Now that we have reached July, we are really in the heart of summer. When I started my Real Food Journey last year, I found this time of year to be a wonderful time to eat Real Food. The grocery stores and farmers’ markets are fulls of ripe local produce. Tomatoes, berries, lettuce greens, zucchini……….each one more delicious than the last. I really thought eating Real Food would be a snap with all of the readily available fresh foods. I soon discovered that there are hazards lurking everywhere. As long as you have a plan, you will be able to stick to your Real Food diet.
Here are 6 hazards I run into on a consistent basis.
1. Ice Cream Stands – Holy cow! They are everywhere and there is something about cold treats that I have a hard time resisting. It doesn’t help that my kids are always asking to get ice cream.
The Plan: Once in a while we will go get ice cream. I know the ingredients are not that great, but I try to buy smaller sizes and only add on fruit toppings. I make sure the kids avoid popsicles which are nothing but artificially colored sugar water. No one needs that. See more about why I hate artificial colors in this earlier post. At home, I like to make our own frozen treats so I can control the ingredients. You might want to try some delicious banana soft serve. It’s one of our favorites.
2. Picnics and barbecues – It’s nice to be social, but when you are thrown into a potluck of unknown ingredients, it can be pretty scary. Remember………my stomach revolts against me if I eat too many artifical ingredients.
The Plan: I try to choose grilled chicken if it is available. I also look for whole wheat pasta salads, fresh fruits and vegetables. I skip right over the salads with the pink and green marshmallows in them. Way too much artificial color and sugar. I also skip the chips and dip and look for raw vegetables and hummus.
3. Amusement Parks, Beaches, Fairs, and Zoos – Gross! They really have no Real Food at these places.
The Plan: I like to pack a picnic and enjoy a nice Real Food meal with my family. I also find that packing our meal saves tons of money. Bonus! If the kids really want a treat, I try to steer them towards a soft pretzel without the added incredibly orange cheese. Again……….more artificial color there and it’s not even cheese. It’s cheese-like product.
4. Vacation -This can be so hard if you don’t do some research. The last thing I want is to be sick my entire vacation so I still need to pay attention to what I eat when I am on the road.
The Plan: Pack your food. Plan on packing your breakfast and snacks. I like to explore the area’s food so I choose restaurants that cook their own food and use fresh ingredients. Sometimes, I have to ask a lot of questions, but having a good time with my family is worth it to me. Ask for extra vegetables and avoid white rice. I’ve also found that breakfast foods are usually Real Food. They may not be the organic eggs that I like, but I can usually get a veggie omelet to fill me up and give me lots of energy for exploring. Breakfast makes for a great lunch or dinner also.
5. It’s too hot to cook – The other day on my Facebook page, I asked how how hot was too hot to cook? I got a wide-range of answers. For some of you it’s the whole summer and for others it has to be over 100* F. No matter how you define it, it is likely to be quite a few days.
The Plan: Have lots of ingredients to make a beautiful salad bar for your family. I don’t mean little salads. I’m talking big salads with lots of veggies, fruit, a variety of cheeses and nuts. Make your own salad dressing and you’ve got quite a satisfying Real Food meal. You could also turn to your grill to cook meat and vegetables. And……..don’t forget your crock pot won’t heat up the house. Another reason I love my crock pot.
6. Alcohol – I don’t usually talk much about alcohol on this site, but alcohol is considered Real Food. Sodas (both regular and diet) and sugary fruit juice creations are not.
The Plan: Stick to wine and beer. There are certainly plenty of varieties to enjoy. I also like to use tonic water as a mixer.
If I am careful with my eating, I am better able to keep up with my kids and avoid illness. It is worth it to me to be careful with my eating. What do you think……….do I overdo it? Are there tips you have for eating healthy over the summer? What are your favorite summer foods?
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