Play hard, eat hardy for summertime fun


Here comes summer!

Memorial Day marks the beginning of the out-of-doors season, and that means cookouts and picnics.

It also means short shorts and bathing suits. Talk about approach-avoidance.

If you're among the folks who are feeling body-conscious, try this for your summer game plan: Love your body.

* Buy comfortable shorts and T-shirts with relaxed coverage, then find a bathing suit consultant who'll help you choose the suit most flattering to your shape.

* Commit to get fit with a flair.

Get out and enjoy the long daylight hours. Run, bike, swim, play tennis or volleyball, hike a few trails, climb some rocks, row a boat or paddle a canoe.

Do it now. Don't wait till you think you're thin enough. Playing outdoors will return your childlike zest and enthusiasm for life. You only go around once. As Barbra Streisand once remarked, "This is no dress rehearsal."

* Energize by eating healthy.

Fill two-thirds of your plate with grains, fruits and vegetables. Add tiny dabs of meat, chicken, fish or shellfish.

Eat a couple of vegetarian meals each week. Strengthen your bones with some skim milk and nonfat yogurt each day.

Use tiny smidgens of butter, margarine, mayonnaise or salad dressing to foods. Have a little dessert once a week.

L Eat when you're hungry; stop when you're not hungry anymore.

* Eagerly attend picnics and cookouts.

BThey're great opportunities to enjoy friends and physical activity at the same time. Don't hold back. Don't be shy. Join right in.

Take along a healthy dish to share. Many people are trying to eabetter and will welcome an alternative to greasy meats and fat-laden snacks. Even folks who choose to indulge in some high-fat summer treats may want to balance with some low-fat fare.

Take along this distinctive rice and bean salad the next time yogo out to play. It's high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. It's cholesterol-lowering and cancer-fighting. It'll fill you up, not out.

Confetti beans and rice salad

Using package directions, cook enough brown rice to make eight cups, then place in a shallow pan in the refrigerator to cool.

Place chilled rice in a large bowl. Drain, rinse, then add on15-ounce can garbanzo beans and one 15-ounce can red kidney beans. Fold in 1/2 cup chopped red onion, 1/4 cup sliced black olives, 1/2 cup chopped celery and 1/2 cup grated carrot. Toss with your favorite nonfat salad dressing; Italian, ranch or Catalina are good.

Return the salad to the shallow pan, then chill overnightTransport in an insulated container with well-frozen ice packs. Keep the salad cold until mealtime to ensure food safety.

Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant to the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center in Baltimore.

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