5 junk-food habits to beat this summer

Summer is a great time to make changes to your diet. Fresh, appetizing produce at grocery stores and in farmer’s markets makes starting the habit of avoiding junk food and eating right just that much easier to form.

Here are some common summer junk food habits and how to substitute:

French fries

Make your own version: spray a cooking sheet with non-stick spray coating. Cut four baking potatoes lengthwise into 12 pieces. Toss with one tablespoon of olive oil and your choice of seasonings – try garlic salt, Tex-Mex seasoning mix, or onion powder. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees Farenheit for 25-30 minutes or until crispy. This works great with sweet potatoes as well.

Potatoes mashed with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and non- or low-fat milk with gravy

Baked potato topped with low-fat sour cream, low-fat cheese, chives, and tomatoes

Ice Cream

Try frozen yoghurt or low-fat ice cream instead

Make your own popsicles: blend frozen fruit and non-fat yoghurt in the blender; freeze in popsicle makers or paper cups with plastic wrap on top and a stir-stick poked through

Buy a bag of frozen fruit a eat frozen; dip in chocolate sauce for an extra-rich treat

Soda Pop

Add unsweetened fruit juice to club soda (check for the kind with no sodium) instead

Make your own iced tea (so you control the sugar); consider using decaffinated tea bags or herbal tea

Blend up ice and unsweetened fruit juice for a virgin dacquiri-type drink

Potato chips

Choose pretzels or unbuttered popcorn instead; rice crackers are another option, although they can be an aquired taste

Try pita bread (or mini-pitas) with hummus

A tray of crisp veggies and low-fat dip can seem just as festive

Cake and pastries

Try angel food cake topped with fresh fruit

Substitute apple or peace crisp with cereal topping for pies

For a real change of pace try a chocolate fondue with loads of fruit for dipping