2023 Summer Healthful Eating Tips

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Start Your Summer Off Right With These 5 Simple Steps!

Step 1!

Try grilling your lean proteins (meats/fish and/or tofu), and fresh summer veggies. Grilling is a healthier cooking option anytime of the year now. There are even smaller/flat, indoor grills that fit on your countertop. These are especially good for grilling your favorites in cold weather! Opt to serve some healthy side dishes with your grilled proteins like grilled zucchini & yellow squash slices, a fresh caprese salad, potato salad made with sweet potatoes, or a rice dish made with wild or brown rice.

Step 2!

Day trips, hikes, beach days and lazy days at the lake are some of the best ways to enjoy the summer. When you are out and about remember to pack/bring healthy snack and lunch options with you. And make sure to pack plenty of water with you too for those hot summer days. This way you will not only be eating healthier during your day, but you will save money as well and have more time outdoors! Try a homemade trail mix for a quick and easy snack.  Mix together your choice of nuts, roasted soybeans, dried cherries, dried cranberries and whole grain pretzels. Homemade sandwiches/wraps on whole wheat are a great choice for lunch and don’t take up much room in the cooler! Try a simple turkey and cheese sandwich with veggies and a slice of low fat cheddar, or a hummus and veggie wrap with low fat shredded cheese of your choice.

Step 3!

Try a new type of salad this summer. With so many fresh produce and herb options available, there is bound to be a fresh and new combination you can add to your plate! Typically baby spinach, romaine and mesclun for your base, and add any other fresh veggies you would like. Some fun and healthy toppings to try are citrus fruit chunks, berries or sliced apples, almonds, walnuts, pecans or sunflower seeds. Add some lean protein such as beans, grilled chicken, or low fat shredded cheese, and you will have a new and refreshing summer salad!

Step 4!

Watching your portions is the tried and true way to maintain or lose excess weight! During the summer especially, we can tend to drink more of our calories through sodas, sugary drinks, sweetened teas & coffees and alcohol as well. When at a party or summer event try drinking a glass of water before drinking or eating anything else. This trick helps to fill you up so you may end up eating/drinking less. Also, a good rule of thumb for easily controlling your portions is to make sure ½ your plate is made up of fruits/veggies, and a ¼ lean protein or tofu/beans, and the last quarter a healthy grain.

Step 5!

Proceed with caution with those sweet & cooling summer desserts! Ice cream stands and endless desserts at summer gatherings can be plentiful and tempting! There are many fun and tasty options available out or to be made at home that you can try. One of my favorites on a hot summer day is serving vanilla Greek low-fat yogurt mixed with berries, melons and bananas with a sprinkle of cinnamon. So refreshing! Also try ideas such as homemade or store bought fruit popsicles made with your favorite smashed up fresh fruits and yogurt or milk for a lower calorie and fat filled treat as compared to traditional ice cream. However, if you want to treat yourself and go for something decadent, split the treat with someone else or only allow yourself a small portion of the item.

Five Simple Ways to use In-Season Summer Fruits & Veggies!

Image of a head of cabbageCabbage

This veggie is well known in coleslaw, which has been a long time popular side dish for burgers, chicken, and fish entrees. Alternatively, cabbage is also a star in most Korean foods/dishes as a fermented veggie, and in egg and spring rolls in Chinese food.

Try making it as a side dish sautéed with ginger, sesame oil and low-salt soy sauce, or mixed into your favorite stir fry with brown rice for the extra fiber and nutrients.

Another easy way to add cabbage to your diet this summer is to add a handful to salads. It adds a cooling crunch to your salad with minimal calories. Just be sure to add a healthy protein to your salad such as nuts, shredded low fat cheese, chic peas, or grilled chicken.


Many people associate these sweet and juicy fruits with a peach that has no fuzz! But nectarines are their own distinct fruit and you can use them in place of peaches in your favorite hot or cold cereals, mixed with berries, bananas, or mixed in low fat yogurt for a tasty treat or snack. Another fun summery suggestion is to add chopped up nectarines to a cold summer vanilla low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt. Yum!

Nectarines can be used in place of apples for a sauce to accompany lean pork chops, grilled and added to a cool and refreshing green salad, or again in place of apples in a traditional apple crisp for a summer spin on this favorite Fall treat!

These juicy fruits also offer a good dose of Vitamin C, Beta Carotene (which our bodies use to make Vitamin A), and small amounts of B Vitamins. Also, nectarines are always a healthier choice when you are craving something sweet as compared to having a muffin, candy, or juice drink etc.


Green, bush, lima, and yellow beans are a few of the varieties that grow well in Massachusetts. Beans are actually a vegetable and provide our bodies not only with
healthy protein, but minerals and vitamins such as B vitamins and zinc.

They are extremely versatile and can be added to most entrees, such as pasta, rice, barley and quinoa dishes as well as salads.

