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7 Easy Ways to Eat Healthier This Summer

With an abundance of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables now available, you’d think healthy eating would be a no brainer. But summer travel, BBQs, parties, camping trips and, of course, all those requisite marshmallow roasts, can get in the way. Here are seven easy strategies to help you fill up on good, clean food and avoid unwanted calories all summer long. 

Locally grown fruits and veggies are often more nutritious than standard grocery produce because they are harvested at the peak of ripeness and spend hours (versus days or weeks) in transport. Hit the Wood River Farmers’ Market every Tuesday, 2-6pm, in Ketchum (4th Street between East and Walnut) and Thursdays, 2-6pm, in Hailey (Main Street between Carbonate and Galena). Or stock up at NourishMe (151 Main Street in Ketchum), at Wood River Sustainability Center (308 S. River Street in Hailey), or through Idaho’s Bounty.  

Forgo the chips, pretzels and other salty processed snacks in favor of crunchy fresh veggies like carrots, celery and snap peas. Make them convenient by washing and chopping ahead of time, then store in clear containers at eye level in the refrigerator so they're the first thing you see. Dip in hummus (try this healthy recipe using dried chickpeas from The Black Peppercorn), guacamole or a Greek yogurt-based dip. 

Whenever possible, opt for whole fruits and veggies over fruit juices and smoothies. The process of juicing or blending fruit strips it of insoluble fiber, which means the sugar hits your bloodstream as fast and furious as it does with a sweetened soda. In large-scale studies involving nurses, those who ate whole fruit were less likely to get type 2 diabetes, while those who drank fruit juice were at increased risk. What’s more, real food is more satisfying! a juice or smoothie won’t leave you feeling as satisfied. In one study conducted  at Purdue University, people who drank the beverage form of a carb-rich food ended up consuming 12 percent more calories overall. 

Mix up your summer salads for maximum nutrition! Start by swapping the mixed greens for spinach, kale or arugula. Add chopped herbs like cilantro, basil and chives. Toss in shredded purple cabbage, thinly sliced radishes and cherry tomatoes, or halved cherries, blueberries or sliced peaches and apricots. Top with guacamole, fresh salsa and black beans for a Tex-Mex twist. 

While we love summer BBQs, most store-bought sauces are loaded with high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors, and preservatives. Try this healthy homemade BBQ sauce recipe from My Whole Food Life instead. 

Cover half your plate with vegetables and fruit – and eat them first! Because they are high in fiber, they'll help fill you up so you consume less of the high-calorie stuff.

Craving a sweet? Enjoy fresh berries or other fresh seasonal fruit with a dollop of homemade whipped cream or plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle of local honey.  Save the ice cream and S’mores for special occasions only.