By Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDN
June 16, 2017
Whether you’re hitting the beach, tanning by the pool or just trying to look and feel your best this summer, it’s important to incorporate fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables into your diet. With all that sunshine comes foods that are packed with antioxidants, nutrients and water to rehydrate your long summer days.
Although eating certain foods can’t automatically prompt weight loss, replacing high-calorie foods with low-calorie ones can shift you toward burning more calories than you consume — the key to shedding extra weight. The best way to make these swaps is by choosing nutrient-dense foods (that are naturally lower in calories) to enhance your health and ensure you’re still getting all the necessary nutrients needed for your weight-loss journey.
Try adding these five foods to your diet this summer:
Whichever kind you prefer — blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or strawberries — these summer fruits are packed with nutrients and are lower in calories than other fruits such as bananas and mangoes. Berries are also high in fiber (one cup of raspberries has 8 grams of dietary fiber, which is nearly a third of the recommended intake for women and 20% of what men need in a day), which helps you feel full longer and reduces the temptation to snack between meals. Berries are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, packing a strong nutritional punch with a low calorie count.
Containing 92 percent water, watermelon fills you up without weighing you down. Despite its low calorie count, it’s loaded with antioxidants such as lycopene and vitamin C, boosting your micronutrients while also keeping you hydrated. Try this for a refreshing summer treat.
With some of the highest protein and iron levels of any vegetable, peas are a great substitute for meat that’s usually high in calories and saturated fat. If you’re excited about cooking with this vegetable but don’t know how to get started, check out these 6 Fresh Ways to Eat Your Peas.
Rich in vitamin C and potassium, pineapple also has a higher sugar-to-calorie ratio than other fruits — so enjoy it slowly as it’s quick to satisfy that sweet tooth. The stem of this juicy summer fruit is also a good source of bromelain, a compound that exhibits anti-inflammatory properties in the body. Pineapple is useful for more than just a sweet treat — it’s a great complement to your entrees.
This versatile summer vegetable is as low-calorie and nutrient-dense as it gets, clocking in at only 37 calories per medium pepper with a gram of protein, 2 1/2 grams of fiber and only 5 grams of natural sugar. Looking to boost your daily intake of vegetables? Stuff ’em — peppers work with any meal.
BONUS TIPS FOR SUMMER WEIGHT LOSS
Along with adding these foods to your daily routine, keep in mind these general tips for slimming down this summer.
Dehydration can leave you feeling exhausted and hungry. Make sure to keep a cold water bottle with you at all times to prevent overeating and exhaustion. For a refreshing and more flavorful way to hydrate, add a pineapple core and mint or basil leaves to your water.
BE MINDFUL OF PORTION SIZES
Warm summer days mean barbecues and celebrations with massive spreads of food. Start with small portions, chew slowly and let your food settle, then decide if you’re still hungry before going back for another plate.
EVERYTHING IN MODERATION
Summer travel plans and holidays may involve sweets and treats that aren’t a usual part of your diet. Be mindful of the choices you’re making and remember the key to a sustainable weight-loss plan is consistency and moderation, not depriving yourself of everything you enjoy eating.