One of the easiest ways to advance in your fitness goals is to take advantage of the seasonal advantages of the upcoming summer season. Produce is cheaper, everyone is grilling, and there are plenty of reasons to get out of the house. What can you do this summer to get into better shape?
Eat extra vegetables and enjoy fruits
During the summer months, dark, leafy greens and other fibrous green vegetables can be purchased at low prices from grocery stores and local farmers markets. Foods such as dark leaf lettuce (red, green, romaine), broccoli, and asparagus are all very low in calories, high in fiber and nutrient dense. Serving fibrous fresh greens with a lean protein and if you've earned the carbs after a hard workout, maybe a yam, baked potato or brown rice, offers your body a perfect meal.
While most conventional diets aren't particularly high in fruit, there is one you'll see low priced all summer — strawberries.
Dipped in light, low-fat vanilla yogurt, even a few can be a treat. Just 2/3 cup of strawberries offers 2 grams of fiber and 90 percent of the U.S. recommended daily allowance for vitamin C at a cost of only 50 calories. Remember, your hard training body needs more than the typical recommended daily allowance when you are shopping for food.
Use your outdoor grill as often as possible and be sure to grill up some extra chicken or beef patties for meals on the go. Grilled meats offer a special taste for your taste buds if you are accustomed to eating boiled or countertop grilled meats several times a day. Extra meats can be easily thrown on top of a salad or made into healthy stir-fries, too.
Don't limit your grill space to meats alone- you can also grill fresh vegetables, too. Lay asparagus across the grill and sprinkle with garlic salt or lay a piece of foil on the top rack and grill tomatoes, red and green pepper slices, onions, mushrooms or any other vegetable you'd like. At barbecues, stick to the protein, vegetable and undressed salad choices. Unless you've planned to splurge, do your best to avoid over grazing on chips, liquor, brownies and potato salad.
Take advantage of the longer daytime hours to enjoy increased outdoor activity. Run, walk or take works breaks outdoors. Consider hitting for your friend's recreational softball team or walking to a nearby grocery store when you only have a few things to pick up. While not directly a nutritional issue, increasing your daily activity level will greatly affect the outcome of your nutritional success?
Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer and co-owner of Home Team Fitness LLC. Go to www.hometeamfitness.net for more information.