Wednesday, June 27, 2012

summer essentials: food

it's no secret that i seriously love to eat.  thank god i'm a college athlete or i probably would be a candidate for some tv show called under twenty and morbidly obese.  that's how much i love food.  swimming not only allows me to train constantly, but it has taught me to be very mindful of what i put in my body and incredibly disciplined in what i eat.  i feel much better at workouts and throughout the day when i eat balanced, healthy meals.  

i fully believe in the "everything in moderation" mantra and allow myself to have indulgences.  but i think summer makes it really easy to eat healthy.  in the winter i crave comfort foods like mac and cheese, big plates of pasta, and cookies.  basically, if it's warm and soft and gooey, i want it in my body.  in the summer, on the other hand, i love light foods.  fresh salads and fruits are my daily staples.  
here are some of my top favorite foods for summer:
all pictures are from a google image search.

1.  Shrimp:  After I stopped being a vegetarian and began adding chicken into my life, I couldn't stand shrimp.  I actually hated it.  Lately though, it's been one of my favorite foods and I eat it about twice a week in the summer.  It's perfect grilled or with cocktail sauce.  I love shrimp salads or shrimp on salad.  Plus, shrimp has all kinds of healthy benefits, like helping you beat cancer and shed pounds.  All things which I am all for. 

2.  Cherries:  I actually use cherries to satisfy my sugar cravings at night.  They're one of my favorite fruits and I'm so happy they're in season.  You can eat them plain or indulge and make a cherry pie.  They're full of antioxidants and they can even help your brain AND help you sleep.  A food that helps me sleep better and makes me smarter?  Sign me up! 

3.  Salads:  I eat a salad for lunch and sometimes dinner too in the summer.  You can have so many different variations of salads that it's hard to pick sometimes.  You can go for a fruity version with spinach and strawberries.  Pasta salads make great summer side dishes.  Use summer favorites like corn and blueberries for this salad.  Or try this class basil and tomato salad (it's one of my favorites).
4.  Ice Pops:  To this day I will credit ice pops to helping me lose the five pounds I gained when I was injured this year.  I eat them at night when I'm craving ice cream. They're usually around fifty-eighty calories, which is nothing compared to the two hundred or so calories some Ben and Jerry's will have.  I'm not gonna lie when I say I love the generic grocery store Fla-vor-ice pops (they remind me of my childhood).  I also love the Whole Fruit bars, especially the coconut, which are creamy just like ice cream.  If you're being adventurous you can even make your own!  Zoku has a great popsicle maker. 

5.  Tacos:  I love, love, love chicken tacos with guacamole and salsa. Avocados prevent breast cancer and help against strokes. You can also make an awesome shrimp taco that tastes perfect for the summer.
6.  Peaches:  You can grill the peaches to eat on a salad.  You can even make a dressing for your salad out of peaches.  Personally, I love my peaches mixed in with oatmeal for breakfast or with honey for dessert.  

what are your favorite summer foods?

you can check out the first post about beauty in the summer essentials series here.

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