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5 No-Fail Summer Eating Tips


Disclaimer: I’m a spokesperson on behalf of StarKist. As always, all opinions are my own. Read my disclosure statement here.

Summertime is the perfect time to regroup, reset or recharge. It’s a great time to shift into a different gear, to reconnect with loved ones (and yourself), and to get organized. If you’re like me, you’ll take some time this summer to actually do some of the things you couldn’t do or meant to do all year—maybe you’ll cook more, or head to the beach or the park for that long walk or bike ride or take a fitness class you’ve been talking about. (My summer splurge: a six-week novel writing college course…and I’m loving it!)

Whatever summer means to you, whether that’s taking time off from work or school to travel, to swim in the ocean or toss a ball or frisbee on a beach, to hike, or to read that book that’s been collecting dust on your bedside table, it’s likely your eating and other routines will change. For some, this can be a good thing. But for others, the lack of routine or structure can throw off even the most healthful and mindful eating habits. At worst, it can contribute to excessive in-between meal noshing, skipping meals, or overeating, especially at the many BBQs, dinner parties, and food-centric events that mark summer.

To help you maintain a sane, realistic, nourishing, and delicious eating routine this summer, here are five no-fail tips for healthy snacks and meals. Feel free to tweak them to meet your unique nutrition needs and eating style.

Create your own GPS. In order to get to the finish line, you need to know where you’re going! When it comes to eating, a good place to start is with current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Visit to see your daily food group needs based on age, gender, and stage of life and to map out a basic day of eating for yourself. A typical woman who consumes 1,600 calories daily would aim for the following each day: 5 ounce-equivalents whole grains, 2 cups vegetables, 1.5 cups fruit, 3 cups dairy, 5 ounces protein foods, 5 teaspoons oil, and up to 120 empty calories (e.g. added sugars and solid fats).

Amp up in the a.m. Eating a meal within an hour or so of waking up is a great way to prepare your body and brain for an active day. Studies also suggest that eating breakfast, even something as simple as a low fat yogurt with fruit, a half banana topped with some natural peanut butter, or a hard-boiled egg and an apple, is linked with long-term weight management. Some great grab-and-go, mix-and-match options to keep on hand include fresh fruit, dried or frozen fruit (with no sugar added); nuts, seeds, and nut butters; reduced and low fat and nonfat dairy foods (milk, cheese, and yogurt); and high fiber, low sugar whole grain cereals and crackers.

Power on with protein foods. Small portions of protein rich foods like lean meat, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, nuts and seeds, and soy products provide energy and fill you up. Protein foods also provide building blocks for everything from bones and muscles to skin, enzymes, and hormones. Including something as simple as tuna (my favorite is the StarKist Albacore White Tuna pouch) atop a salad, whole wheat toast or whole grain crackers as part of a meal or mid-day snack provides protein, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and other vital nutrients. You can keep it in your pantry or purse or drawer for a portable, no-mess, easy to eat addition to any meal or snack.



Color your world. Summer is the perfect time to make a splash with colorful, hydrating, filling produce. Some ideas: pair cucumber slices or pepper strips with a low- or nonfat yogurt dip or guacamole for a mid-day snack or dinner appetizer; sauté cut up tomatoes, eggplant, and onion to serve alongside lean beef, fish, or skinless poultry for lunch or dinner (and use leftovers to fill an omelet in the a.m.); sprinkle half cup mixed fresh fruit (e.g. sliced cantaloupe and strawberries, and whole blueberries) with a pinch of cinnamon for dessert.

Go easy. If you find yourself going for that spontaneous ice cream cone or cocktail, forget the guilt and enjoy yourself! Savor it, enjoy it, mind your portions, and cut back on empty calorie foods the next day.

What are some of your favorite healthy summer meals? Share yours below.

Disclaimer: I’m a spokesperson on behalf of StarKist. As always, all opinions are my own. Read my disclosure statement here.


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About The Author

Elisa Zied is a nationally recognized registered dietitian nutritionist, author, speaker, and spokesperson. A trusted source of food, nutrition, and health information, Elisa has garnered millions of media impressions, lending her expertise and real-world perspective to dozens of TV shows, web sites, news organizations and magazines. She’s the author of four nutrition books and is currently working on her first novel. You can find her previous Food, Fitness & Fiction posts here and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook.

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