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As family vacations, backyard gatherings and kid’s outdoor activities pick up during summer months, it’s important to stay on track with good nutrition. When schedules heat up right along with the weather, here are some tips for healthy eating. Visit our Facebook page and share your favorite, healthy summer recipes!

1. Preview your camper’s menu: Summer camp may not adhere to the same nutrition guidelines as your child’s school. Check ahead with the summer program where your child will be eating to learn what types of meals or snacks are served. If you prefer, pack a healthy lunch with lean meats, raw vegetables and fresh fruit.

2. Reach for water: Sitting in the car for long periods of time can make it tempting to drink soda, with its extra calories and added sugar. Instead, pack water (flavored or regular), fat-free or lowfat (1%) milk and small portions of 100% juice to quench your thirst.

3. Stay cool and crisp: Keep a variety of colorful veggies on hand that are cool and crunchy for a treat, such as baby carrots, celery sticks and slices of cucumber or bell pepper.

4. Mix it up: Make your own trail mix using your favorite unsalted or lightly salted nuts, seeds and unsweetened dried fruits. Keep your servings to 1.5 ounces or 1/3 cup.

5. Enjoy fruity freshness: Blend your favorite, in-season fresh fruits with fat-free or low-fat, plain yogurt and ice for a refreshing drink, or freeze and eat it with a spoon for a cool way to chill off. Try plain Greek yogurt mixed with fresh berries and a touch of honey and for a healthy dessert alternative.

6. Get road ready: For picnics and trips, plan ahead to pack healthy snacks like bite-sized veggies, fresh fruit, cheese cubes and nuts. Get the kids involved by asking them to help plan and pack the picnic. Nestle veggie sticks, fruit, homemade trail mix, yogurt and sandwiches among ice packs to keep food cold.

7. Limit the sweet stuff: Carnivals and fairs can be mainstays for candy apples and funnel cakes.  Remember to balance the sweet stuff with healthy alternatives, and when you’re hot and thirsty, keep sweetened beverages to a minimum by opting instead for thirst-quenching water.

8. Be aware when you grill:  Grilling is a popular summer tradition, but when fat from grilled foods catches fire, chemicals known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HAs) can form and stick to the surface of the food, causing changes in DNA that may increase your risk of cancer. Although there is no definitive link yet between PAHs, HAs and cancer, data from a National Cancer Institute survey of more than 300,000 people suggest an increased risk of colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancer in people who often ingest charred sections of well-done and barbecued meats. To ensure your grilled foods are as healthy as possible, grill only lean cuts of meat, trim all visible fat before grilling and avoid overcooking or charring. Well-done grilled meats contain higher levels of potentially harmful HAs, compared with meat that is medium (160° F).   Marinating your meat before grilling can also cut down on the PAHs and HAs produced when grilling.

9. Try grilling fruits: Whether pineapple slices, nectarines, peaches or plums, the natural sugars give them great flavor.

10. Take a fast-food vacation: Trade parking at fast-food restaurants for picnics at the park or beach. Take a pass on the hotdog stand and instead, load the cooler with healthy alternatives like turkey sandwiches or light salads.