Try making a quick cold bean salad as a snack or side dish! Add a can of chickpeas to chopped up green pepper, onions, corn, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese!

Also worth noting that fava beans, chickpeas, and soybeans are all available to purchase dried or to dry on your own with a quick internet search. In dried form, these nutrition superstars are great for on the go snacking, hiking, or an easy way to boost your protein intake, especially for vegetarians.


Cherries have a bold flavor can be easily added to a summer fruit salad, to a smoothie made with yogurt or milk, blueberries, strawberries and/or blackberries for a quick morning breakfast, or afternoon snack. They can also simply be enjoyed as is, (after rinsing them of course)!

Other ideas are to substitute them in quick breads, muffins, or cereal bars for any type of berry the recipe is calling for, or use fresh cherries to make your own homemade jam as there are many easy recipes online and in cookbooks available.

Cherries provide us with small amounts of vitamins and minerals such as fiber, Vitamin C etc., but also contain high levels of antioxidant compounds in them. For us this means that eating cherries can help to fight inflammation in the body as well as combat free radicals in our bodies, which are responsible for many types of diseases, aging, and overall cell damage.


The easiest and most delicious way I believe to enjoy beets is simply to roast these root vegetables and serve them as a side dish! Try peeling them and slicing them first. Then place beet slices onto cookie sheet with olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt. That’s it! You can also peel and cube up some beets and roast in the oven with carrots, potatoes, and turnips for a hearty side dish or to serve along with roasted poultry, fish, or tofu.

Beets are low in calories, and are a good source of fiber and provide a small amount of calcium, folate (a B vitamin) and Vitamin C. However caution with portion sizes, as beets just like carrots, contain natural sugars and can be problematic for people managing diabetes.

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What is the difference between Healthy and Healthful?

Healthy, they say, cannot be used to mean conducive to good health. … So it’s OK to use healthy and healthful as synonyms for conducive to good health: have a healthy snack or a healthful one. But if you’re referring to someone who enjoys good health, however, use healthy because it’d be weird to call a person healthful.

Healthy versus Healthful: The problem is that some people insist that you can’t say your salad is healthy; you have to say it’s healthful because only healthful can mean “conducive to good health.” The thinking is that only a living thing can be healthy—if we’re in good health, you and I can describe ourselves as healthy. Healthy is a personal characteristic, but things that are dead, things we consume, aren’t healthy anymore. If they’re good for us, they’re healthful.

This word pair, healthful and healthy, has been causing debate for over a century. The question is whether these adjectives can both be used to mean conducive to good health. This is what gets some word mavens’ blood boiling. Healthy, they say, cannot be used to mean conducive to good health. But according to the Oxford English Dictionary, healthy has been a synonym for healthful since its earliest appearance in print… in 1552.

So it’s OK to use healthy and healthful as synonyms for conducive to good health: have a healthy snack or a healthful one. But if you’re referring to someone who enjoys good health, however, use healthy because it’d be weird to call a person healthful. Save healthful for the granola and healthy for your personal trainer.

Check Out These 7 Tips To Help you Stay Healthy!

Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate or in your bowl. Choose foods that provide the nutrients you need without too many calories. Build your healthy plate with foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein foods. Try the eating right tips in the boxes below!

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables!
Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange vegetables plus beans and peas. Fresh, frozen and canned vegetables all count. Choose “reduced sodium” or “no-salt-added” canned vegetables.
Make at least half your grains whole
Choose 100% whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and brown rice. Also, look for fiber-rich cereals to help stay regular.
Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese
Older adults need more calcium and vitamin D to help keep bones healthy. Include three servings of fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese each day. If you are lactose intolerant try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.
Vary your protein choices
Eat a variety of foods from the protein food group each week, such as seafood, nuts, and beans and peas, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs.
Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars
Look out for salt (sodium) in foods you buy. Compare sodium in foods and choose those with lower numbers. Add spices or herbs to season food without adding salt. Make major sources of saturated fats such as desserts, pizza, cheese, sausages and hot dogs occasional choices, not everyday foods. Switch from solid fats to oils when preparing food. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Select fruit for dessert. Eat sugary desserts less often.
Enjoy your food but eat less
Most older adults need fewer calories than in younger years. Avoid oversized portions. Try using a smaller plate, bowl and glass.

Cook more often at home, where you are in control of what’s in your food.

When eating out, choose lower calorie menu options. Choose dishes that include begetables, fruits and whole grains. When portions are large, share a meal or take half home for later.

Write down what you eat to keep track of how much you eat.

Be physically active your way
Pick activities that you like and start by doing what you can. Every bit adds up and health benefits increase as you spend more time being active.

If you are currently inactive, start with a few minutes of activity such as walking. Gradually increase the minutes as you become stronger.

Consult a registered dietitian nutritionist if you have special dietary needs
A registered dietitian nutritionist can create a customized eating plan for you. Visit www.eatright.org to find a registered dietitian nutritionist near you.

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