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11 Foods That Taste Better In Summer

11 Foods That Taste Better In Summer

Something about the summer just makes some foods taste better. Sure, some fruits and veggies are only truly in season during the hot months, but the aesthetics of eating outside with the wind in your hair just changes the entire dining experience, and allows you to enjoy food you simply wouldn’t eat in the dead of winter. Most importantly, some of the best summer foods are also the healthiest.

1. Corn

July and August are the go-to days for sweet, buttery corn on the cob. (Of course, if we’re talking healthy, go easy on the butter). Corn goes well by itself, as a side, or in salads and salsas. No matter what month it is, the best time to eat corn is as soon as it’s harvested: as time passes, the sugars that give it that snap slowly turn to starch, and it loses its zing.

2. Blueberries

Blueberries are a sweet treat that can be found pretty much all over the country. They’re a natural source of antioxidants and Vitamin K, and have an incredible amount of health benefits. And they’re healthy on your wallet, too: compared to other berries and most tree fruits, blueberries are fairly inexpensive.

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3. Apricots

Apricots are generally freshest in May, but they don’t last too long unless dried or preserved. Biting into a fresh, juicy apricot is incredibly refreshing; biting into a not-so-fresh one is quite the opposite. However you prepare them, apricots are another source of antioxidants, and are reportedly good for your eyesight. Pick some up while they’re still fresh!

4. Cherries

May is also cherry season, although the West Coast enjoys an earlier harvest. The sweet and tangy fruit also has a wide variety of health benefits, such as arthritis relief and reduced muscle pain. Studies show that cherries might also reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

5. Avocados

Once again, May is the month to jump on the healthy fruit (yes, that big thing in the middle is a seed) bandwagon. Avocado is a soothing addition to salads, and is the main ingredient in healthy, homemade guacamole. Although they are produced year round in more temperate climates, domestically produced avocados are best during the early summer months. A quick peek at the vitamins avocados offer tells more than can possibly be explained here.

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6. Watermelon

I waited much too long to discuss the most obvious summer fruit out there. Made up of 90% (you guessed it) water, the juicy red melon is a great source of hydration on a hot summer day. Not only that, but watermelon contains more cancer-fighting lycopene than tomatoes, and is on the same level as spinach as far as iron content goes. Okay, I’m starting to get hungry…

7. Zucchini

Raw, grilled, or sautéd, zucchini is an incredibly versatile summer veggie that has a wide variety of health benefits. Not only does it contain no cholesterol or fat, but it also contains 35% of the recommended vitamin C intake. My wife has recently made me aware of the magic of zoodles, a substitute for pasta (which will come in handy during those sticky dog days of August).

8. Shrimp

Moving away from fruits and veggies, shrimp is a staple of the summer months. Anyone who’s seen Forrest Gump knows there are a plethora of ways to prepare shrimp. The “fruit of the sea” can be prepared as a light lunch, an appetizer, or part of the featured entree. The little guys are high in protein and iron, and low on calories. Which is good, because you can never have just one or two of them.

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9. Fresh-brewed Iced Tea

You can only truly say you’ve enjoyed iced tea if you’ve prepared it yourself on a hot summer day. The zero-calorie refresher is full of antioxidants, and if you prepare it on your own you can control its sugar capacity. Avoid store-bought teas if you’re trying to find a healthy alternative to juices or sodas; many health-related claims made by popular brands have been proven untrue.

10. Gazpacho

The soup of the summer, the tomato-based meal combines the healthiest vegetables into one bowl of refreshing goodness. Peppers, onions, and cucumbers combine to create a soup that is low on calories, fat, and cholesterol. Definitely not something you’d want on a cold winter day, gazpacho keeps soup-lovers happy throughout the sweltering months of summer.

11. Ice Cream

Why not? If you can’t indulge yourself without worrying about vitamins and cholesterol, what’s the point of getting out of bed? Grab some Ben and Jerry’s and slurp it up before it melts!

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Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Matt Duczeminski

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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