Nutrition Articles

Easy Summer Shape-Up Ideas

It's summer...the perfect time to freshen up your usual eating and exercise routine—or create some healthy new habits. Try the sampling of summer shape-up ideas below.

Greet the day with breakfast. Research shows that people who eat breakfast may be more successful at managing their weight. If you usually don't have time for breakfast, use summer's relaxed pace to slip into the habit. Try whole-grain cereal and fat-free milk topped with raspberries, blueberries or sliced strawberries or a cantaloupe half filled with fat-free yogurt with a sprinkling of sliced almonds.

Supersize your summer salad. Use the abundance of fresh veggies—and your creativity—to create a colorful salad. Toss in items like lettuces mixes, spinach leaves, arugula, baby Swiss chard, broccoli flowerettes, tomatoes, sliced red bell peppers, cubes of roasted beets, lightly steamed green beans, chopped zucchini, sliced green onions—even cooked corn kernels cut right off the cob. Toss with a low-calorie dressing or a drizzle of olive oil and splash of vinegar.

Snack on the season's bounty of fruits. Trading your usual candy bar snack for a fresh juicy peach is delicious, nutritious and saves about 150 calories. Try other seasonal fruits, too, such as nectarines, plums, melons, berries and cherries.

Get out and grill! Grilling is a great method for cooking foods without adding a lot of extra calories or fat. Lean cuts of beef and pork, poultry, veggies and even fruits are naturals for grilling.

Cool off with lighter summer treats. Make a root beer float with diet root beer and a scoop of light vanilla ice cream. Scoop up one of the many flavors of "light" ice cream to make cones and sundaes, too. For built-in portion control, enjoy reduced-fat ice cream bars, single-serving ice cream cups, or frozen 100% fruit juice bars. Or slurp a good old-fashioned ice pop in your favorite fruit flavor—only 40 calories each!

Catch up on your reading—of the Nutrition Facts panel, that is. If you're watching your waistline, check the serving sizes and number of calories per serving for the foods you buy. Use this information to compare products and choose the ones that best fit your nutrition goals.

Get fit in the fresh air. In nicer weather, it's a breeze to get and stay fit by moving your exercise routine outdoors—or starting one to begin with. Adults need at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week (that's equal to 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week). Kids and teens need to double that amount. So, get outside and walk, jog, hike, bike, swim—or even jump rope or play tag with the kids!