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In addition to satisfying your summer food cravings, these tasty choices are also good for you.

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Boardwalk fare, ball game snacks and refreshing sweet treats go hand-in-hand with that summer feel. While many are indulgences that don’t wrack up much in the nutrition department, there are some summertime foods that contribute more nutrition than meets the eye. So while it’s okay to occasionally splurge on your summer favorites, here are 3 better-for-you summer treats that might also satisfy your summer food cravings.

Popcorn

Popcorn is 100% whole grain and low in calories. It’s a good source of dietary fiber, with nearly 4 grams per 3-cup serving. In addition to fiber, whole grains supply important nutrients like zinc, magnesium and B-vitamins that contribute to overall health.

Although popcorn in its simplest form is a smart snack, it loses some of its healthfulness when swimming in melted butter, caramel, cheese or lots of salt. Small tweaks like these can make it healthier:

      • Scale down from a large bucket to a small bag.
      • Order with less butter, cheese, caramel and other add-ons or skip the toppings completely.
      • Air pop your own and top with different seasoning combinations. Try olive oil, oregano and grated Parmesan cheese. Or top with a touch of melted butter and a dusting of cinnamon and sugar or unsweetened cocoa powder.

Ice Cream

That scoop of your favorite frozen treat does more than cool you down. It also supplies essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vitamin D and protein. Like other dairy products, nutrients in ice cream support healthy bones, teeth and muscles.

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, go ahead and enjoy some ice cream. Just stick to a small cup or cone and don’t make it a daily indulgence. After all, in addition to the nutrition it supplies, ice cream typically contains a lot of fat, sugar and calories. Here are some tips for a healthier ice cream treat:

      • Top with fresh fruit or chopped nuts.
      • Skip artificially colored sprinkles, syrups and candies.
      • Order a small or kid size and savor every lick.

Watermelon

Watermelon is a naturally sweet and juicy summer treat. It’s made up of 92% water so it’s no surprise that it helps keep you hydrated. Watermelon’s vibrant red hue is due to the lycopene it contains, a heart-protective compound also found in tomatoes. It also has potassium, another essential nutrient for heart health. And it supplies vitamins A and C, important for healthy skin and hair.

You can eat watermelon in cubes or slices or puree it into a juice or smoothie. Its versatile flavor makes it a match for a variety of sweet and savory flavor combinations like these:

      • Thread watermelon cubes onto skewers with strawberries and blueberries to make kabobs. Pair with vanilla Greek yogurt for dipping.
      • Garnish chopped watermelon with feta cheese crumbles and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
      • Puree and freeze watermelon. It can be made into ice pops, sorbet or granita.

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Date Last Reviewed: June 14, 2021

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Beth Stark, RDN, LDN

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