I look forward to summer more than anyone. I mean it. By April 1st, I am checking my IPhone weather app every day to find out when the temperature is going to rise. I pack up my sweaters and boots and exchange them for my favorite ratty, torn shorts and old T-shirts. I pull my outside pillow cushions out of storage and set up my backyard patio to look like the lazy hazy days of summer. And then, I wait…Sometimes, by May 1st, I pull on my bikini, get a huge bottle of water and go outside to worship the sun – a few minutes later, I run back inside and get a blanket.
I’m not the only one who prepares for summer – the grocery store does too. Summer is symbolized by so many things: beach umbrellas, sunglasses, water balloons, and then, there are the summer foods. Oh boy, here we go….
Summer foods. The thing that comes to mind off the top of my head are: hotdogs, potato chips, hamburgers, ice-cream, potato salad, soda, apple pie, frozen snickers (I know, probably not on your list, but they’re on mine) corn on the cob, and watermelon. It’s kinda ironic that these foods, most of which would be on my “avoid list” if I am trying to eat healthy, are associated with summer and the mere fact that we get to show a lot more skin and abs while eating these foods…hmmm…kinda makes you wonder.
I was at the grocery store this week and I took note of all the ways they advertise for summer. I had to steer my grocery cart to a quick left turn to avoid the ginormous Dorito pyramid that will totally fall on the first little kid who grabs the bottom bag. And if I’m looking for soda, no need to look far – it is displayed at the end of every isle with bright neon signs advertising a discount. Bottom line, it’s really easy to get sucked into the summer flavor of junk food.
My family loves to go boating and go on picnics. It’s really easy to grab the “trap” foods at the store because they are easy to grab and pack, but I have a different grocery list in mind, and it helps keep our summer outings a lot more nutritious. Here’s what I do: I grab a dozen whole grain bagels, a pound of sliced turkey, a bag of spinach leaves, a mini bottle of mustard, a bag of apples, a bag of grapes, a bag of baby carrots, 3 cucumbers, baked lays potato chips or sun chips, a bag of mozzarella string cheese, sugar-free Gatorade, and water bottles. If I’m being honest, I throw in a bag of Tootsie Pops – I know, just being real.
Ok, so let’s analyze. I have some whole grain carbs, some protein, a little fat, some fruit and veggies and hydration. It’s super easy to pack. I don’t even pre-prep anything. I slice the cucumber and put in a zip lock, wash the grapes, and pack the turkey, cheese, veggies, fruit and drinks in a cooler. I throw the bagels, mustard and chips in a bag, throw in a few napkins and viola – there is my healthy summer picnic for boating, carnivals, road trips – you name it, it’s covered.
My point is, there are A TON of different quick summer foods we can grab for our fun summer outing without caving in to junk food just for fun. I totally feel better in my short shorts and summer clothes when I am eating healthy and choosing better foods. Just a little thought to think about when you are planning your next little summer picnic. Enjoy!!!