summer healthy eatingFocus on Healthy Eating

Summer not only marks the passage of another successful school year but is also a time to have fun and focus on healthy eating. Even sweet treats can be good for you if you choose them carefully. “Put slices of banana in the freezer; dip half of each slice in dark chocolate; and then dip in chopped nuts or coconut shreds,” said Lisa Matsunaga, registered dietician nutritionist. Focus on fruit. Make a breakfast parfait with fresh strawberries, blueberries, banana and plain yogurt and drizzle with honey if desired. Fresh cut fruit can also make a great dessert. Popsicles are a wonderful alternative. Add 100 percent pure orange juice, a squeeze of lemon juice and chunks of fruit to a popsicle mold and freeze because it is a refreshing treat that has no added sugars.

The weather is perfect for grilling. The American Heart Association said that tuna and salmon have great nutritional benefits including omega-3 fatty acids. If you like burgers, buy lean or extra lean beef and drain off the excess fat after cooking. Baked fries can be a healthy option. The American Heart Association said to slice white or sweet potatoes into sticks, lightly spray with olive oil cooking spray, pepper and paprika and bake on a cookie sheet for 40 minutes at 375 degrees. Baby carrots, celery sticks and cucumber slices can make for refreshing snacks. If you are looking for a new hobby, you may want to try growing some of your favorite things in the garden. You can also get clever and make your own pre-packaged snacks by buying a large container of raisins, nuts or popcorn with no salt or fat and separating them into individual portions. By planning ahead and being prepared you can make smart choices this summer.