Friday, May 20, 2011
Summer's Top Picks for Healthy Foods
It's getting HOT, Baby, and what does that mean? Well, it means that you should get out there and soak up some Vitamin D during your workouts! Just another reason to get out and get active, and for those who suffer from a motivational lag during the winter you can come out of hibernation! (One more excuse you can't use...hehe!)
Well, the summer is also great because a TON of healthy foods are made all the more appealing. Fresh fruits and veggies can take center stage. How delicious does a cool watermelon or vine ripe tomato sound for a picnic, at the beach, or at the BBQ? These healthy foods fill you up and are also packed with immune boosting antioxidants and other nutrients that are good for you in many ways more than just your waistline. Here are some top picks and why you need to sink your teeth into them:
*tomatoes: these guys have beta carotene, lycopene, and vitamin C. They are perfect in salads and a base for soups.
*sweet bell peppers: getting it on with peppers is going to give you fiber along with vitamins A, C, and B6. Go spicy and you could help lower your triglyceride and cholesterol levels too. You can add peppers to a variety of dishes but you can eat them from off the grill too!
*squash: these have vitamins A, B, C as well as magnesium. There are tons of different varieties but all of them are low in calories and can be used i salads, grilled, kabobed, or baked into breads. I've also known people who use spaghetti squash as a great gluten free alternative to the 'real' stuff and with far fewer calories too.
*berries: these are antioxidant powerhouses and you'll also get a shot of vitamin C and fiber. They are perfect on the go snacks, add them to yogurt (and get your fix of calcium too), or toss them into a fruit salad.
*watermelon: they've got lots of antioxidants, like your berries, as well as vitamins A, B6, and C, but because they are 90% water their calorie counts are very low. That high level of water will not only fill you up but keep you hydrated too, just watch out for those seeds. :)
*Smoothies are one way to go. Blend these babies up and they make for a great post-workout refuel.
*Go fresh or local. Try to help support your local growers and opt for a local provider. If you can check out a farmer's market.
*Grilling is great! Many of these foods are flavorful enough and you don't have to add a ton of stuff that might not be all that friendly to your waistline.
*Toss It Out: All of these foods are great additions to salads, but be careful of what else you add in there because you can easily turn a healthy salad into a caloric bombshell. Getting too heavy with dressings, nuts, and high amounts of sugar are things to beware of.