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Healthy summer eating: hacks and ingredient swaps for upcoming BBQ and picnics

Making healthy food choices with better-for-you dishes has never been easier

COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, and this summer is calling for a well-deserved cookout. Although it has been a minute since we all gather to have a good time and eat delicious food, we should always be mindful of our calorie intake.

To help us have healthy summer eating, Nutritionist Rania Batayneh shares with HOLA! USA her easy hacks – from must-have snacks for a summer road trip to simple ingredient swaps to pick up at the grocery store for upcoming BBQ and picnics.

Better-for-you BBQ!

Pasta salad©iStockimages
Caesar pasta salad

Whether you’re hosting or attending a BBQ this summer, making healthy food choices with better-for-you dishes has never been easier. One of my favorite hacks is a Caesar pasta salad made with Purely Balanced Greek yogurt salad dressing instead of mayo and a veggie-based pasta instead of a heavy, wheat-based pasta (my favorite is Veggiecraft Cauliflower Penne, which is made with only three ingredients!).

Purely Balanced Greek yogurt salad dressing©Agencies
Purely Balanced Greek yogurt salad dressing

Purely Balanced Greek Yogurt dressing is lower in fat, has 0g of added sugar, and has only 45 calories per serving, but still has a creamy taste! They also make for the perfect dip with vegetables that you can snack on while the grill is firing up.

Make time for outdoor activity

Father Carries Son On Hike Through Forest Trail in Pacific Northwest©iStockimages

Take advantage of the longer days by getting outside and making time for activity. Exercise is a great way to improve your circulation, release the feel-good hormones like endorphins, and help your complexion (hello sunshine!). Sun exposure is the most important natural source of Vitamin D, improving your immune function and helps to keep your bones strong. To maintain healthy blood levels of vitamin D, aim to get outside for 10-30 minutes each day.

Plan with healthy treats

Fresh berries are packed in trays©iStockimages

If you’ll be out for the day hanging by the pool or beach or in the car for a weekend trip, it’s essential to pack the right snacks to keep you fueled. My go-to’s include pistachios, dried fruit, and fresh fruit because they are the perfect combination of sweet and savory, plus a boost of plant protein, fiber, and antioxidants.

I also love making a mason jar salad with Purely Balanced Greek yogurt dressings when I’m on the go since it transports easily and can be meal prepped in advance.

Visit your farmer’s market and take advantage of seasonal produce

Beautiful woman buying kale at a farmers market©iStockimages

Summer fruits and veggies are rich in flavor, nutrients, and color. From berries to apricots and avocado, you can quickly build delicious smoothies and snacks for a quick breakfast or snack. Don’t be shy to ask the farmers about some of their favorite ways to use the produce. They may even share some recipes on social media, so click follow and support a local business as well.

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