A nice snack can come in handy if you’re on a hike, at the ball fields, or relaxing at your house during the long days of summer. Whether you’re an adult, kid, or elder, a small amount of food can mean a lot in regards to your health. Although an over-processed candy bar may make your tummy feel warm and fuzzy, it can leave you feeling sluggish.

This year, reach for something more organic, earth friendly and heart healthy. Beneficial nutrients from fruits and vegetables gives people the energy to finish that summer project or an athlete that second wind. Living a healthier lifestyle will not only benefit someone’s life, it’ll impact their family’s as well. 

For individuals with diabetes, eating healthier snacks is essential and can help reduce the need of medications.

“For diabetes control you have to keep your blood sugars more even throughout the day,” explained Torie Fuller, MS RD/LD and Healthy Heart Initiative Dietitian at CPN Wellness Center. “You don’t want to have huge meals; you want to have smaller, more rounded meals with two healthy snacks. Portion control is what you want to pay attention to and overeating is a complication to your health.” 

One idea to keep you cool this summer is to throw those fruits and vegetables in the fridge or freezer. Frozen grapes, chilled cucumber soup and salsa can be healthy and delicious options. Rainbow fruit skewers, consisting of blueberries, grapes, pineapples, oranges, and strawberries on a skewer, can be fun for kids to build while teaching them about eating healthy.

Not only is snacking on healthy foods important, drink choices are just as essential to living a healthier lifestyle. Staying hydrated in the dead of summer is critical, and water is the best way to keep weight off while feeling great. Try adding mint or lemon zest to water to give it some added flavor. Also, having un-sweetened tea this summer will earn brownie points in the health department.

This summer, “keep it local” and explore your neighborhood farmers market. A healthy life starts with healthy snacks.

For more information on great recipes and ideas to live a healthier life visit www.recipefinder.nal.usda.gov and www.choosemyplate.gov/healthyeating.