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5 Tips for Healthy Summer Eating

July 27, 2014
Dr. Nancy C. Lee

Happy family standing around a grillYou know the healthy eating basics, but you also know it's not always easy to apply them to daily life. That's okay! Focus on making small changes. Here are five smart, simple tips for healthier eating this summer. Think one of these changes will work for you? Tell me in the comments!

  1. Work more veggies into your diet. I like adding avocado to my sandwiches. Or the next time you're cooking fish, meat, or poultry, try this: sauté some peppers, onion, garlic, and tomatoes to serve as the topping. Not only will it be packed with flavor, but your portion size will be bigger without too many additional calories. Want more ideas for getting all your veggies? Read 7 Ways to Eat More Vegetables.
  2. Get the most out of your salad. Not all salads are healthy, especially at a restaurant. Salads loaded with dressing, cheese, and fried chicken are also loaded with calories and fat. But healthy salads don't have to be boring. Pick the ones with a lot of different vegetables for more disease-fighting nutrients. Top it off with a lean protein like grilled chicken, fish, or beans. Learn more Secrets to Making Power Salads.
  3. Avoid overdoing it at summer BBQs. Beat the temptation to overeat by filling up on the healthy stuff first. Fill your plate with fruit and green salads and choose raw vegetables over chips. If you treat yourself to dessert, be aware of the portion size and keep it reasonable. The key is moderation and recognizing when you're full. Once you've finished, get moving! Play with the kids or get everyone together for a game of volleyball, Frisbee, basketball, or tag. I know that when I move away from the table, I'm less tempted to keep eating. Check out these other Tips to Survive Summer BBQ Season.
  4. Cook at home. There are a lot of benefits to eating at home. Not only will you save money, but you'll know exactly what goes into your meal. Plus, cooking at home is generally healthier, especially if you use a heart-healthy recipe from the Million Hearts Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Resource Center. With 750 recipes, you'll find healthy grilling recipes, smart breakfast options, and tasty dinner ideas the whole family will enjoy. If you're not sure what kind of recipe you want, you can search by budget, cuisine type, and how long you want to spend in the kitchen.
  5. Don't forget the fruit! Summer is a great time for fresh fruit. Add your favorite berries to your morning cereal or oatmeal. Choose watermelon or cherries for dessert instead of cookies or ice cream. Did you know you can grill peaches? Find out more in this guide, and then use the recipe search to get started!

These are just a few tips to get you going! For more advice on improving food choices, visit the Million Hearts Inspiring Articles section for grilling tips, secrets to healthy cooking, tips for choosing the best foods for your kids at the store, and summer fruit and vegetable guides. You can also check out the Ten Tips Nutrition Education Series on for tips for the whole family. Then create your own 28-day meal plan, including recipes, printable shopping lists, and customized calorie levels to meet your weight goals. Start making healthier food choices today! Remember, even small changes can have an impact on your health.