Monday, May 25, 2009

Healthy Eating Tips for Summer Cookouts

This glorious holiday weekend (and I do mean glorious - the weather has been awesome) is not even over yet and already I am feeling the need to get back into my own eating routine. It is funny how once you are used to eating fresh healthy whole foods, it takes fewer processed party foods to make you feel funky.

Here are a few tips that I picked up in my Self magazine that I think really make sense and can help keep us on track when making healthy food choices in our everyday lives or at the next summer cook-out. With summer only starting, there are bound to be many more...

1. If you can't grow it, don't eat it. (this is my personal favorite) A potato comes from the ground, an egg comes from a hen. But where did that Pop-tart come from? If your best guess is "aisle 7," pass it up. Processing takes out nutrients such as antioxidants and fiber, even when chemists add them back, nothing stacks up to Mother Nature.

2. A frozen berry beats a fresh doughnut. Purchasing organic local produce is better for both the environment and your health, but when the nearest farm is hours away, don't default to a package of Oreos. Whether you are purchasing frozen, fresh or even canned fruit, they all have comparable amounts of nutrients and are way better for you than a doughnut.

3. Judge your food by its cover. When you have to hack through layers of packaging and plastic to get to your dinner, it's likely to be unhealthy. Plus according to research, chemicals in plastic food containers may actually lower fertility.

4. Make sure you can ID the animal. You don't have to hunt down your own supper, but if your chicken has been molded into a nugget, who knows what you're really chewing. Same goes for meat processed into sausage, strips or slices. In addition to some meat you are also consuming tons of sodium and preservatives.

For the full list of 20 Ways to Eat Healthier Right Now click here.

Now a couple of my own summer party survival tips...

1. Take something to the party that you want to eat. You may be thinking duh???, but instead of letting the host/hostess suggest that you bring a bag of chips, offer to bring a veggie tray, fresh fruit or a green salad. That way you know you can fill your plate with something good for you while you are there.

2. Make your own. If you are going to have a treat or you want to give your kids one, make it yourself. I don't care what anyone says a homemade chocolate chip cookie is better for you than the ones that have been on a grocery store shelf for a few months. At least I can clearly identify the ingredients in my own cookies, even if sugar is one of them.

3. Don't get taken down by your drink. On a hot day we all know that water is the only drink our bodies really want. So, try to avoid sugary, carbonated drinks. Nobody wants to feel sluggish and bloaty in their shorts, cute summer skirt, not to mention their bathing suit!

Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend!

- Shannan

Sources: Self Magazine


Hanlie said...

I read that chicken nuggets contain over 30 ingredients... That's so not chicken!

Great tips! I was just telling someone about the time we were invited to an open air jazz concert and told to bring food. We'd just started eating healthy again, so I was not going to do the usual chips, samoosas, sausages, etc. Instead I made three dips and cut up a ton of veggies. Our food was the most popular in our group!

Living A Whole Life said...


You are right. That is not chicken.

I always find that the veggies go quickly at parties - especially with the kids.


This blog is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog is intended to replace the advice of a physician. We recommend consulting a physician before embarking on diet changes or a fitness routine. In addition, we recommend that you thoroughly research alternate points of view and make your own decisions as an informed consumer. You are ultimately responsible for your health.