Residing in a northern state can have its’ challenges and blessings when it comes to weather. With this, our eating can often change dramatically depending on what is available. Generally, more fruits and vegetables are fresh and available in the spring and summer. This could make our diets naturally healthier if we took advantage of these seasonal offerings. Another variable of healthy living during the summer is the nicer weather available for more activities outside, increasing our opportunities for physical activity.
Unfortunately, summertime is just like all the other seasons of the year when it comes to food choices. Despite all the healthy options, there are those traditional delicious foods that we look forward to having during the warmer months like macaroni salad or grilled brats. If we had this once in a while during the summer, it would be fine, but the problem becomes when there is a get together nearly every weekend — it then becomes a habit for the next three months. A statistic to reflect our health status in the summer comes from the National Center for Summer Learning. It showed children tend to gain weight three times faster during the summer1. Even though there are opportunities for more activity in the summer, there are usually plenty of opportunities to lie around the pool sipping on sugary drinks and overindulging in fatty meats off the grill. Fortunately, if we plan ahead and try to encourage healthier choices, it’s completely possible. Just like anything, choices are always available, and something that makes it a little easier and healthier is making your own healthier dish to bring and pass.
Here is a great example of a light, summery salad for your Fourth of July celebration. Although pasta salad is delicious, they can tend to be carb heavy. This salad is simple to make and is packed full of vegetables along with some black beans for protein. The best part is it will appear to have a dressing, but it is just the avocado and lime creating a creamy and delicious flavor.
From PopSugar Recipes
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- 1 can black beans, rinsed
- 1 1/4 cups corn
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (I used half red, half yellow)
- 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 lime
- 1 avocado, diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place the cucumber, black beans, corn, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, and chopped cilantro in a bowl. Squeeze the fresh juice from the lime onto the salad, and stir well.
Mix in the avocado, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy.
Happy 4th of July!
Nicole is a registered and licensed dietitian in the state of Minnesota. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and completed her accredited dietetic internship through Iowa State University.
Nicole has a passion for health, nutrition, and cooking. She enjoys experimenting with and sharing new recipes and cooking techniques with her clients. She is dedicated to educating her clients on how to be mindful of their habits and make healthy changes that will last a lifetime.
Nicole currently works in clinical and private practice settings where she has gained experience with diabetes management, heart-healthy cooking, weight loss or weight maintenance, food allergies and sensitives, chronic kidney disease and heart failure.
1Hippel, Paul T. von, et al. “The Effect of School on Overweight in Childhood: Gain in Body Mass Index During the School Year and During Summer Vacation.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1829359/. Accessed 16 June 2018.
2Sugar, Jenny. “The Easiest and Most Satisfying Salad You’ll Ever Make.” POPSUGAR Tech, 9 June 2018, www.popsugar.com/fitness/Cucumber-Black-Bean-Corn-Tomato-Avocado-Salad-37842951. Accessed 16 June 2018.