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Rest, beach, dining, and lots of fun…this is what people think of when they think of summer vacation. Unfortunately though, for most people summer is also synonymous with neglecting healthy eating habits. Of course, we all indulge (including myself) from time to time on vacation, and that is great! However, summertime shouldn’t be a free-for-all, in general, we should try to stick to our healthy eating habits and balanced diets.
If you are someone who oftentimes goes to the beach bar during summer, pay close attention to what you’re ordering because most of these kinds of restaurants serve a lot of fried and battered dishes, meaning empty calories and they are usually ultra-processed. Some examples: beer, industrial ice cream, french fries, Spanish croquetas…
Although it may not seem easy, among all those dishes on the menu you can find some healthy options. Here are my favorites:
Appetizers at the Beach Bar
For many of us, this is our favorite moment of the day. So, make the most of it and set aside the croquetas, french fries, patatas bravas, and the bread basket and order a seafood appetizer instead. Seafood is loaded with proteins of high biological value and hardly contain any carbohydrates or saturated fats. Another of its advantages, especially if we choose mollusks such as clams, octopus, or mussels, is its high iron content.
Just make sure your dish isn’t fried or battered in sauce. Ideally, it should be steamed, grilled, or raw with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Another appetizer I love is olives, as well as being a source of healthy fatty acids, they are high in polyphenols and help strengthen the immune system. I also enjoy raw, unsalted nuts as a snack because their protein, folic acid, and healthy fatty acids provide a powerful source of energy which is what I want to make the most of my summer day.
For starters, Vegetables
Gazpacho (a cold tomato soup), salads, or grilled vegetables are all great options because not only do they help keep us hydrated thanks to their water content but they also are filling which keeps us from overeating during a meal and also keeps us full for longer so we are less likely to snack throughout the afternoon. They also are full of vitamins minerals, fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants
Watch out for the dressings! The best and healthiest way to dress your salad is with a light vinaigrette, spices, olive oil, or a homemade yogurt or mustard sauce. Avoid mayonnaise, balsamic vinegar, caesar dressing…
A Good Blue Fish Dish
Beach bars typically give us the opportunity to enjoy the taste of fresh fish. Tuna, sardines, salmon, anchovies, bonito are some of my favorites.
Tuna, sardines, salmon, anchovies, and bonito are all rich in Omega 3 fatty acids that help lower bad cholesterol -LDL- and inflammation, raise good cholesterol -HDL-, and improve the skin. If you want to find out more, don’t miss this post.
I love the Beach Bar grill. For me, this is one of the healthiest and tastiest ways to enjoy a good fish. Who said that eating healthy has to be boring and tasteless?
The Dreaded Beach Bar Dessert
A piece of fruit is really your best choice compared to the traditional desserts on the menu (custard, flan, or ice cream...) as these are loaded with sugar and sweeteners. It is always better to opt for a peach or a good slice of watermelon or melon.
An alternative could also be some yogurt, just make sure that it is a natural greek yogurt with no added sugar.
Switch Out Alcohol
I know, it’s hard to say no to a cold beer from the beach bar, but I suggest trying to open up to a fresh idea and look beyond the tap by trying some of the delicious healthy drinks that exist today.
Iced herbal infusions and flavored waters are always present on my table. They help to keep our hydration levels up and keep us away from the harmful effects of alcohol (dehydration, drowsiness…), which are further aggravated when consumed in high temperatures.