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Curb Overeating During Summer Months


The grill is, perhaps, the main reason why many people gain weight during the summer.

It's not just the grilled ribs, steaks, hot dogs and burgers, either. It's the potato and macaroni salads that we pile on the side, and the much-loved ambrosia recipes that wrap normally healthy fruits into a mountain of whipped cream. And it's all those sugary drinks we find refreshing.

But take heart. Your next barbecue doesn't have to pack a punch with extra pounds. Registered nurse Carla Cocco, practical nursing clinical coordinator at Brown Mackie College -- Cincinnati, offers some sensible advice on how to avoid extra calories. "Instead of grilling ribs and sausages, substitute these high-fat meats with chicken, fish or pork. Pork tenderloin is virtually as lean as chicken breast," she says. "It is important, though, to use a meat thermometer to ensure the meat is cooked thoroughly."

In a U.S. government partnership program called the National Food Safety Program, the Food and Drug Administration collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies to promote safe internal cooking temperatures. They recommend minimum internal temperatures of 165 F for poultry, 145 F for salmon, and 160 F for pork.

"You can pull a pork roast from the grill when the temperature is a few degrees lower," says Cocco, "because it needs to sit for 10 minutes before serving. During that time, the internal temperature will rise."

While summer weight gain can be minimized by grilling leaner meats and fish, you can also ward off extra pounds by considering portion size. Chances are, when grazing the food table, you will see plenty of dishes you want to taste.

"We often want to sample everything," says Cocco. "The key here is 'sample.' Take smaller portions of each item. Instead of a half cup of potato salad, take just a quarter cup." Spoon a portion size on to your plate that would fit in the palm of your hand. Then move on. "Portion sizes for meats are even smaller," Cocco adds. "Just 3 to 4 ounces is the recommended serving size."

Substitution is a big summer rule of thumb. "Instead of nibbling on cheese and crackers, try fruit chunks dipped in yogurt," recommends Cocco. "Instead of ice cream treats, give the kids sugar-free popsicles. They're still cool and sweet and contain only about 15 calories."

Substitutions can go a long way toward maintaining a healthy diet. For instance, you can enjoy potato salad with fewer calories by using a vinegar-and-oil-based dressing, like German potato salad. "Adding nuts to the dish provides huge benefits in terms of vitamins and protein," Cocco says. She also suggests drinking water after your first glass of soda, lemonade or wine. "Don't drink your calories, especially when there is so much else to taste," she advises.

Other healthy summer tips focus on activity levels. When attending a barbecue hosted by another, offer to help serve or clean up. When you're busy, you are less likely to eat as much. "After all, you're there to visit with people, not gorge," says Cocco. "You can also park down the street, and walk to the home. Every step counts."

Above all, whether you're the host or a guest, join in on the outdoor fun. Pick up a badminton racket, or get in on a game of horseshoes or volleyball. Even toss a few water balloons. That's what summer is all about.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Categories: Food & Recipes, Health & Wellness, MomShare, Newsletter,

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