Health and fitness: Watch what you eat during summer

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By Kent Pegg

School is out. The weather is warmer. And more and more we’re getting out and taking part in summer activities. With so many events, back yard barbecues and good times, it can be hard to maintain a healthy and nutritious diet.

Even the most disciplined eater would have a hard time denying themselves all the taste pleasures that exist during the summer months. So how do you stay healthy and fit with all these potential high calorie days?

First, plan ahead. When going to events, pack good sandwiches and low-fat snacks to prevent you from falling victim to burgers, hot dogs and french fries during the day.

Also, remember to take good drinks with you. Sugar-free drinks and beverages like iced tea are not always easy to find but, by taking them with you, you’ll have them ready and handy when you need them.

Next, when you do find yourself needing something to eat while you’re out, search out the healthiest option. While not easy to find, some foods may be available that aren’t so bad.

When you come across these healthier options, take advantage of them. Even if you’re not starving at the time, eating the healthy choice when presented will keep you from taking a less healthy option later.

Home grilling can allow you to reduce the fat content of your meals and help get more vegetables in your diet. All it takes is a little thought and effort and you’ll be enjoying great tasting healthy meals in no time.

Start by selecting meats that have low fat content and good amounts of protein. Some good choices are white chicken, lean beef and fish. These are healthy choices that suit themselves well to grilling and have great flavor.

Many vegetables taste great when grilled. Some of my favorites include asparagus, corn on the cob and even lettuce. Try grilling lettuce, allowing it to wilt to add an interesting new twist and taste to your salads.

Speaking of salads, grilling goes hand in hand with the preparation of great specialty salads. Try making coleslaw and vegetable and potato salads with low fat ingredients and salad dressings. Shredded cabbage with low-fat Italian dressing is a great addition to many grilled foods.

And remember to drink lots and lots of water. This will help you in two ways. One, it will keep you hydrated, especially important on those hot summer days that are coming. In addition, drinking water will make you feel fuller and not so empty inside. An empty stomach will only pull you closer to the bad snacks that will always be available.

Finally, don’t deny yourself the pleasure of an occasional treat.

If you’ve done well and kept your nutrition plan together throughout the day, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying something special.

But, instead of eating the whole treat, have a few bites and let it go at that. Better yet, share your treat with a number of other people. A 500-calorie treat will only give you one hundred calories if you share it with four other people.

So enjoy those festivals, parties and special events this summer. But remember that a little discipline and planning will allow you to have fun and still stay on a healthy nutritional track.

Kent Pegg is a certified personal trainer and the owner of the Los Alamos Fitness Center.  If you have any questions about this information, you can call him at 662-5232.