Summer means outdoor barbecues, backyard parties, picnics—along with all this fun comes the temptations of fatty foods. Not only can these treats ruin your diet, but they often have terrible consequences for your health.

Typical foods associated with summer are laden with added sugar and sodium. Studies have shown that consuming high amounts of sugar and salt can lead to serious health problems. High sugar consumption is linked to obesity, type II diabetes, and possibly cancer; while a diet high in salt is linked to hypertension and heart disease.

The rising temperature does not need to directly correlate with a rising number on the scale. Here are some foods to skip and pick to ensure you have a happy and healthy summer

Skip It

Ice pops

Although they seem like a refreshing treat to cool off; popsicles are the opposite of fresh!
Most commercially prepared popsicles are loaded with added sugars, which can lead to health problems such as weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Barbecue Sauces

    Most store bought sauces have over 400mg of sodium for only 2 tablespoons. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 mg per day and an ideal limit of no more than 1500 mg. Covering your meal in this condiment can be over half your daily limit alone! According to the Centers for Disease Control eating too much sodium puts you at risk for developing serious medical conditions, like high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

Hot Dogs

    • A 2010 study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that found eating the equivalent of one hot dog raises the risk of heart disease by 42% and the risk of diabetes by 19%. The likely contributing factor to this is processed meats contain, on average, 4 times more sodium and 50% more nitrate preservatives, compared to unprocessed meats.

 

    Nitrates are used to preserve shelf life and are converted by the body into nitrosamines which can damage your cells.

Lemonade

    Many commercial types of lemonade can contain up to 40 grams of sugar, which is the equivalent of 10 teaspoons this well, exceeds the American Heart Association guidelines which recommend no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men.

Pick It

Seasonal Fruit

    • Consuming a diet high in fruit is associated with lower risks for numerous chronic diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Locally grown summer fruits are bursting with flavor and nutrition.

 

    For a refreshing summer treat throw some grapes, pineapple, banana slices or berries in a baggie and freeze them overnight for a quick and refreshing go-to the next day.

Spice Rubs

    • Eating guilt free doesn’t have to be flavor free! Putting a blend of herbs and spices onto meat, poultry or fish, gives it lots of flavor and a crispy crust.

 

    • Examples include:

 

    • Paprika, pepper and chili powder

 

    • Garlic, onion powder, dried basil and oregano

 

    Chili peppers, lime juice, fresh garlic and cilantro

Grilled Chicken Breasts

    At the barbeque your best choice is grilled skinless chicken breast. This complete protein contains roughly 140 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 25 grams of protein for a 3 ounce serving. Chicken is also rich in niacin a vitamin that is beneficial in reducing both blood pressure and cholesterol; more over it has cancer-prevention properties!

Drink Plenty of Water
Most of us know we should drink plenty of water each day. Water has zero calories, making it the ideal choice for hydration.
Add slices of citrus fruit, strawberries or cucumber to water to make the flavor more appealing, which may help you drink more.

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