Incorporate healthy foods in summer lifestyle

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 15, 2004

With summer vacation just around the corner, this is an ideal time to incorporate healthier food options into our family’s active lifestyle with minimum prior planning. Summer is a great time to enjoy fun in the sun and to shed some extra pounds that we may have picked up during the winter. We can be a little more active with summer’s daylight savings time and enjoy a afternoon stroll with our family around the neighborhood, parks, and beaches.

In the summer, we have the opportunity to enjoy fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables, making it easier to eat four to five servings of fruits and vegetables that are minimum requirements for a healthy diet. In planning barbecues and picnics, consider substituting fresh raw veggies and fruits for potato chips. Also, fresh fruits can be an excellent choice for a late evening snack.

Salads are brilliant for sunny days – they offer plenty of variety and can be packed up easily for picnics. A quick and easy salad idea that really doesn’t take a lot of preparation is to have a tossed salad with grilled chicken strips for those hot summer days.


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Summertime is just an overall great time for families to be active in outdoor activities like swimming, bicycling, walking, jogging, playing tennis, and spending quality time together. Incorporating healthier eating and habits into your summer lifestyle can improve your health with simple and easy changes.

A residual benefit of substituting healthier food choices in our lifestyle now is that we may continue to choose them in our less active months.

Here are some summer recipes to prepare with your children.

Sleep Bear Pancakes

3 cups prepared pancake batter

60 Teddy Grahams snacks, any flavor

3 cups cut-up assorted fresh fruit (strawberries, bananas, blueberries)

Powdered sugar or pancake syrup (optional)

Spoon prepared pancake batter by 1/4-cupfuls onto lightly greased griddle or large skillet. Lightly press 5 bears into surface of each pancake.

Cook 1 to 2 minutes; turn and cook until golden brown. Repeat using remaining batter and graham snacks.

Top each pancake with 1/4 cup fruit. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Nutrition per serving

Calories 180

Total fat 7g

Saturated fat 1g

Cholesterol 35 mg

Sodium 350 mg

Carbohydrate 27 g

Sugars6 g

Dietary fiber 1 g


4 g

Vitamin A 2% DV

Vitamin C 15% DV

Calcium15% DV

Iron15% DV

Very Berry and Soy Delicious Ice Pops

1 pint blueberries

1 pint strawberries, hulled

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 1/2 cups vanilla soy milk

Puree the blueberries and strawberries in batches in a blender or food processor. Strain into a medium bowl, through a sieve lined with cheesecloth.

Stir brown sugar into berries. Stir in soymilk until well blended. Pour mixture into small paper cups, filling about two-thirds full. Freeze until beginning to firm. Insert wooden sticks and freeze until firm, 2 to 3 hours. Makes 12 servings.

Nutrition per serving

Calories 102

Total Fat1.5 g

Cholesterol0 mg

Sodium33 mg

Total Carbohydrates 21.4 g

Dietary Fiber 1.6 g

Protein 1.9 g


Tamara L. Cross is the community health educator for the Suffolk Health Department. She wrote this article at the request of the Suffolk Healthy Eating & Fitness Task Force. The Task Force is a sub-committee of the Partnership for a Healthy Community. Its mission is to coordinate the resources of the community in a collaborative effort to improve the mental, physical, socio-economic, and spiritual health of all its citizens.

For more information on the Healthy Eating Task Force, contact Virginia Savage at 934-4933.