July is the center of summer and by now we have been firing up the grill, packing for picnics, and trying to stay hydrated as the heat index rises. Follow these simple tips to keep your summer healthy.
- Grilled foods can be harmful if not thoroughly cooked. The only reliable method to ensure meat is safe and ready to eat is to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer and follow this internal temperature guide.
· steak veal, lamb, pork chops: 145 degrees
· ground meat (beef, pork, lamb): 160
· poultry (chicken, turkey): 165
· fish: 145 (or until opaque and easily separates with fork)
· ground poultry (turkey and chicken): 165
- Keep your cooler cool. Even an insulated cooler can’t keep food cold for long. Pack your cooler ¾ of the way full of food, reserve ¼ space for ice packs. Pack cold and hot food separately. Finally, keep your cooler in a shaded area, or under a tree.
- We all know the health benefits of blueberries and strawberries due to their rich flavonoid content. In addition to heart health benefits, berries have anti-cancer effects by inhibiting tumor growth and decreasing inflammation. Visit your local farms and enjoy a day of berry picking.
- Your body needs an ongoing water supply throughout the day – especially in extreme hot temperatures. And, it is not just the water bottle that counts towards keeping you hydrated, but foods can supple some of your daily water needs. Enjoy these water-rich foods to beat the heat:
· Crisp lettuce
· Low-fat milk and yogurt
Penny Matel, RDN, LDN, ACSM-CPT, ACE-AHFS