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8 Healthy Eating Hacks You Gotta Try This Summer

Skip the decadence in favor of feel-good deliciousness this season




Skip the decadence in favour of feel-good deliciousness this season

The sun comes out, patios unfurl their umbrellas and your toes gratefully wiggle back into sandals and flip-flops: summer! It’s the time of year when you want to feel and look your best, for everything from tossing a Frisbee at the park to jogging or lounging on the beach.

But those refreshing frosées and cold beers, plus tempting hot dogs and ribs, can send you on an unwanted detour from your health and fitness goals. Whether you’re following a tailored diet—from paleo or keto to gluten- or sugar-free—or embracing moderation, there’s no shortage of clever ways to keep your summer eating and drinking regime as light as you’ll feel soaking up those sun beams. The trick is to do it without sacrificing flavour, and without giving up summer fun.

Here are eight tips to help you hack your way to a healthier, more delicious summer…

1. Dress with less

Creamy potato, pasta and Caesar salads are warm weather staples—but what about all that decadent mayonnaise and sour cream? Try substituting half (or more) of it with high protein Greek yogurt, healthy-fat avocado or even homemade hummus that’s light on the olive oil and tahini. They’ll all bind a salad with a lovely creamy texture and add their own tasty spin, without leaving you feeling weighed down.

2. Swap beers for lower calorie beverages

Sure, you drink water all day to beat the heat; but when happy hour rolls around, you’ll want to share a toast! If you’re seeking a cool bevvy with nothing to hide, a low-cal vodka drink is your new best friend. Try a mixer pack of made-in-Canada SoCIAL LITE Vodka Sodas. Every flavour delivers a burst of natural fruit taste with a smooth and clean finish. They’re also the lowest calorie vodka soda on the market, with only 80 calories per can. Choose from an array of vibrant natural flavours like Field Strawberry, Grapefruit Pomelo, Lime Ginger and Blood Orange. There’s no shortage of options!

If you’ve jumped on the boozy tea bandwagon, check out their Spiked Lemon and Peach Iced Teas. The best thing about all SoCIAL LITE’s products is that they have zero sugar and zero sweetener, so you can keep it light and refreshing on those steamy summer days. Pair them with rainbow-hued fruit kebabs for a bright and fun cocktail hour.

3. Get your grill on

Cooking shows and videos have taught us to use a hefty swirl of EVOO or a big pat of butter when cooking. An alternative to stove top frying or sautéing is to barbecue. Foods cooked on a clean, hot grill need just a slick of oil or cooking spray to develop pro cross-hatch marks, smoky flavour and crisp texture. Use fresh herbs or dried spices and soy- or miso-based marinades to boost taste before grilling. Bonus: you won’t be heating up the kitchen.

4. Become a countertop gourmet

Speaking of the kitchen, you don’t need to stay out of it all summer—takeout calories add up fast! Get out the Crock Pot or Instant Pot or plug in the toaster oven. A pot of beans or a comforting curry can be slow-cooked on the countertop just like chili or pulled pork. You can also crisp up quesadillas or cook baked eggs (easier than poached!) in the toaster oven without heating up your entire home.

5. Pass on pasta

Forget about boiling water when it’s sweltering outside. In the grocery store produce section, you can find thin ribbons of zucchini or butternut squash “noodles,” or buy a spiralizer to whip up your own (you can even make them out of carrots!) After just a quick steam in the microwave or a fast sauté with cooking spray, toss them with a dash of pesto and dusting of parmesan for a satisfyingly healthy summer meal.

6. Chip away

The potato chip table is the danger zone for anyone trying to eat lighter at summer gatherings. Combat this by making healthier crisp snacks from veggies. A countertop dehydrator works great, but so does the microwave. Tear bite-size pieces of kale or use a mandolin to make thin, even slices of summer zucchini; spread evenly on a microwave-safe plate; lightly spray with cooking oil and sprinkle with sea salt; then microwave for around two minutes for kale and up to six minutes for zucchini, checking and turning halfway through.

7. Veg out

Do you observe Taco Tuesday? Eschew tortillas for lighter lettuce wraps. Use leaves from a head of crunchy iceberg or romaine to wrap up your favourite lean ground beef, tofu or shrimp taco filling. For a fresh spin, lightly coat your favourite protein-and-veggie filling with hoisin sauce and dip the wraps in peanut sauce.

8. Freeze! It’s a stick-up

Summer makes us crave popsicles, slushies and other frozen treats that are usually loaded with sugar. Instead, why not make frozen treats part of an extra refreshing happy hour? Try making these super easy spiked DIY ‘zipsicles‘ or popsicles. Blend one can of SoCIAL LITE Vodka with one cup of frozen fruit, pour into freezie bags or popsicle molds and freeze. They’re highly portable, meaning you can toss them in a cooler and take them to the beach (or wherever else your adventures take you this summer). 

For a non-alcoholic version, slice a small watermelon into long, popsicle-sized strips (use the watermelon rind as a firm edge/base), stick a chopstick in each and freeze.