It is easy in the summer time for me to grab a bag of chips instead of a healthy snack. I want to stay on track this summer, not just for the way I look, but most importantly for how I will feel. I need more energy to fuel all the hikes, cycling and fun I want to have this summer!

Recently, I spoke with Emma Andrews, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Plant-Based Culinary Professional, and National Educator at Vega. Emma shared with me her top tips on how to get healthy this summer and how to make a super healthy smoothie as a delicious snack, yum!

What is the best strategy for keeping healthy this summer?

It is all about consistency. This includes making healthier choices more often than not, and committing to bounce back when you fall off track.

It also entails being consistent this summer, such as following through on meal planning and food prep time weekly, and intentional grocery shopping. I always have a few recipes in mind when I shop, and then I fill the rest of my basket with local, seasonal ingredients to keep costs sustainable and ensure my diet emphasizes real, whole foods.

You can never go wrong eating whole foods as the foundation to your diet. Fresh, nutrient dense foods help crowd out cravings.

Are there any foods to avoid this summer?

Generally, foods that contain dairy and gluten, as well as refined sugars and food additives such as artificial colours, and preservatives (think sulphites and excess sodium) can irritate your digestive system. This can lead to bloating and fatigue, from sluggish digestion.

Keep drinking lots of water, using fresh herbs and spices for flavor, and focus on getting enough rest each night and fresh air daily in this beautiful warm weather.

Are there foods that will help you stay on track this summer?

Stick to dairy-free, gluten-free, clean whole foods that are rich in protein and fiber. Protein and fiber keep you fuller for longer because they take longer to digest.
Other great clean ideas for satisfying cravings, through high fiber protein, and/or fat content include:

• BBQ Kale Chips
• Cashew Herb Dip with diced vegetable crudité (radishes), snow peas & bell peppers
• Nacho Roasted Chickpeas
• Summer Rolls with Mango, Lime and Mint Dipping Sauce
• Vegan Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

Crowd out cravings with nutrient dense, whole foods will ensure lasting success. No matter what life changes come up, or unforeseen obstacles threaten to throw you off track (as road bumps are inevitable), always return to whole foods as the foundation of your diet.

Using a daily smoothie rich in plant-based proteins and greens is a great method to cover all the nutritional bases and keep you energized throughout the day.

Why are smoothies a healthy snack?

  • Nutrient dense (crowd out cravings)
  • Easy to digest: boosting energy (great for time crunched lifestyles)
  • Great way to cover your bases, all-in-one/all-at-once (build your day on a healthy foundation)

Tips to make the smoothie super healthy?

  • Use fruits with a lower sugar content (such as berries, melons, stonefruits, papaya, apple, pear), watch your portion size (keep it under 1 cup fruit), try and avoid using juice as a base (opt for non-dairy milk, water, coconut water, or chilled tea)
  • Use a plant based protein (easier to digest, clean-no hormones or antibiotics as can be found in dairy/whey, alkaline/contributing factor to maintaining calcium in the bones)
  • Hide your veggies in the smoothies

Tips to make the smoothie a fast healthy option?

  • Have non-perishable coconut water & non-dairy milk on hand (in bulk, or as a pantry staple)
  • Have a great shaker cup! If you need to shake and go (versus blending sometimes)
  • Pre portion frozen fruit in baggies in the freezer
  • Recipe bookmarks on your phone/laptop to access at the grocery store

Your suggestions are always welcome, as I continue on my journey to enjoy life to the fullest. Let’s have the very best 2015!

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