For many people, the summer season means spending long days in the sun, enjoying backyard barbecues, and indulging in ice cream and other sweet treats to cool off with. While the hot weather may tempt many of us to abandon a healthy diet, it is still important to keep your well-being in mind.
The good news is that a healthy diet, one consisting of whole grains, doesn’t have to be bland or boring. Whole grains can be consumed and used in many fun recipes to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle during the warmer months.
Whole grains are known for many health benefits like weight maintenance, digestive aid, lower cholesterol, lower and maintain blood pressure and regulate blood sugar. While whole grains are often associated with winter comfort foods like soups, stews and pastas, they are versatile ingredients that can be incorporated into a multitude of meals at any time of year (including summer!).
Here are five easy ways to incorporate more whole grains into your summer diet.
- Bring on the popcorn! Popcorn is a staple carnival and fair snack that is not only delicious, but it’s also a whole grain that is low in calories and high in fiber. Just make sure to skip the extra salt and butter if you really want to reap the health benefits!
- Eat whole grain at a potluck. Opt to bring a whole grain dish to your next summer potluck. These easy chocolate zucchini muffins would be the perfect option, and the kids will never know they’re actually eating vegetables.
- Heat up the grill. Grill up some corn on the cob at next week’s barbecue. According to the Whole Grains Council, corn is considered both a grain and a vegetable, depending on whether it is fresh or dried. Eating more corn is the perfect way to add more nutrients into your diet.
- Eat an afternoon snack. Top a fruit salad or parfait with some whole grain granola for a refreshing and healthy mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
- Enjoy some chips and salsa. Nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer day than a bowl of low-fat corn chips and fresh homemade salsa. It’s a guilt-free snack that’s even packed with essential vitamins and nutrients to help you achieve your healthy lifestyle goals.
Fortunately, it’s easier than you think to eat more whole grains, and chances are you already eating some everyday!