Summer is all about barbecues and picnics shared with family and friends. Food takes center stage at many of these outdoor get-togethers. And many of them don't exactly top the "world's healthiest foods" list.
So, you may be surprised by how healthy these three classic summer foods are.
Healthy Summer Foods
There's no need to avoid these foods at your next picnic or barbecue.
It doesn't get any more summery than this! Corn sometimes gets a bad rap because of its carbohydrate content — higher than most vegetables. Some also believe that it's lacking in nutrients. But this beloved summer vegetable supplies loads of good nutrition under its husk.
Corn is a good source of:
- Vitamin C
- Lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients linked to eye health
Corn does have more carbohydrates than many other vegetables. Watch portion sizes if you're monitoring your blood sugar or weight. Stick to one small ear or around ½ cup of kernels per serving.
Tasty Tips for Corn
- Grill corn on the cob to intensify its naturally sweet flavor.
- Keep the husk on when grilling to retain moisture and skip the butter.
- Instead of salt, season with a low-sodium seasoning blend or spice it up a bit.
Nothing pairs better with grilled chicken, fish, steak, or burgers than a colorful pasta salad. This healthy summer food can also be a very nutritious way to round out your meal.
Choose a whole-grain, bean, or lentil pasta and add plenty of seasonal veggies. Top with a homemade vinaigrette made with extra virgin olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, fresh herbs, and garlic, rather than using a mayo-based dressing.
There are plenty of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants from the vegetables and whole-grain or bean pasta. There's also "good" fat from the olive oil. You'll be pleasantly satisfied while providing your heart (and the rest of your body!) with health benefits. The more colorful you make your salad, the better, since different colored veggies offer varied nutritional benefits.
Tasty Tips for Pasta Salad
- Use a colorful variety of summer veggies like tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, or cucumbers.
- Whole-grain pasta comes in fun shapes to please any audience — rotini, elbows, bow ties, and more.
- Dress with a simple vinaigrette made with one part acid (vinegar or citrus juice) to three parts olive oil. Then mix in fresh garlic, shallots, herbs, Dijon mustard, honey, and fresh or dried herbs to taste.
If you have diabetes, it's important to watch what you eat. Our Certified Diabetes Educators give personal coaching.
You can't beat a tall glass of iced tea on a hot summer day. It might also do your body good. Tea is a source of powerful antioxidants, called polyphenols. This may protect against certain chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes, and support your immune system.
Whether you prefer black, green, white, or oolong tea, you'll get the greatest antioxidant punch if your iced tea is freshly brewed, rather than a pre-mixed or bottled variety. Not only will your tea retain more antioxidants, but you'll also be able to control how much sweetener it contains.
Tasty tips for Tea
- Avoid artificial sweeteners and sweeten sparingly with added natural sugars like cane sugar, raw honey, or agave nectar. A good rule of thumb is about 1 teaspoon of sweetener per cup of tea. You should taste the tea, not a mouthful of sugar.
- Boost natural sweetness by adding fresh or frozen berries, watermelon cubes, or citrus slices.
- Add interesting flavor with muddled mint, basil, or thyme leaves.
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