Summer is in full swing, which means time spent outdoors at BBQs, picnics, and backyard parties. A large part of entertaining revolves around food and indulging. However, this summer, it is time to stick to your healthy eating plan. There are many foods we might try to avoid because of their bad reputation, but what if the foods you think are unhealthy are actually bursting with nutrients and health benefits? The following summer foods can be enjoyed this season, without a side of guilt.
Shrimp is commonly known for being high in cholesterol, and therefore not a healthy option. However, this is not as dangerous as we once thought, as cholesterol that comes from food really does not play a huge role in increasing the bad cholesterol in your bloodstream; saturated and trans fat are the culprits here. This shellfish is a low-fat, healthy source of protein, omega-3s, zinc and vitamin B12. Instead of throwing unhealthy burgers and hot dogs on the BBQ, try shrimp skewers for a light yet satisfying addition to the meal. This healthy summer food is definitely one that you should add to your summer healthy eating plan.
Eating our greens has been nailed into our brains since we were children. There has also been talk that iceberg lettuce is free of nutritional value and should not be eaten—this is simply not the case. Iceberg lettuce is filled with vitamins A and K, and it’s also a good source of antioxidants. The vitamin C in this lettuce can help protect your immune system, as well as keep your skin healthy. With only 10 calories per cup, throw this into a bowl with some veggies and you’ve got a crunchy, refreshing salad.
The thought of sauerkraut might automatically be paired with a greasy hot dog. This being the case, sauerkraut is usually thought of as simply a topping, when it is actually incredibly good for you. Since it is fermented cabbage, the benefits are huge: not only from the cruciferous vegetable, but because it is a source of probiotics. Cabbage is high in vitamins A and C, as well as fiber, which contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory effects. Once pickled and fermented, sauerkraut is created, which provides the gut with healthy bacteria; it aids in digestion and prevents cancer and intestinal infections. Instead of just accompanying hot dogs, try adding sauerkraut to salads or eating as a side dish for a fresh, healthy summer food treat.
Next on the list of healthy summer foods that you must include in your healthy eating plan is avocado. Sometimes it feels as though we don’t know what to believe about avocado: it’s good for you, it’s not, it’s fattening, it’s good fat—what gives?! It can be difficult to sort through all the hype and figure out the truth. Nonetheless, it is now time to praise the avocado. Whether thrown in salads or mashed up into guacamole, it should definitely be a staple at your next backyard bash. Avocados are high in healthy monounsaturated fats, which can help protect you from heart disease and stroke. This magical fruit (yes, it is a fruit) can also help the body absorb nutrients from other foods while providing a healthy dose of necessary fat. This specific type of fat can actually help with weight loss and maintain fullness. Say goodbye to avocado fears and hello to a healthy, slimmer body.
Many people see corn as a BBQ or carnival staple, in which they slather it with butter—which, as we all know, is the opposite of healthy. Although corn is a starchy vegetable, it is still a whole grain, which is necessary for maintaining a healthy body. Corn is packed with fiber and protein to help keep you full and prevent overeating. The protein and fiber also help prevent sudden drops or spikes in blood sugar by digesting at a healthy speed. High in vitamin C and antioxidants, corn can help protect the heart from inflammation and disease. Corn is sweet enough to be enjoyed without butter or any other fatty topping. Try throwing them on the BBQ for a summery, smoky flavor this summer.
This article was written by Shelby Morrison, a Toronto-based food blogger and freelance writer. She has a passion for living the most delicious life, while enjoying every step of the way! She eats her way throughout Toronto, yet loves to travel to different cities for some unique and tasty finds. Visit her web site at www.sweetsnmeats.tumblr.com.