July 29, 2008

Light Favorites: Food That Hits the Spot on a Hot Summer Day

By Patricia Michael, The Times West Virginian, Fairmont

Jul. 29--When the temperature says 93, there's no better way to cool off than to indulge in a refreshing summer treat (and some air conditioning).

So what items to people usually go for?

When one thinks of summer food, it typically consists of firing up the grill with hot dogs and hamburgers, drinking sweet lemonade, and finishing it off with some old-fashioned ice cream. But summer food doesn't always have to consist of a high fat content and thousands of calories. There are plenty of ways to eat great and still look good in that swimsuit this season.

Soda pop, cheeseburgers, French fries, hoagies, ice cream, pepperoni rolls, pizza, deviled eggs, and macaroni salad. Sound delicious? Of course. Many teens love to eat these types of food, especially during the summer months. Cookouts and barbecues fancy these dishes on special occasions, whereas restaurants, fast-food restaurants, concession stands and amusement parks carry these items regularly. When surrounded by bad food options, it can be hard to see the good.

NMHS student Kayla Rock says, "I work in an ice cream shop, so I'm surrounded by it three or four times a week. It makes it hard to resist, but I still love ice cream."

At the beginning of the swimsuit season, it appears that many teens start dieting in order to obtain that brilliant beach body. With a balanced diet and good exercise routine, one shouldn't have to go on any sort of crash diet.

"I think people who start those crazy crash diets for summer are just hurting themselves. There's way too many temptations out there," comments Rock.

But there are more and more healthy options that appear every day. Many fast food restaurants offer some type of alternative to French fries and soda with a meal, such as a side of fruit and milk to drink. Instead of having a high-calorie sugary drink, opt for milk, juice or better yet just water. Ensure that you receive plenty of fruits and vegetables by replacing cookies or candy with a healthy fruit or vegetable. Here is a recipe for a fruit dip that is low in calories, but still tastes delicious.

1 8 oz. container plain lowfat yogurt

1 12 oz. container Light Cool Whip

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

10-12 packets artificial sweetener

Mix everything together and chill for about an hour. Use with any fruit you'd like.

One can still have the occasional hot dog or can of soda pop, just be sure to eat in moderation and keep it balanced.

In the meantime, don't forget that summer food can still taste great and be good for one, too!


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