By Michelle Mitchum –
Welcome to the summer of “Sweet 16,” (2016 that is).
If you are anything like me, you have been working on your summer body all winter (sans the holidays), and the time is near for you to reveal your masterpiece to the world. You are ready to receive all of the compliments that are due you, because while many were hibernating and enjoying the comfort foods of winter, like macaroni and cheese, sweet potato pie, buttered rolls and cornbread stuffing – you were committed to working out five days a week, and eating clean foods like steamed spinach, sautéed kale and baked chicken to ensure that when the summer rolled around you didn’t have to hide a muffin top and back fat.
Not to be confused, summertime is also the season of the Big Gulp Slurpee, ice cream, and barbeque chicken – all of which will destroy the countless hours of cardio, Pilates, yoga, and spin classes that you have invested into your body all winter. And I know you didn’t work as hard as you have all year, just to let a couple of back yard barbeques destroy you.
Explore seasonal workout options such as hiking, rock climbing, swimming and jogging. These are exciting to experience with friends during the warmer months.
We must also discuss nutrition, as it acts as an EVP (executive vice president) to every comprehensive wellness plan. So let us shed light on some of the foods that help you keep your body tight and right so that you can maintain your “summertime fine.”
Be sure to include the following foods to your summer menu.
Cucumbers are made up of 90 percent water, thus they provide your body with extra hydration during the hot days of summer. They are also rich in vitamins C, B, and K, promoting healthy heart and brain function. Cucumbers are low in calories, but dense in fiber – a great combination for those who have concerns about weight management.
Melon and cantaloupe are low in calories and rich in vitamin A, which promote healthy teeth and bones.
Blueberries are the most nutrient dense berries. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, reducing the risk of cell damage and cancer, and maintain brain function and improve memory.
These are just a few of summers’ “beautifoods.” When these flavors are combined and topped with a little crumbled feta, fresh rosemary, drizzle with a little grapeseed oil and a dash of sea salt, viola – your cucumber melon salad will be a hit at your next backyard barbecue.
Here is the recipe to make a delicious cucumber melon salad.
• 2 cucumbers, peeled and finely diced
• 2 cups of mixed diced melon and cantaloupe
• 1 cup of fresh blue berries
• ¼ cup of crumbled feta cheese
• ¼ cup of fresh rosemary
• ¼ cup of grape seed oil
• pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in medium sized serving bowl, chill and serve.
Michelle Mitchum MPH, HHP, is a graduate of Morgan State University, (Baltimore, MD) and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, (New York). She has been featured on Fox Business News, Essence Magazine and is a contributing writer to Heart and Soul Magazine as well as other notable publications. In 2013 she founded the OrangeMoon Holistic Health and Wellness to empower people to make intelligent and informed decisions about their health and to introduce and educate clients on holistic lifestyle alternatives.