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Healthy dieting tips for the summer

Stephanie Sanchez is a graduate student employee and registered dietitian at the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center on the Coral Gables campus. Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami

By Ashley A. Williams

Stephanie Sanchez is a graduate student employee and registered dietitian at the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center on the Coral Gables campus. Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami

Healthy dieting tips for the summer

By Ashley A. Williams
Registered dietitian Stephanie Sanchez shares realistic, healthy ways to get you on track and headed towards your summer weight and fitness goals.

Between vacations and barbeques, it’s easy to let the summer months pass by without hitting the gym regularly. Being on the move during the warmer months, typical snacking can often take the place of nutritious meals.

Stephanie Sanchez, a graduate student employee and registered dietitian at the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center at the University of Miami, shares some tips for a healthier lifestyle to help you stay on track and reach your summer body goals without partaking in risky diet fads. She’s focused on having her clients create a long-term sustainable eating pattern, not just something to do for the next couple of weeks.

Healthier on-the-go snacks

Now that the sun is out, fresh produce is at its peak. It’s the perfect time to indulge in the best fruits and vegetables that nature has to offer.

“Fruits like bananas, oranges, even berries are great for on-the-go snacking,” said Sanchez, who is currently pursuing her master’s degree in nutrition and exercise physiology. “So, too, are vegetables like celery sticks and carrots, combined with a healthy fat like peanut butter or hummus.”

Sanchez said if you’re worried about your fruit or veggies getting squished, pack a variety of nuts instead.

“Nuts provide everything from fiber, protein, fats, and carbs all in one,” said Sanchez, who is passionate about helping others achieve their wellness goals through real food and evidence-based nutrition. “If you want something sweeter, you can throw in some dark chocolate or dried fruit. You can get pretty creative with creating your own trail mix.”

Focus on the good carbs

The ketogenic diet has become one of the most popular and effective ways to lose weight. The high-fat, adequate protein, and low-carbohydrate diet has been the subject of critics, however. Sanchez recommends focusing on the “good” carbs, like vegetables, and not totally ridding your body of them.

“When someone comes to me and asks me about their macronutrient breakdown I always say 50 percent of your diet can be carbs,” said Sanchez. “You can still have things like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice. Just choose the complex carbs versus the refined carbs.”

For instance, when indulging in pasta, chose chickpea pasta instead, or when making your favorite sandwich go for a whole grain bread as opposed to white bread.

Mindful eating

It’s important to practice mindful eating practices. By following your normal satiety queues, you’re going to feel satiated sooner rather than later when you follow these rules:

  • Listening to your body and stopping when you are full
  • Not eating alone in front of the television but rather with others, at a set time and place
  • Eating when your body tells you to eat, not when your emotions tell you to eat

“It’s fine to have those pizza cravings,” said Sanchez. “Just be mindful by making sure you have a green juice or salad beforehand and then go for the pizza slices. You will find that you won’t want as many slices as you thought.”

Stay hydrated with water

It’s common knowledge that drinking enough water is important for your health. Experts recommend drinking at least eight glasses of water per day. Sanchez said staying hydrated will help you decipher when you’re actually hungry versus if you’re just thirsty.

“If you’re used to having sweetened beverages like iced tea or soda, cutting those out can lead to weight loss over time,” said Sanchez.

The Herbert Wellness Center offers nutrition consultations for students, faculty, staff, and community members who are interested in making improvements to their current eating habits. For more information visit its website.