Summertime is a great time of the year for nutrition, as many people are looking to lose a little bit of weight for their beach body. When most people think about weight loss, they think that they need to clean up their diet. This idea of eating clean is vague, but let’s just say that eating clean means no junk food. The no junk food diet during summer isn’t a bad idea for a weight loss diet, but it focuses only on what not to eat. Focusing on what not to eat can help some people with weight loss especially if you take away a key staple to someone’s diet like bread, dairy, or grain products. Anyone is going to eat far less calories than normal, if you take away the cereal from someone’s breakfast, the bread they eat their sandwich on, and the rice or dinner roll that accompanies their evening meal. This often leaves people with the question of, “what is there to eat then?” Now, this isn’t to say that bread, dairy, and grain products are necessarily bad, but it’s common when someone wants to lose weight that they will cut back on some types of foods whether it’s carbohydrate based foods or fat based foods (butter, chicken skin, bacon, cheese, hot dogs, etc.) When someone cuts back on any of these foods, they then go into a calorie deficit which can lead to weight loss for most people.
If you restrict some common staples of someone’s diet and remove bread, dairy, and grain products, what is left to eat? There is lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Summer is a good time for nutrition because fresh fruits and vegetables are in season and people are more likely to eat these healthful foods when they are prominently displayed in grocery stores and on sale. Salads become more popular during the summer and snacks of fruit become more popular as well. These are the types of foods we should be consuming more of, if we are looking to lose weight because of their fiber content and vitamin/mineral content. These are the foods we should be replacing junk food or empty calories with in our diets. There are so many ways to cook, and prepare fruits and vegetables that I don’t buy it when people call these foods boring. The foods aren’t boring, the lack of kitchen skills are what make them boring. Sautéing or baking fruit, roasting and grilling vegetables, and adding different herbs and spices to these foods can take them from boring to amazing. One of my new favorite ways to eat broccoli is to lightly coat them with olive oil, and toss them with a no-salt seasoning blend, place them on a cookie sheet in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. You can do this with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, green beans, asparagus, and a few others.
Healthy summer nutrition revolves around eating less junk food, and eating more vegetables and fruits. The challenge for most of us is making the time to buy them, prepare them properly, and then finally eating them. Make it as easy as possible on yourself to make fruits and vegetables a staple of your diet. If you need to buy the pre-chopped vegetables form the produce section, the frozen steamer bags, or even the canned vegetables, do it, but make sure you get them consistently for better overall health.