Smarter Choices for Your Summer Diet

Staff Writer
Smarter Choices for Your Summer Diet

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Eat healthy this summer.

The Fourth of July is behind us but summer has just begun, bringing with it an onslaught of barbecues that will add more damage to your waistline than you might like. How can you beat the summer calories? Meet NuVal.

Click here to see 10 Ways to Slim Down Your Summer Cookout (Slideshow)

Developed by Dr. David Katz and a team of independent scientists, NuVal Nutritional Scoring is a food scoring system that helps you learn a food’s nutritional value in one glance. Based on a scoring system of 1 to 100, 100 being the highest nutritional value, NuVal makes it easy for you to know what you’re consuming without being bogged down by nutritional label reading.

"Consider it a GPS system for food shopping," says resident NuVal nutrition expert Elizabeth Anderson, who goes on to explain that the NuVal nutritional system is available in more than 1,600 grocery stores nationwide. Why is it a great shopping tool? Because the NuVal nutritional rating is available right on the label hanging in the grocery store aisle. Along with grocery stores, the NuVal system is making its way into hospitals and schools in an effort to fight the obesity epidemic plaguing the country.

"It’s just a simple and easy way to trade up and feel better about yourself," Anderson adds. So what to do if NuVal’s system isn’t available in your grocery store yet? There’s plenty of information to access on NuVal’s website, but Anderson encourages "putting some heat" on your local grocery store to install the NuVal system into their aisles as well.

Along with using NuVal’s scoring system, Anderson offers some key pieces of advice when barbecuing this summer. For her, it’s all about the trade-offs, with just a few simple sacrifices helping to make sure you’re eating your best this summer.

One of the biggest pitfalls of summer dining? It’s the grill. While Anderson stresses it’s not the process but the ingredients, grilling adds extra sodium and calories to your meal that you might not expect. Here are some of her best pieces of advice for how to avoid the extra calories when grilling this summer:

  • Marinades: Marinades count for most of the extra calories you’re ingesting when grilling, so Anderson suggests using vinegar-based marinades or ones made with healthy oils.
  • Fish: High in omega-3 acids and low in fats, fish is a great addition to your grilling regimen without the cost of calories.
  • Vegetables: Vegetables make great alternatives to high-fat meats, especially meatier varieties like portobello mushrooms and baked potatoes.
  • Substitutions: With all of the vegetarian selections available today, there’s no reason not to try a few alternatives, like a tofu dog instead of a hot dog or a veggie burger instead of ground beef.
  • Alternative meats: If you just can’t do without your meats, Anderson suggests ground turkey breast or bison meat, both having less fat than red meat.

While you may not be ready to put down the beef hot dog in exchange for tofu this summer, NuVal’s simple approach to nutrition is a quick and easy way to make smart decisions about your diet this summer. For more information, visit NuVal’s website and find out what grocery stores offer their scoring system near you. Enjoy some a couple of Anderson's recipes this summer that use NuVal's scoring to convert American staples into healthy alternatives.

Grandma Wood's Potato Salad
"This health-conscious version of an American staple takes some easy shortcuts to cut back..." - Elizabeth Anderson

Turkey Burgers Recipe
"With the help of some vegetarian staples, these turkey burgers are as meaty and fulfilling..." - Elizabeth Anderson

Originally published July 5, 2012