5 Tips to Healthy Summer Eating

You already know how to eat healthy the majority of the time, but this can become difficult during the summer season when family picnics, BBQs, weddings, night outs, and events are most prominent. I’ve got your covered! Here are some simple tips you can incorporate to ensure a healthier summer for you and your family!

strawberry-spinach-walnut-saladTip #1 – Spruce up your salads!

Not all salads are healthy, especially when they are loaded with cheese, dressing and fried protein sources like chicken or steak which are high in bad fats and calories.  On the flip side, a plain salad with iceberg lettuce, oil and vinegar doesn’t give your body any nutrients at all!  Always opt for a variety of greens including kale and spinach which are high in protein, vitamin A and C, and antioxidants!  I personally love dandelion greens which are naturally detoxifying for the liver and kidney, and have additional medicinal value such as anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and digestive properties.  To add a little more ‘oomf’ to these basic greens add nuts, seeds and fruit (I enjoy walnuts or pecans with apple, sunflower seeds with peaches and strawberries, or pumpkin seeds with sweet potato). For extra protein, add grilled skinless chicken breast or salmon, chickpeas or black beans, or tofu and quinoa. Drizzle your salad with a simple olive oil and lemon dressing, or (my favourite) apple cider vinegar.  Simple, healthy, nutritious, and delicious.

Tip #2 – Don’t indulge at summer BBQs

BBQs are usually loaded with buffet style options (i.e. potato salad, corn, hamburgers and hot dogs, pasta bbq optionssalad, bread…).  To not overdue it, load up on the healthy food first!  Stick to the salads which have a vinaigrette dressing versus mayo dressing, veggies and fruit.  You can also have your meat without the bun!  That’s right, a simple patty or sausage will do without the extra gluten.  Keep your potato and pasta to a minimum, and reach for a rice dish or quinoa salad instead.  After dinner, suggest a game everyone can play to get active: frisbee, volleyball…whatever you like.  The biggest thing to remember here is choose wisely and don’t over-indulge.  Recognize when you are full.


BarbecueTip #3 – Healthy BBQing

We all love a good BBQ, but unfortunately BBQ season means a hike in Cancer Risk.  NO THANKS!  Hot dogs, hamburgers, along with other red or processed meats contain nitrates which increase the risk of colorectal cancer.  Cooking with propane can cause chemicals to form in your food, which also increases your risk. To lower the risk, avoid processed meats such as hot dogs and sausage and red meats like pork, lamb and beef, and instead grill skinless chicken and fish.  Charring meat, poultry or fish produces 2 types of chemicals that may contribute to cancer risk: heterocyclic amines, which is released when meat is cooked at high temperatures, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which forms in the smoke produced from the meat drippings on coals. Solution?  Lower the temperature of your grill to minimize charring, and if using a charcoal grill, spread the coals thinly or elevate the grill rack to increase distance between the coals and your food.  Also, remember to CLEAN YOUR GRILL after every use.  Eliminate any charred bits of food to lower your risk.

Extra BBQing tip:  Try marinating your meat in lemon juice, vinegar, and herbs such as tarragon, rosemary or sage.  Just 30 minutes of marinating can reduce Heterocyclic Amines by 96%.

Tip #4 – Minimize the alcohol and sugary drinks

Consumption of alcohol tends to increase during the summer due to weekend getaways to the cottage, backyard BBQs, weddings, and just sitting on a patio!  You may feel more tempted to reach for the cold drinks during the hot months.  Doesn’t a cold beer sound nice?  Of course!  But let’s not overdue it this summer.  It is important to remember to not drink alcohol when you are thirsty….drink a large glass of water first!  Thirst can lead you to chug your alcoholic beverage, which further dehydrates you.  Similarly, say no to beverages high in sugar.  Lemonade, iced tea and fruit juices all sounds great, but are usually loaded with sugar when not homemade, adding on the extra calories and pounds by end of summer.  Solution?  Make your own iced tea with organic green tea bags, lemon and honey; cool fruity herbal teas; or add mint and fresh berries to your carbonated water.  All of these make for tasty, healthy and thirst-quenching options.

picnicTip #5 – Cook more at home, and enjoy picnics!

Instead of going out for food during the evenings and weekends, cook more at home to control what you are eating.  Also, enjoy a family picnic in the park and make delicious options such as quinoa salad, turkey and vegetable wraps, veggies and hummus, and fruit salad for dessert.  The options are endless here and let’s you, again, control what you are putting into your body and your kid’s bodies.


In health,

Dr. Jessica Sangiuliano, Naturopathic Doctor

Dr. Jessica Sangiuliano, Naturopathic Doctor



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