Written by Dr. Keith Kantor, PhD, ND
Summer Foods to Avoid-
- Sports drinks are typically consumed during the summer at the ball park, while doing yard work or after a hard workout outside, but plain water is a better choice in most situations. Sports drinks should only be consumed by those who are exercising at a moderate to high intensity for 90 or more minutes. These colorful drinks are packed with excess calories, sugar, sodium, and dyes, which lead to weight gain due to increased blood sugar levels, and the dyes have been shown to cause hyperactivity and poor concentration in children and adults.
- Ice Cream is also a very popular treat in the summer, but should be thought of as a once in a while treat due to the excessive calories, and sugar. Eating ice cream regularly can increase blood sugars and hinder the body from burning fat properly. Dairy is also a common food intolerance, causing inflammation resulting in suboptimal metabolism and weight gain.
- Hot Dogs are one of those go to summer foods, at baseball games, amusement parks and cookouts. Hot dogs are extremely processed foods, they are high in sodium and other preservatives such as nitrates. The additives in hot dogs have been shown to contribute to high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity and even cancer if they are consumed regularly.
- Potato chips are common side items at cookouts or picnics. These fried potatoes are high in sodium, calories and unhealthy fats. Potato chips are made to dissolve quickly in your mouth causing you to eat more then you normally would, by creating a delayed response to feeling full which results in over consumption of calories.
- Sugary cocktails like mojitos are popular summer drink items but the combination of sugar and alcohol are a disaster for blood sugars and if they are consumed regularly they will pack on the pounds. Modify your mojitos by using fresh mint, juice of fresh limes, sparkling water, white rum and an all-natural non-calorie sweetener like stevia instead of sugar.
Summer Foods to Enjoy-
- Smoothies are a great way to enjoy a cool and refreshing drink without unwanted sugars. Start building your smoothie with a low glycemic fruit like fresh or frozen berries, add a scoop of protein or plain yogurt, flax seed and use unsweetened almond or coconut milk as the liquid. If you prefer juice only use a small splash due to the concentrated amounts of sugar in juices and then add water instead of using too much juice.
- Fresh fruit salads are great alternatives to ice cream. Aim for fruit that is in season and local if possible for peak nutrients. To ensure that a variety of antioxidants are being consumed eat several different colors of fruits.
- Coleslaw is a great alternative to tradition French fries or chips. The cabbage in coleslaw is considered a cruciferous vegetable which is directly related to detoxifying the body, specifically for harmful hormone levels. Coleslaw is also lower in carbohydrates which will not contribute to high glucose and insulin levels.
- Grilled kabobs are a great alternative to hot dogs. Marinade steak and/or chicken and put them on skewers with tomatoes, onions, peppers and other vegetables of your choice. The protein will keep you feeling full for a longer period of time, resulting in less calories being consumed from empty sources like processed chips, crackers or cookies.
- Fresh guacamole is a better alternative to processed dips and a great source of heart healthy fats and antioxidants. Blend fresh avocados, jalapenos, red onions and cilantro in a food processor and serve with crunchy vegetables like carrots, peppers, and zucchini instead of chips.
This is a preview to an article that will be featured in The Saturday Evening Post.
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