good portion size.”
Laurel Sterling, registered dietitian and nutritionist and educator at Carlson Laboratories
• “Try to stick with a schedule and not skipping meals.
• “Focus on fresh produce in the summer months.
• “Visit farmers’ markets. That’s a great way to get what’s local and incorporate more healthy eating.
• “When people are on vacation and they figure they’ll indulge a little more, but go with grilled food and try to balance those plates with some things that aren’t deep fried. Order the vegetable of the day. Ask for things on the side so you’re not loading up with higher fat toppings. On vacation, you may be more active. Plan a walk.
• “Pack some healthier snacks, like hummus and pretzels or guacamole and vegetables or protein packs with nuts and fruit.
• “Be aware of added sugars in drinks and opt for spritzers, club soda and less sweet drinks. Use lemon, lime or a splash of juice in water. Unsweetened iced tea is a good thirst quencher. Slushies may be refreshing but you waste those calories for nothing. Make a fruit and veggie smoothie; it’s quick and easy if you’re on the go or traveling, especially when hot.
Julie Mellen SUNY Upstate dietitian Nutrition Counseling & Perinatal Center