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Good, Healthy Snacks for Summer: Fight off the Summer Fats

It has been stated by NASA climatologist Dr. James Hansen that it is likely that 2012 will reach a record high global temperature, which makes it that more difficult to eat right and stay cool. Temperature isn’t all that is at a record high; obesity is, too.

Did you know that during the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States?

According to the CDC Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, more than 1/3 of the U.S. adults (35.7%) and 17% of children are obese. This is based on the latest government statistics. This is shocking to see that Mississippi ranks number one with 34%; West Virginia is second at 32.5%, and third is Alabama at 32.2%. Maybe that is contributed to our wonderful southern foods that all love and that brings folks from around the world to enjoy our great southern cuisine.

Below are some great tips and snack ideas to keep you and your family hydrated and slimmed down for the summer and to keep that beach body.

Snacks for the Beach

  • Low-fat yogurt – Yogurt contains good bacteria called probiotics that can help to reduce the bad bacteria in your intestines that is responsible for belly bloating. You can buy yogurt with aspartame or without aspartame, which also helps with women and raising their PH levels if digesting 6oz a day.
  • Hummus with veggies – Not only will the protein, fiber, and healthy fat in hummus help you feel more satisfied so you eat less (eating too much before donning your bathing suit is never a good idea), hummus is also made from slimming garbanzo beans. Also, hummus is great for people with insulin resistance diabetes, or hyperglycemia, and it contains iron to help with respiration.
  • Water with mint and lime – Drinking plenty of water is important to banish bloating because, when you are dehydrated, your body actually retains water. This will also help with those late night leg cramps that we all know as “Charlie Horse.” I don’t know about you, but there is nothing I hate worse than being in a dead sleep and move just a bit and then comes Charlie!! And then you spend the rest of your night afraid to move. Now you can eliminate those Charlie horses.
  • Pineapple/watermelon/apples/grapes – Not only is this the perfect cool, refreshing treat to eat by the pool or on the beach but they all contain water easy to pack up and carry along with you. Just make sure the kiddos wash their hands or otherwise you will be eating sand.
  • Whole-grain tortillas – Easy to make and filling healthy wraps, tortillas are a great healthy snack. My favorite is ham, cream cheese, chopped green onion and baby spinach with ranch dressing (make sure you keep in a cool place). Great for kids are the ham and pickle wraps with cream cheese, dill pickles, ham or turkey.

Fun Healthy Snacks for Toddlers

Snacks are a critical part of your toddler’s diet. Eating between meals provides your toddler with the nutrients she or he may not get from his or her meals.

Rice Cake Sandwiches

Rice cakes are a low-fat toddler-friendly food that is fun to eat because they crunch and make satisfying noises when eaten. Not all your children will like these, but try putting peanut butter on them or let your kids create their own masterpieces.

Bagels with Dippers

Mini whole-wheat bagels are a good size for your toddler and will supply several grams of fiber and other nutrients. Peanut butter or other nut spreads, honey, cream cheese or plain yogurt spiced with cinnamon are great for on the go, picnics, trips to the zoo or doctor’s office, and they are all healthy options for toddlers.

Fruit Faces

Fresh fruit is always a nutritious snack choice for your toddler; creating a face out of fruit is a fun way to encourage your child to eat up. Use kiwi slices as eyes, a grape as a nose, and a banana sliced lengthways as a smile. Cut strawberries into ears and use blueberries as hair. Also, you can build your own melon manor out of a watermelon.

Frozen Yogurt Pops/100% Juice

Serving yogurt as a snack increases your toddler’s intake of protein and calcium. Serving yogurt as a frozen pop is an entertaining way to encourage your child to consume this nutritious food. Scoop your child’s favorite yogurt into a frozen pop mold and freeze until solid. Run the mold under warm water to loosen the pop and offer your child one for her next snack. You can do the same thing with juice; let them choose their favorite flavor and freeze.

Healthy Campfire Snacks

Skewers

  • Chop a variety of ingredients, such as cherry tomatoes, purple onions, green and yellow peppers, and mushrooms, in large chunks. Thread the pieces onto wooden skewers (that have been soaked in water). Meat and vegetable skewers are an excellent alternative to hot dogs. Prepare the skewers ahead of time and keep them cold, and pack the skewers in ice.

Corn

  • Corn on the cob is an easy alternative to campfire meals. You can prepare them before you leave. Preparation is easy; clean the corn and wash very well, season with salt and pepper, wrap in aluminum foil, and pack in ice to keep cold.

Popcorn

  • You can get a campfire popcorn grill at any outdoor store or buy the jiffy in the pan and just hold over the campfire and pop.

Baked Apples

  • You can make brown sugar and raisins before hand and place in a zip tight container. Core whole apples and fill the center with brown sugar, raisins and a dollop of butter. Wrap them individually in foil and place them directly on the fire embers for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Stay Hydrated This Summer

While it’s always a good idea to stay hydrated, it’s especially important when the temps of summer start rising. Whether you’re spending your vacation camping and hiking, at the beach, or just doing more outdoor daily activities like biking and walking, keeping hydrated is always a must.

Eat your water – Chowing down on water-filled foods like watermelon, oranges, strawberries, apples and grapes is an easy and refreshing way to keep hydrated.

Swap soda for water – If you’re trying to kick a soda habit, water is a healthy alternative.

Hydrate before exercising – Be sure to drink plenty of water before exercising to maximize your workout.

Stay hydrated at work

Even when working indoors, it’s important to keep the fluids handy. If you are working outside, keep a bucket with water and ice near you and drink as often as you can.

Just make sure that you are taking in enough fluids and that you do not over exhaust yourself in the heat; the more you sweat, the more likely you are to become dehydrated.





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