HEALTHY SUM­MER FOODS

What to eat to make the most of the sea­son and what to avoid.

Metro USA (Boston) - - FRONT PAGE - KATE MOONEY @yat­in­brook­lyn kate.mooney@metro.us

Sum­mer is a time to wan­der farmer’s mar­kets, have pic­nics in the park and re­lax at bar­be­cues. What do all three of those ac­tiv­i­ties have in com­mon? Eat­ing. While ev­ery­body knows burg­ers and hot dogs aren’t the best for you, when it comes to other culi­nary op­tions we as­so­ciate with the sum­mer, mak­ing the health­i­est choice isn’t al­ways as ob­vi­ous.

Kayleen St. John, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of nu­tri­tion at Euphebe, sug­gests her fa­vorite sum­mer pro­duce and tells us what “healthy” sum­mer­time foods we’d do bet­ter to avoid.

Sea­sonal pro­duce

“I love any fresh green in the sum­mer for a light-feel­ing salad,” says St. John. The next time you’re at the farmer’s mar­ket, ex­plore the bounty of leafy greens — what­ever’s fresh and lo­cal will have more an­tiox­i­dants, she says.

St. John also goes for radishes, which are an­tiox­i­dant-rich, Vi­ta­min C pow­er­houses. And don’t toss the radish greens — you can chop them up to add to a salad, or sautee with gar­lic and olive oil for a veg­gie side.

Fruit-wise, cher­ries are a sum­mer treat that are also high in potas­sium and can help al­le­vi­ate bloat.

St. John loves sum­mer zuc­chi­nis be­cause their high water con­tent makes them a hy­drat­ing choice for the sum­mer. She rec­om­mends mak­ing a zuc­chini gaz­pa­cho, blend­ing the veg­etable with onion, olive oil, cashews, basil and lemon juice, served chilled.

Go easy on the juice

“A fruit or veg­gie juice may seem like a ‘light’ lunch op­tion come sum­mer­time, but th­ese juices can be a down­fall,” she ex­plains. They won’t fill you up and they could cause a blood sugar/in­sulin spike. Go for smooth­ies in­stead — to keep the sugar down, add less than one cup of fruit and in­stead fo­cus on fiber-rich greens and pro­tein via nuts or seeds.

Be wary of “healthy” ice cream re­place­ments

You’ve prob­a­bly heard of trendy ice cream al­ter­na­tives such as Halo Top or Arc­tic Zero. They have fewer than 300 calo­ries a pint, but that doesn’t mean they’re good for you. “Th­ese usu­ally con­tain pre­bi­otic fibers and sugar al­co­hols, two in­gre­di­ents known to cause gas and bloat­ing,” St. John ex­plains. Halo Top con­tains the sugar al­co­hol ery­thri­tol.Both ice creams con­tain hard-to-di­gest fibers: chicory root in Arc­tic Zero, and un­spec­i­fied di­etary fiber in Halo Top. “When in doubt, stick to a whole-food in­gre­di­ent list,” she ad­vises.

The lowdown on meats

While sub­bing in tofu or turkey dogs might seem like a low-calo­rie al­ter­na­tive at a sum­mer bar­be­cue, they’re of­ten so highly pro­cessed, you’re bet­ter off with the real thing, says St. John. In gen­eral, watch out for meats you throw on the grill. Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Can­cer In­sti­tute, an­i­mal prod­ucts cooked over an open flame re­lease chem­i­cals that may in­crease the risk of can­cer.

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