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Want to Improve Your State of Mind this Summer? Eat Healthy
Why is it during the warmest months of the year we tend to fill ourselves with the heaviest foods? In and among all the backyard cookouts and church picnics and fairs, we tend to ingest lots of proteins, carbs, and sugars. What we should be eating are more of the true flavors of summer: fruits and vegetables such as watermelons, strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, and corn on the cob; proteins like fish and grilled chicken; and fresh beverages like lemonade. Indeed, fresh and healthy should be the flavors of summer, even though we always seem to be tempted by corn dogs and funnel cakes.
Eating fresh foods during the summer (and all year ‘round, actually) clearly has obvious effects on our physical health, but how do they affect our mental health? According to Rebecca Clay at the American Psychological Association (APA), the answer is a great deal. In fact, small dietary changes can make a big difference in our bodies and our state of mind. Eating healthy foods can lower stress levels, decrease anxiety, and improve our mood.
So what to eat for summer besides thick steaks off the grill, corn dogs, and cotton candy? Try some of these suggestions to get started.
Go For High Proteins on the Grill
It’s almost expected that backyard grills are reserved only for steaks, hot dogs, and hamburgers during the summer, but there are some other proteins that will be excellent substitutes. Consider grilling chicken breasts or wild salmon -- or even large portobello mushroom caps. The mushroom caps can be served like hamburgers or stuffed with all kinds of other summer favorites such as tomatoes and fresh herbs. You can also stuff chicken breasts and salmon with fresh summer vegetable mixes as well.
Don’t Forget Corn on the Cob
Another great food for the grill is fresh corn on the cob. You can peel back its shuck, coat it with butter and salt and pepper, then put the shuck back on, and place it on the grill. No matter how you grill it, corn on the cob is definitely one of the familiar tastes of summer that’s healthy and can contribute to your better state of mind.
Think Light for Desserts
Ice cream is normally summer’s go-to dessert, but it is high in fat and sugar, plus it is hard to digest. Since you’re trying to avoid those types of food during the season, consider using Greek yogurt as the basis for some light, refreshing treats. Use some of it in combination with some sliced fresh strawberries and crushed graham crackers to make a delicious, nutritious parfait. Or blend some Greek yogurt (or plain yogurt) with blueberries, and some honey and crushed ice to make a refreshing smoothie.
4. Use Fried Food Alternatives
It is easy to admit that fried foods have all kinds of flavor, and, frankly, it wouldn’t be summer without the familiar taste of corn dogs, funnel cakes, and deep-fried foods. However, as the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts states, there are ways to eat healthier without sacrificing taste, mainly by baking our summertime county fair favorites. For example, instead of french fries, you can bake (or even grill) potato wedges. Onion rings are another fried food favorite that can easily be baked. And there’s even a way to create baked corn dogs. These healthier versions of these our favorites are lower in fat but still have the same great taste.
What we eat and drink, especially during the summer months, and how we cope with everything in our lives, especially all the events of a busy summer, all play a role in our state of mental health. Summer eating habits that take advantage of all the fresh tastes of the season can definitely help us achieve a better state of mind.
flavors of summer - https://www.theodysseyonline.com/10-flavors-summer
physical health - https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/eating-healthy-affect-physical-mental-social-health-6972.html
Rebecca Clay - http://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/09/food-mental-health.aspx
lower stress levels - https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition-pictures/how-to-reduce-stress-with-diet.aspx
other proteins - https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/high-protein-foods
hard to digest - http://invorma.com/10-hard-to-digest-foods/
sacrificing taste - https://www.escoffier.edu/blog/culinary-arts/fried-food-substitutes-and-alternatives/
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