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Healthy Summer Snacking

by Sarah Barnes, MS, RD/LD

Summertime brings more outdoor cooking and gatherings. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of all of the fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. It is recommended that we strive to get at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. This can easily be done by adding fruit to your snacks and when you fire up the grill, throw on some fresh vegetables.

Here is a list of some fruits and vegetables that are best during the summer season.

Berries - Berries are great added to yogurt or fruit smoothies.

Melons (Cantaloupe, Honey Dew, Watermelon) - Perfect to slice up and take to a gathering or add to any snack.

Peaches/Nectarines - Peaches offer a good source of vitamin C and can be excellent fresh or frozen. They can be added to snacks such as Greek yogurt or low fat cottage cheese.

Beets - Beets are a wonderful source of Vitamin A and antioxidants. They are delicious added to fresh salads.

Spinach - Using fresh, crisp spinach for a salad will provide you with a good source of magnesium, folic acid, antioxidants, and vitamins A, C, E and K.

Bell Peppers - Bell Peppers make for a great afternoon snack or can be thrown on the grill to provide you with vitamins A and C.

Tomatoes - Tomatoes are delicious cooked and made into a sauce or excellent cut up and added to any salad. Tomatoes can also be sliced up and grilled. They provide you with Vitamin A, Lycopene, and antioxidants.

Zucchini and Yellow Squash - Both zucchini and squash are excellent vegetables for grilling to complement any meal.

With the summer heat here, we sometimes prefer to have a cold snack to keep us cool. We tend to venture towards the higher calorie snacks such as ice cream and frozen shakes. There are many delicious cool snack ideas that can help keep our summertime figure. Before reaching for the ice cream, try some of these lower calorie cool snack ideas.

  • Put Greek yogurt in the freezer to help satisfy an ice cream craving. It is lower in calories and adds protein to your snack.
  • Do you have extra fresh fruit? Try blending this up with a little almond milk and freezing it in popsicle trays for a healthy, cool snack.
  • Not craving a cool snack? Try three cups of air popped popcorn to satisfy your crunchy snack craving.
  • Hummus also makes a great snack and tastes wonderful with some fresh carrots or bell peppers.

For nutritional counseling, Norman Regional Health System offers the guidance of registered dietitians. Those interested can schedule an appointment for an assessment with a referral from their family physician.

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