It‘s getting hot in here! I mean really hot. Summer is in full swing and by the 4th of July most of the country is going to be engulfed in the 100+ heat wave. During this time staying hydrated is key. However, did you know that one of the best places to get water is through your food? The water found in fruits and vegetables can actually assimilate into your cells better than drinking water alone. Now, please don’t read that as your nutritionist telling you to stop drinking water! Instead, when you are focusing on your hydration you should aim to increase both your liquids and your fruits and vegetables. Here are a few tips to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your everyday way of eating!
Every time you eat, make sure to have a fruit or vegetable– We are usually good at getting our fruits and veggies in at mealtime but snacks can be where we fall short. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you are getting a fruit or vegetable every time you eat. This can include some fruit with your oatmeal in the morning, carrots and hummus, an apple and peanut butter as a snack and an orange with your lunch rather than the chips.
Sneak them in – Try a spiral slicer and mix some squash into your pasta dishes or throw a handful of spinach into your morning smoothie. This won’t change the taste but will add in some extra nutrients and hydration into your favorite dishes. You can also chop them into small portions and mix them into your burgers or meatloaf. This will add more moisture to your meal and make them juicer and even more delicious!
Grill them up – BBQ season is in full swing and grilling is great way to incorporate more greens. I love loading up my kabobs with sliced vegetables. You can also pick up a grill basket (or make your own by folding up a few pieces of foil and gently poking holes with a fork) and toss sliced veggies directly on the grill. My absolute favorite, though, is grilling sliced pineapple. After you are done with dinner, place pineapple slices on the grill until they are warm on both sides. This will caramelize the natural sugars and make a delicious and healthy dessert!
Have them as dessert – Speaking of dessert, the natural water and sweetness of fruit makes it a perfect end to a summer meal. However, if you want something a little more exciting, use your food processer to blend up frozen bananas into frozen “yogurt.” Or you can blend fresh fruit and freeze them into popsicles for a cool refreshing snack!
Tara Coleman is a Clinical Nutritionist and Salada Tea Spokesperson living in San Diego, CA. She blogs twice a month with “Tara’s Friday Bite.” Leave your comments with ideas for future topics or email Tara directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.