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Using the Bounties of Summer to Follow U.S. Dietary Guidelines

In a former blog this month we discussed the key recommendations of the U. S. Dietary Guidelines. The bountiful harvest of summer is not over yet, and the summer months are a great time to maximize your ability to follow the Dietary Guidelines.

Focus on Variety and Nutrient Density

What better place to find a great variety of nutrient dense foods than at the farmer’s market! Produce is at its peak during the farmer’s market season. Plus, the farmers are often exceptionally knowledgeable about the flavors, textures, and best ways to prepare their offerings, which makes the market a perfect place to try some new foods and add further variety to your eating pattern. Samples abound at the farmer’s market, which makes it still easier to try new foods. While nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables are the stars of the farmers’ markets, whole grains, dairy, and protein offerings often make their appearance as well.

Limit Added Sugars and Saturated Fats by Making Simple Summer Dessert Switches

The Dietary Guidelines advise Americans to “consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.” But summer seams to scream “ice cream” which is most often loaded with saturated fats and added sugars. A healthful alternative that reduces both saturated fats and added sugars can be found by replacing ice cream with sorbet or gelato. You can further reduce saturated fat and sugar by making your own homemade sorbets or frozen yogurt. Try adding fresh berries or peaches to plain yogurt and freeze in an ice cream maker for a cool, sweet, and refreshing treat. You can create popsicles for the kids by freezing sugar free fruit drinks or making a smoothie with fresh fruit and apple juice and freezing in Popsicle containers. Experiment with your favorite fruits to make your own delicious summer desserts.

Support Healthy Eating Patterns for Everyone by Offering Healthful Foods at your Next Barbecue or Summer Party

The last bit of advice from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans focuses on building healthier communities. You can do your part by making the foods you offer at your next summer party healthful and nourishing, rather than calorie-dense and loaded with saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium.

  • Instead of appetizer plates that rely on cheeses and cured meats, make edible centerpieces of fresh fruit and vegetables for everyone to enjoy.
  • If you're grilling, replace burgers and brats with grilled chicken, lean pork or salmon.
  • Replace calorie- and sodium-dense sides like potato salad and French fries. Try grilling fresh veggies such as squash, peppers, and mushrooms. Experiment with colorful vegetable and fruit salads. The combination options are endless.
  • Serve fresh fruit for dessert. For an eye-catching presentation, hollow out a watermelon and fill with cubes of fresh fruit.

  • Nancy Hintze

    About the author

    Nancy Hintze, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, began her career as a Foods and Nutrition teacher in Lehi, Utah in 2003. At the time she began teaching middle school students about nutrition, she weighed 286 pounds. She quickly became aware that if she expected her students to believe her, she had to be an example of what she taught. Over the course of the next several years, as she eliminated 125 pounds by changing what she ate and how she cooked, Nancy became passionate about sharing her healthy lifestyle keys with her students and their families. Along the journey of her transformation, she also became an avid chef with a zest for good old fashioned food preparation with a modern twist – healthy ingredients and ease of preparation.

    Nancy is a licensed Family and Consumer Sciences teacher as well as a certified L.E.A.N Health Coach. She has developed and produced Community Nutrition Fairs, mentored students in the Fuel Up to Play program and accompanied one of her students to represent Utah in the National Fuel Up to Play summit in Washington, D. C. In addition, she has coached individual clients to achieve greater levels of personal wellness. And now we have the privilege of announcing Nancy as our very own Culinary Nutritionist here at Reams.

    When she’s not sharing her passion for great eating with others, you can find her in her vegetable garden, or knitting or sewing, reading a great novel, hanging out with one of her 21 grandchildren or on the road in the RV that she and her husband love to travel in.