A Nutritionist’s Guide to Healthy Summer Eating

Summer is here. It’s time for vacations, road trips, beach days, barbeques and going to the fair. Extra margaritas, a few scoops of ice cream and funnel cakes can all easily impede your health goals and do a number on your waistline.

Don’t let adventures and warm weather lead you to abandoning the healthy routines you’ve been working to maintain all year.

Keep reading for five common summer pitfalls along with healthy strategies that enable you to enjoy your festivities without derailing your healthy diet.

1. Barbeques

A typical summertime cookout is not complete without hotdogs, chips, or creamy potato salad. Attending a barbeque and making smart food choices may seem counterintuitive, but it is definitely a do-able thing with a few healthy swaps. Bring your own healthy potluck dish or two so that you know you’ve got nutritious options available!

Healthy fixes

Choose organic, grass-fed beef and make burger lettuce wraps. Grass-fed beef has many nutritional benefits.

Try organic, paleo-approved, natural bratwurst options such as those from Vital Choice.

Make your own Sweet Potato and Beet Chips.

Try making vinegar-based slaws instead of cream-based ones. Carrot Slaw, Apple Cider Vinegar Coleslaw and Kale Carrot Salad with Lime Tahini Dressing are all great options!

Alcoholic cocktails are usually a must at BBQ’s. Try bringing your own mocktail such as this non-alcoholic Paleo Strawberry Mojito or Lemon, Ginger & Basil Iced Tea.

After you’re done with your cookout, go play! Getting up to move can be beneficial for your metabolism and your cravings.

2. Road trips

Road trips are the quintessential summer activity. These adventures typically include stops at local fast food joints and convenience stores where healthy choices are pretty nonexistent. Rather than load up on prepackaged food items or fast food options, pack your own healthy snack box filled with your family’s favorite things. Snack prepping saves money, time and your family’s health.

Healthy fixes

Avoid purchasing unhealthy chips from the gas station. Instead, make your own tasty Garlic Kale Chips to pack for a simple snack with a healthy crunch.

Pack a cooler and fill it up with easy, smart, and healthy go-to snacks. Bring cut-up veggies, fresh fruit, nuts (pistachios are great), or paleo-friendly, organic beef jerky.

Road-trip food is notoriously unhealthy, but chances are you can find a healthy restaurant option when on the road. Search on Google or ask locals where the best, local, organic restaurant is to try.

Limit your calories from sugary beverage offerings by packing your own water, iced tea or refreshing, homemade juices.

While on the road, don’t forget to take your supplements. Daily Greens is good to mix with water for an easy, nutritious drink to get all of your essential vitamins and minerals. With 21 grams of quality beef protein, our Paleo Fuel is a great meal replacement option on the road, as well.

Be sure to take frequent stops to move your legs and soak up some vitamin D and sunshine for health.

3. Vacations

Vacations are your summer getaway filled with family fun and new experiences. While traveling, it doesn’t have to be difficult to stick to your healthy, organic lifestyle. You can make these summer experiences even healthier by seeking out organic restaurants, getting into the sun regularly and taking active walks to explore the city.

Healthy fixes

Pack your favorite, organic snacks. Make your own Paleo Trail Mix or Toasted Coconut Berry Granola.

Plan ahead and seek out local, organic restaurants and juice bars in the area you will be staying. Use Google, Yelp or Trip Advisor to search out new places to try. Keep a journal of the places you want to try. Make sure to view their menus ahead of time to make sure they meet your goals.

When eating out, try out the local (organic) meats offered in the region for a fun and healthy option. When on the coast, seek out seafood. When in the Midwest, try local, grass-fed beef.

Find a Whole Foods Market or local, organic grocery store for your daily food needs.

4. Beach days

Beach days are for sandcastles, swimming in the ocean and cruising the boardwalk. Nothing feels more like a summer beach day than ending the day at a local ice cream shop. Yet summer’s nostalgic sweet treat comes with a not-so-sweet price. It’s loaded with sugar, calories and sometimes even artificial ingredients.  A cup of ice cream delivers roughly 286 calories and 28 grams of sugar. Ice cream is also a dairy product, which is inflammatory and allergenic for many.

Don’t automatically reach for the frozen yogurt varieties, either. Since these tend to be lower in calories and fat they typically compensate with double the amount of sugar. Eating these low fat, high sugary foods can leave you feeling less satisfied and craving more, which can lead to over eating.

Healthy fixes

Rather than be tempted with these dairy indulgences and all of their sweet, sugary additions (marshmallows, brownies, and caramel anyone?), skip the line and find a local grocery store. Purchase non-dairy, healthy alternatives for your freezer at your beach cottage. Your waistline and health will thank you.

Try to seek out healthier alternatives such as coconut milk ice cream or avocado-based ice cream. Make sure to find organic, non-GMO ones with a low sugar content. Pay attention to the ingredients label to identify any added sugars.

New, healthier ice cream options are always coming to the market. Try coconut milk ice cream or avocado ice cream varieties.

For the healthiest option, try making your own sweet indulgences this summer.

Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream, Chocolate Avocado Ice Cream and Paleo Matcha Ice Cream are three great recipes to try out!

5. Fairs

For many people, summer isn’t summer without a trip to the fair. Yet sugary lemonade, GMO corn on the cob, grain-fed beef, funnel cake and cotton candy along with a myriad of other unhealthy foods (fried butter, anyone?) are not good food choices. While the fair may be awesome, the food really isn’t. The reality is that it can be a struggle to find something that won’t ruin healthy eating habits or calorie goals.

Healthy fixes

For the most part, you won’t find a ton of health-promoting foods at the fair. With that being said, if you must eat something, you can try to find *healthier* stands such as those selling fresh roasted nuts. You may also try to see if there are any new, local, vegetable or fresh fruit stands.

The trouble with fair food is there really aren’t any organic, non-GMO options. Your best bet is to aim to eat your healthy meals before and after the fair. Don’t splurge during your day out. Pack a water bottle so that you will stay hydrated. Keep moving to burn calories.

If possible, pack a few healthy snacks such as homemade energy bars. Try out these Mango Coconut Protein Bars and Paleo Superfood Energy Bars to keep boost satiety during your big day out.

I want you to have fun this summer. I want you to stay healthy as well. Follow these tips from a nutritionist for a healthy, fun-filled summer!

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