Summer can be the best time for healthy eating, or it can be the worst. Some people eat very healthfully, out of their gardens or with healthful choices offered at Lakefront eateries. Others live on burgers and fries.

“Summer brings its own opportunities and pitfalls to good nutrition,” says Lake Regional Registered Dietitian Jordan Fox, M.S., R.D., L.D. “Give some thought to your eating habits to ensure you take advantage of the opportunities and avoid the pitfalls.”

The following seven tips from Fox can help keep you eat health-
fully all summer long.

1: Eat in Season
Foods in season tend to have higher nutrient content and are more budget-friendly. Berries, grapes, peaches, melons, cucumbers, eggplant and beets are just some of the fruits and vegetables in season June through August, whereas apples, bananas, carrots and potatoes are in season year-round.

2: Harvest the Garden

Some people like to grow their own food. Others prefer to visit local farmers’ markets for fresh fruits and vegetables. Either option provides nutritious, delicious summer fare. Also, check area restaurant menus. Several brag that they offer their own homegrown veggies. Or, buy from local organic markets.

3: Always Include Vegetables
Vegetables and salads are low in calories and help you fill up. Plus, they are loaded with nutrients, such as Vitamins A and C, folate, potassium and fiber. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables have been shown to reduce the risk of several chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, most cancers and obesity.

4: Pay Attention to Portions

Portion control can result in a significant reduction in calories throughout the course of a day. Aim for no more than one cup of starchy sides, such as potato salad, potatoes, pasta or bread. This is about the size of a tennis ball. Aim for no more than four ounces of meat, which is the size of a deck of cards. Aim for one tablespoon or less of spreads, mayo and salad dressing, which is close to the size of your thumb. When eating out, split large portions with a dining partner or divide some into a to-go box at the beginning of the meal.

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